Frequently Asked Questions or FAQs
These are a few questions and answers we thought may be useful.
Here at James Whiffen Joinery Ltd we can supply and fit stairs and balustrades for any situation. We can also supply the parts for the enthusiastic diy’er or fit customers own stair parts sourced elsewhere. We can even complete projects that may have been started with all the best intentions, but have lost their way!
Quick Quote: Please take a photo of your existing stairs and email along with a measurement of the length of the handrails. Please include details of the style and material you would like, we can then give you an exact quote for either – supply and fit, supply only or fit only. If you would prefer us to visit please contact us to arrange.
If there are any other questions on any technical issue other the the ones listed below that we can help you with feel free to ask.
How much mess is made when my stairs are fitted?
Over the last 20 years we have been involved in the fitting of over 4,000 stairs and balustrades into customers’ homes, we are fully aware of expectations, we work quickly efficiently and cleanly, when we drive away from your home the only sign of us being there is the transformation to your hallway!
Do you paint or varnish the finished job?
Our expertise is in the supply and installation of stairs and balustrades. Painting, varnishing waxing or decorating of any kind is best left to a time served painter, some types of balustrade do come pre finished and this can be discussed when you call for a free no obligation quote.
Who actually does the work?
All work is carried out or personally overseen by Jim Whiffen, the proprietor of James Whiffen Joinery Ltd.
What is the difference between an estimate and a quote?
An estimate is an approximate guide to the final price (also known in the trade as a guesstimate!) we only ever give quotes which are an exact price that the job will cost with no hidden extras.
Can you visit for a quote out of hours?
We have found over the years that most people require visits out of normal office hours, simply call or email for a quote and we will visit you at a time that suits you to explain exactly what we do and discuss your requirements, this normally takes about 30 minutes, we will then give you an exact written quote.
How far do you travel?
We are based in Heswall, Wirral and we have no problem travelling within 1 hour’s drive, which covers most of the North West, we have been known to travel further afield and would consider doing so dependent on the work involved.
Do you only supply and fit?
We usually supply and fit, however we can offer any service you require, we can also supply only for the DIY enthusiast, or even fit only, every now and again we are contacted by a customer who may have sourced their materials elsewhere then decided to call us in to fit only or even complete the fitting that they may have lost their way with!
Do you only make stairs?
We are a joinery company that specialise in any type of staircase work, from the smallest set of steps to multiple flights of stairs, we also fit balustrades of any style or design in any material, for example, Oak, Ash, Beech, Mahogany, Hemlock, Poplar, Pine, also Chrome, Stainless steel, Glass, and acrylic panels.
How much does it cost to supply and fit a new set of stairs and balustrade?
Think of a number between £500 and £12000! We can supply and fit an average flight of stairs in softwood for less than £500, you will then usually need a balustrade unless the stairs go between 2 walls in which case you will need a handrail connected to one wall. Then consider all the other configurations of staircases and designs of balustrade and types of materials, add in the fact that some people only want stairs, others only want balustrade, the list is endless! A ball park figure is approximatly £750 for a balustrade and £600 for a set of stairs. The short answer is to contact us and let us provide you with a free, no obligation, exact quote.
Do you make everything yourself?
We make every part of a staircase ourselves from scratch, however when it comes to the balustrade these are bought in as a modular system and fitted to the staircase insitu.
What company’s balustrade components do you use?
We have been using the balustrade components from Cheshire mouldings for many years, they have a full range of designs and materials to choose from and we are pleased with the service they provide and also with the competitive prices we receive as regular customers, however if you see a particular design from any other company we will contact them and obtain the most competitive price we can on your behalf.
How do I order a set of stairs?
Contact us with the relevant dimensions or arrange a visit and we will give you an exact quote to supply and fit or supply only.
How do I measure a set of stairs for my loft conversion?
For any set of stairs in whatever situation, whether it is a loft or cellar conversion or just standard floor to floor, we need 3 dimensions. The width, outside to outside of stair strings. The rise, the distance measured vertically between the two finished floor levels. The going, the distance measured horizontally between where the stair will start and finish.
How accurate do my measurements need to be?
For giving you a quote we only need sizes to within the nearest inch or 25mm. assuming you will be happy with our exact quotation we will then visit you and take sizes to the nearest millimetre. This will not change the quote.
What is your lead time?
That really depends on our current workload, it is a very rare event when we cannot make and deliver a set of stairs within three weeks, and usually within two.
Will my stairs comply with local authority building regulations?
All of our staircases comply with building regulations; it is not in our interest to be sued for not complying and creating a safety or fire hazard. We have replaced quite a few over the years that other companies have fitted, only for them to be rejected by building control, doubling the cost to the home owner!
How wide should my staircase be?
Most staircases are between 800mm and 900mm wide, they can be made wider or narrower, stairs wider than 1000mm will require handrails on both sides. Amazingly there is no minimum allowed width! See Document K for staircases, of building regulations.
How will I know that the quotes I am getting are like for like?
I have been in the joinery business since 1978 and specialising in stairs for the last 20 years, as a small business with minimum overheads we would find it amazing if anyone could beat our quote on a like for like basis, we do not ask for deposits and only ask for full payment once your work is completed to your satisfaction, usually in one day.
How long does it take to fit my balustrade?
The vast majority of balustrades are fitted in one day, usually 10 or 11 hours.
You have given me a quote and told me that my job will be fitted within one day; however another local tradesman has told me that it will take two days, why?
If we arrived at your home at about 9.00am went for lunch for an hour and packed away at 4.30pm, then we would also take two days, however we would arrive at 8.00am with everything we will need to complete your job and work until your job is complete, usually between 6.00 and 7.00pm.
I need a staircase for my loft conversion, how will you get it through my very narrow hallway?
This is a common problem, usually in Victorian terraced houses, we would make your stair parts in exactly the same way as usual, and then deliver to site and into the loft space, we would then construct the staircase insitu or if required leave it for you to construct yourself, this latter solution is a favourite for a DIY enthusiast!
Please contact us today on 0151 342 5253 or 07515 929 083 for a free quotation.