Saturday, March 7, 2015

Stair Makeover

Hello!  How is everyone!  I have been MIA since last October – but I’m back and I’m going to tell you about one of the projects we started at 818 about a year and a half ago~~

Stairs.  Stairs are pretty essential to a two-story home.  And they can either look drab, or they can look stunning.  Ours were pretty drab.  As you can see in the first picture, they were covered with carpeting from the wall over to almost the end of the tread. (And yes, that is my husband on the crazy ladder - men!) The part that wasn’t carpeted was stained oak.  The carpeting was pretty grimy after so many years of kids/adults/dogs going up and down, and the rails were stained oak. (The only “before” pictures I had were from when hubby was painting the foyer!)

So one summer day Hubby and I were up at the neighborhood pool relaxing in the sun, talking about the different projects were wanted to do in our house – which by the way, are MANY – anyway, so he says, “when we get home I’m just going to pull that carpeting off the stairs.” It was kind of out of the blue, but hey, I went with it!  It is nasty work and he did it all - he's pretty much the best :)  (see below - still in swimsuit haha!)

And that’s what he did!  He pulled all the nasty carpet and padding up, and removed all the carpet tack strips.  We had no idea if the entire stair tread was oak or not, but we were hoping it was!  Much to our disappointment the majority of the tread was pine with oak woven into the end that was showing.  We knew that we didn’t want to replace them, so it was decided that we would paint them.  Paint them black!  And the posts and handrail, too – I was so excited!

He caulked and primed them – and there they sat.  For well over a year.  This is real-life folks!  Sometimes we just run out of time, or other things take precedence, but we learn to live with the imperfections and just appreciate the fact that we have stairs to someday paint.

Fast-forward to January 2015 - we got the bug to start back working on the stairs.  There was a ton of taping to do!  He painted the rail up top first, then painted every-other step so we could let it dry and we walked on the unpainted ones.  Haha we had to carry our dog up stairs the first night because she was so confused and would not walk up!

(see spot above where crazy dog licked the primer off the wood... yeah.)

After we finished the all of the stairs he painted the long handrail coming down the steps.  I did all of the taping – so I did help with this project, promise!  

The end result is beautiful!  I love how the stairs/handrail tie in with our black doors - I talk about painting our doors here and here.  We may, at some point, add a runner – but it’s pretty low on the priority list.

Wanting full disclosure I must say, having black painted stairs is not for the faint-of-heart.  Every little teeny speck of dust will show up on them, and the dog’s nails have already scratched them.  We used a wonderful product on the rail – Glidden Trim & Door with Gel-Flow, an oil-based paint – and we absolutely loved how it covered.  When it came to the stair treads though, we used a latex.  We were so worried that the oil-based paint would take too long to dry and that we would mess it up walking over it (we have to sleep upstairs!), so we went with the latex.  It has not performed as well as we would have hoped.  We also had trouble pulling the tape off – the latex paint would start peeling off with the tape, so we would have to score it with a knife first.  And when the tape came off there were places where the paint got behind the tape.  Hubby went back with a smaller brush and cleaned up the lines between the black tread and the white riser. 

In a perfect world we would have used the oil-based on the treads – but overall we love the look of the stairs and rails being black.  I am a little obsessive, so I will take a Swiffer duster and go over the steps when they start getting to me.  One day we may need to repaint them, but for now we’ll just enjoy them!

What about you – have you ever had a difficult project that you put off forever?  I would love to hear about it!  Next up, we will be tackling our kitchen renovation!  Stay tuned!!!


  1. They are gorgeous! so worth seeing a speck of dust in my opinion.

  2. They really do look great and I appreciate your notes on the paint choice. I have stairs that need attention and while looking at your pictures I was wondering how well paint would hold up under so many feet.

  3. Absolutely beautiful! I've been wanting to remove the carpet from our stairs for years but I know how much work it is. Looks like it was well worth it.

  4. What a beautiful makeover, I love the new look, so chic!


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