Hello everyone and happy Monday! It’s that time again to unveil the next project: my staircase.
I didn’t hate my staircase the way it was when we moved in but it just wasn’t my style and you know me, I just have to make things my style so I figured I’d give it a total makeover and give it that more modern look that I was going for. Honestly, this was a much easier project than I thought it would be, primarily because when I removed the rug from the stairs it turned out that we had some pretty nice wood under there and there were no spaces between the wall and the risers or the wall in the treads so basically all I had to do was make it over. So on with the project but first here’s the materials needed.
1) Needle-nose pliers
2) Carpet cutting knife (if you have carpeted stairs)
3) Stain: $13.00 from Walmart, color: Ebony w/polyurethane
4) Heavy-duty gloves
5) Paint (Optional)
6) Beadboard: $20.00 from Home Depot (Optional)
The very first step in the stair makeover case is of course safety. Why safety? It seems like common sense doesn’t it? Well let me tell you, I’d like to think I have a great deal of common sense but sometimes it does skip me LOL. More on that in a moment. But just make sure that as you’re removing carpet and staples that you shift your weight forward facing the stairs to make sure you don’t fall down. Again, more on that in a moment.
Make sure to keep your heavy-duty gloves on at all times because your hands are going to get really irritated and raw from the rough end of the carpet and you don’t want to get poked with staples and nails because I promise you, you’re going to hit so many staples and nails along the way. Thousands and fact. No, I’m not kidding! So what you want to do is start at the very top step and you want to pull the rug up and off of the risers and treads.
Once I was able to get one corner of the rug up, I actually used the needle nose pliers to grab the rug and pull while I use my other hand to hold on the banister. I learned this the hard way actually, because when I first started I grabbed both ends of the carpet and pulled like a maniac and flew down the stairs. (Okay, okay….Start your laughter) Luckily, I wasn’t injured, just a few bumps and bruises, but it made me learn my lesson in implementing that little safety steps are just make sure you’re holding on at all times because you can get really hurt falling down stairs, but I’m sure you already know that! Anyway, on with the tutorial. So, you want to start by pulling one corner of the rug up get a good piece of it up and grab it with a needle nose pliers and pull and just keep doing that from one end to the other on each riser and then you’ll get to the tread and do the same thing there and continue this all the way down the stairs.
To make the rug a bit more manageable in between every two stairs or so, I would use the carpet cutting knife to cut away the lifted carpet and just throw it over the edge.
Once you get all the way down and get all of the carpet off the stairs your next task is going to be to remove the thousands of staples that are in both, the risers and the stair treads. Make no mistake, even when you think you got all of the staples out when you do your check, you will find about a hundred more LOL. Totally not kidding! So what I did was just start again, at the top of the stairs and I started with the riser and just removed all the staples that I’ve seen. The easiest way to do this is with the needle nose pliers and to pull straight out and they came out really easily. Continue this also all the way down to the stairs until you make it to the very bottom riser. A little time consuming and tedious but once you get them all out, you’ll love the way even your raw staircase looks!
Once you remove all of the staples, go back up and check that there are no other staples present. You now have raw wood on the steps and a staple sticking out is going to cause a lot of grief if you’re walking down the stairs barefoot. Ouch, I don’t even think about it!
After you remove all the staples, you can go on ahead and sweep each step to remove all of the carpet debris, staple debris and even nails, if any nails were present. I highly recommend using a vacuum cleaner to remove all of the excess dirt because you want to make sure that the surface is completely clean before doing any painting or staining.
Once the staples are removed and all of the debris has been cleaned, you are now ready to transform your stairs to your style. In my case, I chose black and white stairs. What I wanted was a white riser and a black tread with a black banister and white spindles. Originally, I was going to paint the risers white because I thought I had extra white paint on hand and you know how I love to use things that I already have, but it turns out I actually ran out of that white paint and to buy another gallon would have cost me the same price as it was to use bead board. And the bead board, was just $20 for a super large piece and the good folks At Home Depot even cut it for me so I don’t have to worry about getting it perfectly straight. I love the bead boarding also because it adds a bit more depth and character to the stairs as opposed to just paint. However, the bead board is going to be the last step in the process because you’re not going to need to paint it, unless you want to paint it of course then by all means paint those and let them dry before you place them on the riser but for now if you’re not going to paint it, just set them aside and the first thing you’re going to do is paint the banister and spindles.
Generally, I like to paint what’s on top first so that you don’t have to worry about dripping on what you’ve already painted. So I started by painting the banisters black. I got this paint from Home Depot, and the actual color is called Ebony. It was a very easy process just working from upstairs and all the way down and I would do one coat, wait an hour and then do another coat so you made sure to cover all the spots.
Next, I painted the spindles and I chose to paint those white. The actual color was also from Home Depot and it’s called Gentle Rain. Again, same thing, I started from upstairs and work my way down on all the spindles waited an hour and went back up to give the second coat. Now that the banister and spindles were done, it was time to do the bottom stair skirt. I opted to paint those with the Cracked Pepper as well just to make sure that they matched well with the treads. And again, starting from upstairs I worked my way down with an hour of drying time in between two coats.
With all that done, it’s finally time to work on the treads. For the treads, I chose a stain that I actually purchased from Walmart for $13.77 and the color is called Ebony. The great thing about this particular stain is that it already has polyurethane in it so that’s one step you safe and rather than staining and then polyurethan-ing the whole staircase and having extra drying time you can just stain the stairs in one simple step. I started at the top stair again. In my case I always start at the top step because when I finish and I need the drying time I could always do some more stuff in the kitchen but you can do the opposite if you’ve got other stuff to do upstairs you could start from the bottom. Your choice. So, I went ahead and started staining tread by tread all the way down and let it seep in. It was dry in about an hour’s time and I went back to the top and did a second coat just to make sure that I didn’t miss any spots and really get that nice deep ebony color. What I love about the stain is that it seeps into the wood so you can still see the knots and lines in the wood as opposed to paint where it kind of just cakes up on there and honestly, I don’t think paint would be a good idea on steps at least on the treads anyway because that’s a place that’s going to take a lot of traffic and with temperature changes and all that traffic it’s likely to start peeling and it’s going to have a maintenance issue. So if you’ve got plywood or raw wood treads, stain would be your best go to.
Now that you finished all of that, it’s time to put the finishing touch on the stairs and add the bead board. Make sure you measure the height and length of your risers, all of them not just one. I say this because I foolishly measured just one riser and had them cut the bead board at Home Depot and when I got home only one of them fit the top riser and the rest of them were still too tall. Not sure why all of my risers are different heights but just to be sure make sure you measure all of them. Luckily, I was able to bring the bead board back to the Home Depot and they cut it to the right size for me but it was a good thing that they were too big and not too small otherwise I would have had to buy another sheet. Also, keep in mind that you want to keep the bead board risers a little less than a quarter of an inch shorter all around the edges except for the bottom. The reason for this is, just like hardwood flooring, you need to leave some space all around to give the boards a chance to bend and stretch with the temperature. If you flush them up against all around the edges, they may buckle or cup and that’s something you don’t want because you’re going to have to redo them in that case.
The bead board risers are going to be the easiest because all you’re going to need to do is cover up with some wood glue. I used Gorilla Glue from Walmart. And this 16-oz container cost me $5.00. Simply start at the top tread or even the bottom tread if you like and just make sure that you place the bead board risers centered on each riser press and hold to make sure you’ve got a nice fit.
Once you’ve added all the risers it’s time to sit back and marvel at your completed project. I absolutely love my stairs! It took me about a weekend to complete the project in full and it really gave the stairs a complete different look. I also plan on adding a modern Runner just because the stairs are a little bit slippery and we’ve got a marble floor at the Landing so could you just imagine tumbling down those stairs?! LOL no thanks! I’ll have another blog up someday soon with a tutorial on how to place the runner. It’s a very simple process but I’ll put it up there and show you guys how it looks once that’s done as well just so you can get a full vision. But if you like it just the way it is you could leave it just like that. That’s the beauty of doing everything yourself from your vision, because it can be whatever you want it to be, however you want it to be. Happy Monday my friends and I hope you all enjoyed this entry and please feel free to leave any feedback or comments as always!
Here’s the original before picture versus the after. I’d say, I couldn’t be happier!