A gathering of more than 20 area residents took a big step towards upgrading their porch steps on Saturday, April 27, when they attended LakewoodAlive’s latest home maintenance workshop.

Led by Mike Quinn of Cleveland Lumber Company, “Knowing Your Home: Step Repair & Replacement” featured an insightful presentation covering everything you need to know about repairing or replacing your home’s exterior steps.  Mike’s knowledge and wit made the presentation equal parts informative and entertaining to homeowners in attendance.

Now in its sixth year, LakewoodAlive’s Knowing Your Home workshop series draws hundreds of attendees annually to learn home maintenance best practices.  Our workshop series is generously supported by: Citizens Bank, City of Lakewood, Cleveland Lumber Company and First Federal Lakewood.

If you happened to miss this particular workshop, we’ve got you covered.  Here are our five key takeaways.

1. Understand what you’re getting yourself into
Not all step projects are created equal.  Whereas a moderate step project might entail a minor repair job that can be completed over a weekend, an advanced step replacement could require a total rebuild that necessitates removing your old steps and installing a new set.  The latter type of project, of course, would take significantly longer to complete.  By understanding the scope of your step project, you can better plan both your time and your budget.

Knowing Your Home: Step Repair & Replacement
Cleveland Lumber was the site of our “Step Repair & Replacement” free workshop.

2. Take preventative measures through common step maintenance
It’s recommended to follow a yearly maintenance checklist to promote the longevity of your steps.  Common step maintenance tasks include cleaning your steps (power washing or sanding), as well as finishing your steps with paint or stain.  As you prepare to paint or stain your steps, it’s worthwhile to assess areas of concern, such as protruding nails or screws, loose boards and debris caught between boards.

3. Consider upgrading step components
As you prepare to undertake a moderate step repair project, now is the time to consider replacing and upgrading step components before investing your time and effort into a repair.  Inspect stringers, treads and risers for rotting, splitting or over-worn boards.  Measure to replace boards, if necessary.  Consider replacing handrails and/or spindles that are worn or bowing, or upgrade to a different profile handrail that improves the safety and aesthetics of your steps.  

4. Be on the lookout for red flags
There are various reasons you would need to pursue a total step replacement.  These include if your steps have deteriorated to the point of being beyond repair, if your boards have become unsafe, if you have a need for wider steps or to incorporate a platform to your home’s entrance, or if common step maintenance techniques (sanding, staining and painting) are no longer sufficient.  Should any of these reasons apply to your steps, then it’s likely time for a step replacement.    

5. Know the factors impacting your project
When contemplating an advanced step replacement project, there are several factors to consider.  The nature of your project may depend on how your steps are into incorporated into your home’s porch (placed underneath your porch or affixed to the front face of your porch).  Your project budget may dictate whether certain updates – such as premium treads, spindles and handrails – are feasible.  Additionally, it’s possible that your project is driven out of necessity due to a recent citation or home inspection.  By understanding which factors impact your project, you can better grasp the scope of your particular project.