I didn't have the means to hire a professional, since I'd already paid my cousin. Here are my tips based on what I learned.
- Before you start building stairs or any other addition to your home for that matter, check the local requirements and codes. I was lucky enough; my cousin didn't do this, but I haven't had any problems here.
I think this is the only part I didn't have problems with, but you never know, it could simply be because the code inspector never saw the stairs. Had he seen them, a whole new section may have been written!
- I am no expert, but I believe in quality materials. My cousin used the cheapest material he could find. He simply reasoned that since the stairs would be covered with carpet, there was no need to 'go all out.'
But cheap wood, especially if it has knots and other imperfections, has a greater likelihood of cracking sooner than other kinds of wood. I have kids, and that's a risk I can't afford to take.
- One of the most helpful things I learned with building stairs is that drawing up a blue print can really help you get organized and focused. Making sure you know how everything adds up, and how you want the finished product to look.
I hope these tips help you finish your stairs the correct way, and without any glitches. This way, you don't have to spend more money than needed.