So It Begins

September 16, 2010

This isn’t one of those ‘ooooh pretty pictures’ posts.  Nope.  This is one of those ‘get down and dirty by starting a big DIY project’ post.  It’s been years that I’ve been wanting, no needing, to do this, and the time has finally come.  Over the weekend we said bye bye to the carpet on the stairs in the foyer.  Good riddance awful dirty carpet!

The carpet was there mostly for the safety of our little tykes, but I’ve never been a fan.  For a long time, I have yearned for the gorgeousness that is a hardwood staircase, especially since it’s the first thing you see when you enter our home. You’ll recall our staircase came halfway last year with the darkening of the banister: 2009 b and a

Well since the kids are finally old enough to get the whole ‘no running down the stairs’ idea, we’re finally adding those wood steps I’ve been dreaming of all this time.

So long carpet!

ripping out carpet

Yeeeeee haaaaaw.

Underneath is a solid plywood staircase, but we were left with plenty of these to remove . . . tack strips

. . . and a zillion of these staples too.


And a heck of a lot of vacuuming with a Shop Vac.

I spent several hours on Sunday in this cramped position.  I recommend when popping tack strips and industrial size staples out of plywood you wear safety goggles and gloves.  I should have worn knee pads too, like the hardwood installers do.  Wish I would have remembered that, but at least I still have my eyeballs and no blisters.

cg on staircase

Here’s our biggest problem spot ~ the first step:

problem spot We can’t just sit a new 1” thick tread on this first step, we have to accommodate for the corner piece ~ there’s a thick nose but a thin tread, and I’ve got to match this edge and have an even step.  Plus we’ve got to stay within code as far as height of the steps.  I agonized over this, and decided to bring in professional help for installing just this step, and for the wood flooring on the landing too. I also have to strip the paint off the top so the entire length of the step under the balusters will be dark and not just the new wood.

So here’s what we were left with on Sunday, particle board and plywood = better than dingy carpet.

stairs ready

You’ll notice the wallpaper is gone!   Yes, it was time.  It was lovely while it lasted, but it was slightly torn in one section, which remains an unsolved mystery, but I have my usual suspects. The real purpose of the wallpaper was to distract from the yucko carpet.  And when I say ‘yucko’ I mean a carpet with the residue of a billion grimy kid footsteps and a dingy gray stripe running right up the center.

Now that the carpet is gone, I’m thinking the crisp white wainscot look on the walls will be better, especially with the contrast on the steps.  You can see I’ve already primed the walls to cover the darker paint, but I still have yet to coat it with two coats of white paint ~ that’s the very last step in this ongoing saga. We still have to cut and install all the risers with precision.  Then stain, cut, install, putty and poly every tread.  Whew, I’m tired already!  But in the end, it will all be worth it.

I so love the look of white risers with a dark handrail and dark treads.

dark treads and handrail white risers

Fingers crossed we can get our staircase to look just as beautiful.

*****  Update!  See this post from Oct 2010 about the process of how we refinished our staircase to get the look I love!

stairs before after



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