Redoing Carpeted Stairs: From Worn-Out Carpet to Paint, One Couple's Journey!

Updated on April 9, 2019
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Heather is a stay-at-home mom who enjoys camping with family, tackling DIY projects with her husband, and watching her kids' soccer games.

Before, During, and After

Before, during, and after!
Before, during, and after!

Backstory of Project

We had rented our home for nearly 14 years, and after our wonderful landlords experienced some family changes, we were given first chance at purchase. Due to exceptional location, cost, etc., we really had little motivation to buy in the past, but it was suddenly a reality, if we didn't buy, we would be moving. So here we were, in a situation of being new homeowners without the hassle of actually moving. So all the fun stuff like choosing colors, appliances, or anything for that matter, kind of passed us by. It was exciting, but not. Different, but the same.

So that brings us to the stairs, every day I would tell my husband, the carpet is falling apart, we need to take it out. He resisted, I pushed. I pushed, he ignored. Then it happened, I started ripping up the carpet while he was at work.

Husband's Warning

Getting Started

So as I mentioned, my husband wasn't really on board with starting this project. He was worried about what was under the carpet, worried about getting upstairs during the project, etc. Well since I didn't care what was under the carpet (I had a vision), we are blessed with a set of outside steps to a second-floor door, and I knew it would end up fabulous, so I began.

I figured I would start with a few steps. This way if it became more time consuming than I thought, there wouldn't be a multitude of exposed tack strips or whatever else we may find.

So, after getting some work gloves, safety glasses, utility knife and some other fun tools from my husband's toolbox. I set out to get started, but first I sent my husband a text with the caption, "Safety first!"

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Carpet removed from first three stairs.Tack strips=NO FUN!Husband, begrudgingly helping with carpet removal.
Carpet removed from first three stairs.
Carpet removed from first three stairs.
Tack strips=NO FUN!
Tack strips=NO FUN!
Husband, begrudgingly helping with carpet removal.
Husband, begrudgingly helping with carpet removal.

After teasing my husband via text, I set to work. I ripped up the carpet from the first three steps and was pleasantly surprised to find sturdy, wooden steps under the old ratty carpet. I set to work taking out a billion staples (may not be an accurate number) and the dreaded tack strips. After the initial three steps, I started tackling one step at a time. It was proving to take a bit more time than I thought and on my second day of carpet removal, my husband gave in and helped me finish this part of the process.

Hiya husband...just sanding some steps.
Hiya husband...just sanding some steps.

Going Smoothly: The Sanding Begins!

Day 3: After my husband so kindly gave his help in the carpet removal, next came sanding. With another text to keep my husband up to date on my progress, I used a palm sander to smooth out the stairs to prep for painting. This step went quickly and was by far the easiest of the process and rather self-explanatory: sand until smooth. Done.

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Previously mentioned picture that my funny hubby posted of my unfortunate phone placement.Stairs during wall painting.
Previously mentioned picture that my funny hubby posted of my unfortunate phone placement.
Previously mentioned picture that my funny hubby posted of my unfortunate phone placement.
Stairs during wall painting.
Stairs during wall painting.

Painting Has Begun: So Excited!

This was the part of the process I had been anticipating. The actual change and where my vision began. Dark grey stair treads. The color choice comes from the new front door that is being ordered and will now match the stairs that it opens up to see. I took my color sample to a local hardware store where they color matched my swatch from the door color with some paint that is designated for foot traffic. This is where we didn't specifically look for the most cost-effective route as we wanted the stairs to hold up without needed constant touch-ups.

After consulting with the paint expert at Paul B. Zimmerman's Hardware, we chose Pittsburgh Floor, Porch, and Deck Paint. It worked GREAT!! Each coat went on smooth and easy, no clumps and dried nice and evenly. I waited about 6 hours between each coat and gave it 3 coats. After waiting the recommended 16 hours before normal use, I was able to paint the paneling around the stairs with a lighter color (this began our kids' playroom painting project, different story, different day as one project merges into another). I used some painters tape to keep the lighter wall color from ruining my beautiful new steps.

Secret learned: Husband will laugh and take a picture when you paint down the steps leaving your phone out of reach until that coat of paint has dried & share it on social media so all your friends and family can laugh at you as well.

Aren't they pretty?!
Aren't they pretty?!

Last Step: White Risers

My dear, dear husband has agreed to help me with this part, and we collaborated (sometimes loudly) about the best way to get the look I had in my vision. We found some lovely options that would have probably been much easier than what we ended up with, but the cost of that could have put a child or several through college. So after a trip to our nearest Lowes, we discovered some white paneling, that we could have cut to fit each of 6.5 X 34 riser spaces, only one sheet needed to cover all the risers!! SCORE! The Lowes employee who did the cuts for us was friendly, knowledgeable, and was happy to help us complete our project. I forgot to take pictures of actually attaching the white board, but we used Liquid Nails adhesive and a few small brad finishing nails. Over the moon with the finished results!

Before and after of downstairs playroom...going from ugly 1970s paneling to a more comfortable space.
Before and after of downstairs playroom...going from ugly 1970s paneling to a more comfortable space.

Finishing Up, Merging Into the Next Project

Overall, this project was about 4 days of work. It could have been finished faster, but we didn't want to be frustrated, so we stopped when we needed a break and obviously when paint needed to dry. If just the stairs are included, we spent about $40 on paint (for the foot traffic paint), $20 on the panel of beadboard, $4 on liquid nails adhesive. Not a bad result for less than $70!

I thank my husband for not losing his mind while helping me make my 'vision' a reality.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

Questions & Answers

    © 2017 hlgriest


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      • greenmind profile image

        GreenMind Guides 

        3 years ago from USA

        I really liked this hub -- you gave us insight into the process of making mundane but important decisions. Well done!


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