Monday, March 1, 2010

The stair redo how-to

I know it took me forever to get this post up, but I’m finally going to share the rest of the steps it took to get the stairs to where they are now – that would be GORG. ;)

This process took a while, but the planning before that took a good year – I took my time deciding what to do. I figured they would look fantastic, I just wanted to make sure they would be safe. I did a lot of research over the year, including digging up some old photos of our house during the building process. (As you can see above.)

I wanted to make sure I didn’t dream up the beautiful wood steps with the rounded edges:

I didn’t. Yay!

Next step was getting up the nerve to rip up the carpet. I told you how I started this process here. When the carpet was up, I was left with this:

Many of you have asked if I did anything to the steps – put any wood on them, etc. The steps were just as you see them here when I pulled up the carpet. We were lucky to have the rounded edges. If I hadn’t remembered those edges from when we built the house, I probably wouldn’t have attempted this project.

I hear you can purchase wood treads at places like Lowe’s and Home Depot and install them over rough wood.

You can see (above) where I started to work at the overspray on the steps with my little handheld sander:

I used a 50 grit paper and it really was knocking it down – it was just going to take forever and a day. Enter my wonderful father-in-law and his assistant and their fab, much more powerful than my little mouse, sander. It took them a couple hours of sanding, but it did a fantastic job.

This part was the hardest for me though – sawdust was EVERYWHERE. I found it in odd places for a while:

I am still finding it places.

I actually had started priming some of the risers (the parts that go up) before they finished sanding. If I could do it again, I wouldn’t have primed anything until it was all prepped and ready.

My next step was to start the staining. I already had some stain from a previous project. It didn’t work for that, but it was perfect for our stairs! It’s Minwax Bombay Mahogany in gloss:

(The pic above is of the satin finish.) This type of stain is a polyshade – which means the poly is mixed in already. Although after living with the stairs for a while now, I think I will go ahead and do a coat of poly over them anyway, to add a bit more of a glossy sheen. (I found a product that you can add over it to make it slip-proof, so I’ll let you know how that goes.)

To stain, I used painters tape and taped off the treads and went over and over them a few times to make sure there was a good seal:

You can see why I wouldn’t recommend priming or painting first – the stain got on some of the risers as I worked. Stain is easier to cover with primer and paint than paint is to cover with stain. :)

At the edge of each step, I tore off little pieces of the tape to go around each tread:

I did two coats on each of the stairs. I did most of the staircase every other step with each coat – this way you can still get up and down the steps. Although going down every other step is really quite a pain – I don’t recommend it. :)

I would do it at the end of the night so you don’t have to go up or down at all. The stain takes about six hours to completely dry – or at least that’s how long it says you need to wait between coats. I used a fan a lot to speed up the process so we could walk on them faster. :)

I figured out how we would get up and down the steps, but I didn’t factor in the three fat cats that live in this house. Uhhh…it hit me about five minutes into the first step that they were going to step on them. The fan helped deter them a bit, but I did find these on the landing one night:

Isn’t that the cutest little paw print ever? You could actually see where the stain wore right off the paw as it went across the landing though, so by the time they got to the other side, the stain was gone. Thank goodness. :)

Once the two coats were dry, I continued on the other risers with the primer and paint. I taped off the steps with paper so there was no chance I would get paint on them:

As I mentioned – it’s a whole lot harder to get paint off stain than to cover stain with paint. Like, I would cry, harder. :) I did two coats of primer, one coat of glossy white on each riser.

At the top step, I just left the carpet around the top step – not sure if I will keep it like that or not. I don’t mind it, but I may pull it up to see what the edge of the flooring looks like there. If it’s rounded off, I may cut the carpet and use a transition piece:

I am trying to avoid any kind of tripping hazard at all costs though, so for now the carpet is fine.

Some of the white paint did bleed through on the stain just a bit, and although it wasn’t bad at all, I wanted to try to fix it. I was surprised to find I could just use a razor to scrape it off – lightly of course. It worked like charm!

If you decide to do this, there are a few things to think about. I kept hearing mixed results from those that filled their holes with stainable putty. I had heard the putty doesn’t always take the stain well. So…I just left the holes as is!:

You have to look to see them, and I was sure to soak each hole with stain so you couldn’t see bare wood at all. I’m SO glad I didn’t fill these. The holes give it character, at least that’s what I say!

On the landing, I sanded down one of the planks with my little mouse sander a bit, and wish I hadn’t:

Sometimes my sander does this and it drives me mad. For now, you don’t really notice it, so I’m not going to worry about it. I may try sanding it down more in the future and restaining. I didn’t sand the other planks at all and they turned out great!

So let’s break it down, shall we? My total cost for the project was less than $30. YEP. Thirty buckaroos.

I had the stain. I had the primer and glossy white paint. I had the paper to tape off the steps.

I purchased two packages of the plank flooring for $10 each and didn’t even use all of it. I bought two packages of foam brushes to apply the stain, and those were about $5. I also bought more painter’s tape.

That’s it!

Other than the majority of the sanding, and the laying of the planks on the landing (which is installed just like beadboard, so I could have done it --- but it was nice to have help!), I did the whole project myself, start to finish.

Because I had help, I was at the mercy of their schedules a bit. It felt like it took months for this to get completed, but it was really only a few weeks! If I had done the whole thing myself, it would have been a week or two, but that’s only because I’m completely nuts impatient.

And this was the result:

You can see more pictures here!

Once I get the molding done on the walls I’ll be sure to share updated pictures! I hope this helps those of you who are thinking about trying it out! Be sure to read my first post about it here if you are curious about what’s under your carpeted steps.

If I didn’t answer one of your questions, leave it in the comments and I’ll answer you there!

63 comments:

  1. So very cool! One of the things we are doing is the stairwell and I want to do Scrap 'Boxes' along the longest wall. Thanks for the inspiration!

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  2. Sarah you rock!!!
    30 bucks for all that beauty... WOW!

    Now I wish we did not have a ranch LOL

    Have a wonderful week
    Patricia

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  3. Wow, what a project... you are really brave! ;) It turned out fabulous! Nice job!!

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  4. I know that took some serious time and patience, but WOW! They are so beautiful! Great job on them!

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  5. You did such a fantastic job. I absolutely LOVE it!

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  6. The kitty paw prints cracked me up! Beautiful stairs - congrats!

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  7. Amazing amazing job, the stairs look just stunning. I love the contrast of the stain with the white risers. I also know for certain my steps don't have this potential under the carpet, your builder did you a solid! Janell

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  8. They look awesome and you were very brave!

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  9. Beautiful results!!
    You are one brave woman and the bravery paid off!!
    ~Enjoy your week~

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  10. GORG is right! Those are beautiful! I am impatient as well but aren't you glad you waited and had them turn out so so so beautiful!

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  11. This looks fantastic! It turned out so beautiful, congrats!

    ~ Sarah @ http://www.queenofdiy.com

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  12. Loving this look and the great step-by-step pics!! Such a world of difference. The little "vignette" on the wall is adorable too!

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  13. It looks so fabulous! I know that it was a lotta hard work...and if it were me, it would have really tested my patience levels...but it paid off in the end, didn't it? Now they are so gorjamous!

    <3

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  14. Fab-u-lous!! Sarah, you are the miracle worker. ;) I am always so impressed with the way you tackle projects. :)

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  15. That was quite a project. I love how it all turned out. Beautiful!
    Brooke

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  16. Sarah...this turned out great! Thanks for the how-to! I have a back stairway that I plan to one day rip the carpet from...but first I want to hardwood the floors in the room at the top of the stairs...gonna be expensive...yikes!

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  17. Wow! It turned out great. I know you're luurrvving it!

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  18. Super beautiful!!! I love the end result.

    They do make an already tinted putty to fill in those holes. You can buy it to match perfectly with your stain. We used it after we laid our wood floors and it works great. You can also buy 2 colors and "swirl" them to get a near perfect match if your floors have more than one shade of color.

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  19. Wow what a great result! And I love,love the family pictures with the saying on the wall, beautiful!

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  20. I absolutely love the way your stairs turned out!! They look fabulous. Your builder was much better than mine because I took a peak under my carpet and the wood steps don't even go all the way over to the length of the riser to meet the molding! There is about a 1 inch gap and I am just not sure what I would do about that? Very disappointing because I really wanted to do this same project. Kudos to you!:)

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  21. Totally off the subject. Was wondering if you could give me some advice. Looks like this house will soon be ours

    http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/1009-Gary-St-Milton-WA-98354/81370053_zpid/#

    What would you do for window dressings for the two rooms by the front door?

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  22. SO GORGEOUS!! I'll be linking your amazing stairs. Amazing!

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  23. WOW! Thank for being an inspiration to us all! Thinking I might add this to our summer project list. Looks incredible!

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  24. Amazing as always!! Not that I am surprise! :D

    Makes me wish I could rip the carpet off the stairs in this house! Do you think the owner would mind?

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  25. I have just stumbled upon your blog and LOVE it! We are moving in a couple of months and will be house hunting in a couple of weeks, very exciting since we have been living in apartments the last 5 years. I am so excited to make a home our own and will be looking here for inspiration and ideas. Thanks!

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  26. They look great. I was not so lucky to have the rounded edges or good quality of wood, just basic builders wood....but I made it work. Stained the lip, and applied a peel and stick look like wood flooring and painted the risers white. Great job...

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  27. They turned out AMAZING. Seriously! I'm sort of obsessed with the contrast of wood and white right now...and wow. Drooling!

    http://twigdecor.blogspot.com

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  28. $30? Crazy, crazy, crazy good. Looks fabulous!

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  29. Wow. Those turned out GORGEOUS! I totally wish I had stairs now (I live in a one floor condo....one day!) I also just wanted to say, thanks for always being so inspiring! I love your blog!

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  30. So, so beautiful. You inspired me the other day to rip up the carpet on one of my steps just to see. But alas, we just had some nasty, not-suitable-as-flooring wood nailed under the carpet. Now my husband has to tack the carpet back down. It was worth a shot!

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  31. I LOVE it! What an amazing transformation!

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  32. They look wonderful!! We didn't build our house, but the previous owner did leave pictures of it being built..I might have to see if my stairs had round edges! I love your blog-it's one of my very favorites!

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  33. Your stairs turned out so beautifully!

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  34. Your stairs are gorgeous. I would stop and stare at them every time I walked by. I can appreciate all your hard work. We are getting ready to refinish our steps too. We have an unfinished 1/2 wall from the landing to the second floor. Just curious, do you have a 1/2 wall to the upper level? Is it finished with a handrail? Topped with moulding? Could you post some pictures? Thanks for all the tips!

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  35. Hey There! This is the first time I've visited your blog. I appreciate the time and effort it took to re-do those stairs! My stairs are oak and I would love to have mahogany, but that might have to wait a bit, we're about to start a master bath re-do ...on the cheap! :) Is there another way?! lol
    Please stop by my blog sometime, I have only been blogging about a month now, but have met some amazing ladies and I'm having a ball! :)
    Blessings to you!
    http://mycottagecharm.blogspot.com

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  36. Gogeous! Thank you for the step by step! I'm hoping to do mine this spring!

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  37. They look absolutely AMAZING. I think it is great that you just took the initiative and did the project yourself. Thank you for showing.

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  38. You did a great job. I love them.

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  39. That seems like a big project but very well worth the trouble. Looks great !

    Jen Ramos
    www.madebygirl.com
    madebygirl.blogspot.com

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  40. I love a great unfinished basement. You have an awesome one with so much potential.


    Mr. Goodwill Hunting
    http://g-w-hunting.blogspot.com

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  41. Love it! I'm thinking about doing it to the wooden pieces of my stairs as well as handrail (you can see what my stairs look like on my blog-just posted some before/afters of painting we just did). Anyway, how are you liking it so far? Is it easily scratched or pretty resistant? (I have animals, so I would hope it is durable) What about the slip proof product you applied-how is that working? So many questions!! If you have time to answer, please swing by my blog and drop me a line! Thank you!

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  42. Your stairs look great. I have a similar photo on my blog from where my fat cat walked in the paint. http://sewbeeit.wordpress.com/2010/01/26/red-hot/
    I also blog about the painting here
    http://sewbeeit.wordpress.com/2010/01/25/paint-it-red-soon/
    and here http://sewbeeit.wordpress.com/2010/01/15/stairway-to/
    My stairs were stained but they got messed up when we renovated and I was looking for a change. I got it and I love it.

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  43. Seriously Jaw dropping....=) The only thing that kind of bums me out is that on a lot of your projects you only put your out of pocket expense... I would love it if you would put what it would cost the average jo like me who has basically nothing "on hand."
    Thanks

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  44. Amazing job! You have inspired me to begin some projects in my home now...I'm sure hubby is gonna looove me now! :o)

    www.5reasons2save.com

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  45. I came across your blog by accident and I am so glad I did. I have a very unhandy husband so most of our home renovations and decorating is up to me. We had a broken step and tore the carpet up to replace it and there were the wood steps I had envisioned in our little farmhouse. They are in terrible shape, but I'm already in love with them, as hideous as they are. I looked for some step by step (pun intended) instructions on what to do for a loooong time and couldn't find anything. Your blog is an answer to (more than one) prayer. Thanks for sharing your trials and errors right along with your successes!

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  46. I just stumbled across your blog.... MAN have I been missing OUT. I LOVE your blog!

    About the stairs: would the stain look even halfway decent if it was applied to the plywood? Our stairs don't have hardwood on top and we are on a budget so I don't foresee getting hardwood anytime soon. *sigh*

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  47. I just stumbled upon this--great post! I was wondering how it's holding up. Have you gotten any nicks or chunks of wood get knocked off? What about splinters? Is the finish still glossy? I always worry that the stuff you buy at the hardware store doesn't wear as well as what the pros use.

    I have hardwood stairs in my current house (slippery unless you have barefeet), and I paid $9000 to have the carpet pulled up and oak put down. We are buying a new house with the same vanilla carpet that's dingy near the baseboards. This carpet is from 1996 so it MUST go before we even move in. I don't know what the subfloor looks like, but if it's as nice as yours, this is a real option. If I mess it up, I'll put carpet down or pay a pro to redo it. Our current house has that horrible fiber board stuff so a DIY project wasn't even an option.

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  48. I am so glad to have found this DIY project. I've been itching to do this for years. Just removed the carpet in my 400 sq ft den and layed down laminate. I wanted to see what was under the carpeted stairs, so I took a peek! YIKES is what I said. Now seeing what you've done, I'm much more determined to give it a try myself! Thanks so much!!!

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  49. They look fantastic! I pulled my carpet up last year and painted my steps white. Now they are not looking so fresh and farmhousey any more. So I am going to sand and stain. My steps were similar to yours but in a bit worse shape. My question is the landing. Mine is just plywood underlayment with lots of gouges. Last week I pulled the carpet upstairs because although hardwood isn't in the budget right now it was just plain yuck. So I stained the plywood and it looks 100% better. But the landing doesn't look salvageable. What plank flooring did you use and what did you do about the height difference? Sorry for the huge comment. Thanks for any advice, Pam

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  50. I just read your post today (3/7/12) about how well your projects have held up and it lead me here. I was so excited to see that you did this because I was actually just trying to convince my husband of the same exact project! So glad to see the fabulous results and it gives me back up to share with the hubs! I'm also thinking about painting my subloor in another room, which my neighbors think I'm nuts for even thinking about it! I just gotta get ride of that carpet, ya know!! So glad I found this post! Thanks for the info and inspiration!

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  51. I live in a old house and have wood stairs. I'm thinking of doing a project similar to yours but am wondering what kind of a finish didyou put on the stair treads to keep them protected and still not slippery.
    Ruth

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  52. This was so helpful! Would love to hear more details about how you did the landing!
    thanks!
    Laurie

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  53. Your stairs look lovely! We are currently in the process of doing this to our stairs that open into our kitchen (the main room of our house). I have 2 questions for you. 1. Did you just prime and paint your rises? We have already done that to ours (with a semi-gloss white) and I don't think I'm a huge fan of how it looks...let's just say I'm not sold. 2. Did you clear coat the risers at all to protect them? Or is it easier just to leave them and touch them up as needed throughout the months? Thanks for any help you can offer.

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  54. Teach, we did not put anything over the paint -- I just use a magic eraser to clean them up every three or four months and I've touched up the paint once. :)

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  55. Where did you use the plank flooring?

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  56. Jennifer, the plank flooring is on the landing. :)

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  57. Where did you purchase your plank flooring? Was it already stained or did you use the stain from your steps to finish ot.

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    1. I got it from Lowe's -- it's just cheap planked pine boards that you get about six to a pack. They have them in beadboard and in regular plain boards, that's what I used. And I stained them after they were installed, when I did the stairs.

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