Dismantling your stairs


There are many reasons why someone would choose to dismantle their stairs, with the most popular being the need for replacement. 

If your staircase has become mouldy, damaged, or simply needs a refresh, you may be thinking about investing in a whole new design that suits your current style - and most importantly, isn’t at risk of breaking.


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  stairs removed so ladder used to go upstairs  

The first task of any major stair remodelling, is to dismantle the old one.

The level of dismantling will obviously depend on what you want to replace. This can be anything from changing the handrail only or renewing the spindles, newel posts, or removal of the whole staircase.

The remodelling of the staircase will usually entail renewing, and therefore removal of, the handrail, spindles, newels and baserail.

      The following pages will guide you through the dismantling process.  
       Before you start prying and hammering at your staircase parts, it’s vital to be aware of any wiring within and around your stairs. Make sure to disconnect all power outlets before you start dismantling, and keep in mind that you may need to disconnect surrounding wires if you’re planning a complete renovation.  



Removing the rails

  old ranch style balustrading  

With ranch style balustrading, most rails are either nailed or screwed to the face of the newel. They may also be glued. Others may be fixed into the centre of the newel using a mortise and tenon joint. Remove the rails by sawing through a short distance from the newels.

If the top rail is not fixed into the top newel post, but meets the apron or ceiling, then cut the rail near to where it’s fixed, leaving enough to aid removal later

The image here shows the top rail fitted into the top newel post, and partially “sunk” into the apron. The width of the rail may have been cut to accommodate the apron, or, the apron may have been fitted after the rail and trimmed to suit the top of the rail before being fixed to the joist. The small triangular piece between the newel post and underside of the top rail is then fitted to finish off the trim. If the apron is not complete, then remedial work will be required before fitting your stair parts.

Removing risers and treads

The risers and treads make up the steps and are the most common staircase parts to be replaced. 

Due to how often they’re used, cracks, dents, and warping can appear after years of wear and tear. 

Replacing the risers and treads can instantly change the look and feel of your staircase, and the best part is that it’s not a difficult process. 

We recommend prying up the front edge of the tread and hammering the side closer to the riser down to loosen the tread, making it much easier to remove. 

The same goes for the risers. Once the tread has been dismantled, you can knock the back of the risers to further loosen them. 

Top Tip: Start from the top of the stairs and work your way down, so you’re never left stranded on the floor above. 




 Dismantle your stairs with Wonkee Donkee 


Cutting through an overlap ranch style balustrade

  Cutting through an mortice and tennon ranch style balustrade  

While we supply high-quality staircase parts to customers across the UK, we also have a range of detailed how-to guides with step-by-step directions to help you refurbish your staircase with ease. 

For further guidance on how to dismantle your staircase, check out our how to remove the newels, how to remove spindles, and how to remove a baserail blog posts. 

For more information, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the team here at Wonkee Donkee. We’re always more than happy to help you out and answer any of your questions.
Overlap joint   Mortise & Tennon joint