Refinishing Your Stairs

This is after I’ve given our Pennsylvania house staircase some TLC.

It’s the 3rd house in a row that we moved into with carpeted stairs. I truly HATE carpet on stairs and it must go . The carpeting collects dust, dirt, dog hair and other unthinkables year after year despite vacuuming.

So I knew it must be done and what to do. Ever set presented new challenges and puzzle pieces.

Before….Isn’t she lovely?

The first task is carpet removal. But first we need to discuss 2 major items under the carpet.

TACK STRIPS There are tack strips beneath to hold the carpet in place that are straight from the Devil himself. Mean. Spikey. There will be some blood shed… but don’t let it be unsuspecting child or pet. Only remove the amount of carpet that you will have time to also remove tack strips before anyone needs to pass. I use a crow bar to pry the carpet away from the steps, to lift the wood tack strip as well as to lift nails.

STAPLES There will be soooooo many staples. I use a small flat head screwdriver and needle nose pliers to remove them. A scissors blade works well too.

I only removed the carpet from 2 steps at a time then every staple and nail. Repeat.

I removed all of the carpeting from the steps leaving the landing for last. Typically your landing is a disappointing plywood and I just wasn’t ready to look behind the carpet yet.

As promised I could see around the edge that it’s plywood on the landing. Boo!!!! And doubled up tack strips requiring twice the prying.

I used the padding to roll up around all the tack strips to protect myself during the trip to the trash can. It’s as ugly as anticipated but I had a few ideas.

I painted on paint stripper along the sides and waited 30 minutes then scraped.

Very low Oder and was super easy to work with. Just paint on and wait 30 minutes.

Paint comes right off!

I washed the stair treads and used wood putty to fill in all the staple and mail holes. They look great already and I’m super happy with the progress.

I used a Varathane wood stain that dries in an hour in Golden Oak.

The stain makes such a difference making the wood grain pop!

I decided to add wallpaper to the stair risers. I used a peel and stick paper with a hexagon pattern

You can see progress here and my supervisor, Barkley.

The landing had basic plywood on it and I knew I had to figure out someway to distinguish it differently from the stairs or add a smooth sheet of wood over the plywood.

I had some leftover tile that I loved from our house in Virginia. We used it in our mudroom there and I thought it would be fun to have a touch of it here. I used Mussel mat to attach the tiles.

I planned to “frame” the tile and purchased thin sheets of wood to custom fit.

This was the view from upstairs looking down.

Mixed some grout.

Grouting looks mighty scary there for a while. Let it sit then wipe off excess.

Grouted and ready for a frame.

I felt like if I stained the wood frame like the steps it would look twice as wide on the left side due to the step with the bullnosed edge. They would through off the balance of the design.

Was debating between white paint or black paint for the “frame”. Decided that white paint would show dirt so I went to the Darkside. I used SW Iron Ore which is also on the front door so this will tie it all together.

The landing doesn’t match and doesn’t have to! I chose to make it a focal point.

Voila!!!! No more carpet on these steps. I’ve removed the carpet, refinished the wood, papered the risers and tiled the landing. Finished in time for the holidays.

Hope these tips and tricks inspire you if you are considering stripping those stairs.

Cheers- Kristen


Laurel Dane Designs, LLC

DIY Blogger, Personal Organizer and Designer

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