Seriously, I can't believe how easy this was!
So, Chris and I like to do a weekend home project every now and then. I thought this time I'd go ahead and show off one of my favorites. Usually we will load up a few pallets into the truck and see what we can transform them into- one of my favorites was our pallet accent wall! But this time we decided to transform something we already had underneath our carpet- our stairs!
Our house is a split level, so this was technically only half a staircase. I'm not sure if we will make it to doing the upstairs, but with the dogs, having easy to clean stairs going into the basement was a MUST for us!
As you can see, this is a high traffic area!
The dogs track mud into the house up and down these stairs every single day. The carpet just got to where it was impossible to clean- and if you finally did get it clean, the dogs have to go out again in 3 hours and it's just as dirty as it was before you wasted half your morning.
Here's what you'll need:
Step 1: Rip up your carpet
Don't be alarmed with the amount of dirt and dust that flies off that nasty piece of stair carpet when you finally get all the damn staples out- ours was like that too.
Make sure to cut your carpet where it needs to be cut on either the top or bottom of your stairs. We didn't need to worry about this part since the top of our stairs led into the kitchen, and the bottom we were replacing with laminate flooring.
Removing all the staples and nails from each stair was probably the hardest part. This was Chris's contribution. I did the painting :) You'll want to use your hammer and plyers for this part to get up every single nail, screw, staple, or whatever is in your stairs that may possibly go into your foot.
Step 2: Sand your stairs
Pretty self explanatory here. Sand those puppies down. We used both 60 grit sandpaper and then finished it off with the 22o to make sure they were nice and smooth. We also had some stains on a few of our top stair boards that really needed sanding down to remove them - something that also prompted us to get a pretty dark stain color.
TIP: When we began sanding, sawdust covered EVERYTHING. Try and cover your important items or move them to another room, you also should be using a mask, we didn't have any so we covered our faces with shirts (I know, smart), but opening the windows made it a little less awful.
Step 3: Stain
Once you've sanded until you can't sand any longer- you're good to stain. We used regular angled paint brushes and applied a thin, even, coat to each stair starting at the top. Don't worry too much about your lines being straight- it will get painted white at the end anyways!
We only applied one coat surprisingly, The stain absorbed pretty evenly. We did use a damp paper towel after applying the first coat to wipe off some of the excess stain, and brighten up some of the grain in places we wanted.
Step 4: Polyurethane
Applied two coats here, as you can see it made a huge difference. This was difficult with dogs, we found it was easiest to start painting after dinner so that the stairs had about 8 hours overnight to dry without being disturbed.
TIP: When buying your polyurethane, make sure to read the directions and find out whether or not you need to sand in between coats. The polyurethane we used didn't require this and it made the entire process a LOT easier. We just had to make sure we painted our second coat within so many hours of applying the first (can't remember the exact timing, but check the directions on whichever brand you use!)
You really can't walk on them at all. So if you're doing this in an area where you don't have another way around the stairs, you might want to think about skipping every other stair so you can still go up and down. We were able to go around through the back door if we wanted to go into the basement (this was super fun late at night hauling all the dogs around the entire house in the cold just to go upstairs to go to bed.)
Step 5: Paint the sides white!
We did two coat of white paint on the treads and it really made everything pop! After painting the treads, I ended up freshening up the paint in all the baseboards in the basement because it just looked SO good. The laminate flooring was another project but I think we did a pretty great job matching the stain!
Now we just need to get around to staining the handrail to match...
Have you done this to the stairs in your home? What was your experience like?
Meet the Author
My fiance and I are slowly redoing our 1980's split level home and creating a new space we love! I love sweet tea, hand lettering, a good DIY project and a long vacation.
My Post Topics
Top Desired Destinations