Staircases are complex items of joinery and are made to last. However, they do sometimes have to be removed from a building: In the case of a change to the internal movement flow or in the event of demolition, for example. Some staircases can be recovered and made available on the reuse market. Although very few suppliers of reusable materials specialise in staircases, many have some among their stock. Wooden flights of stairs are transported intact from their original building, while stone staircases are dismantled step by step. Both situations apply to metal staircases.
To be able to incorporate a reusable staircase into an architectural project, it is often necessary to adapt the planned layout in accordance with the reclaimed staircase.
wooden staircases, straight or angled
metal staircases: for example, old fire escapes
stone staircases (see also: Stone sills and steps)
metal or wooden spiral staircases
Note: old spiral staircases (cast iron or wrought iron) are particularly sought after and replicated. If you want to be sure of finding a genuinely reusable product, research the origin of the item you plan to buy.
Reusable staircases are usually sold in the condition in which they were recovered. Treatments such as sanding, or repainting can be carried out once the material has been installed.
Did you know?
Complete staircases are often a particular feature in the stock of a supplier of reusable materials, or when they are recovered from a demolition site. This fascination is evident in a newspaper article from the late 19th century, which describes the demolition of the former Palais de Justice in Brussels and the materials recovered from it:
“The courtyard is cluttered with a pile of assorted timbers, beams and scrap iron. A spiral staircase with worn wooden steps emerges from these materials like a giant snail embedded between cut stones.”
(L’indépendance belge, 24 April 1892)