Staircase Makeover: Part I

When we moved into the house, the stairs and second floor were carpeted. It’s evident that the carpet had been replaced at some point in time, so definitely not the original carpet from when the house was built in 2006. Could be worse, but it drives me absolutely nuts.

My plan for the upstairs is to do a gray wood-look porcelain tile. First and foremost, though, the staircase.

Here’s the before:

Staircase makeover - carpet to hardwood. www.thetarragonahouse.com

Staircase makeover - carpet to hardwood. www.thetarragonahouse.com

Real talk: I had a lot of other projects going on, and I didn’t actually plan to get into the staircase project right just now. But one night a couple weeks ago, I must’ve had some sort of mental break and decided to peek under the carpet…

Staircase makeover - carpet to hardwood. www.thetarragonahouse.com

That’s the first tread with the grips removed…it only gets worse from there.

Now, I read through a few blog posts where people spent weeks working on their stairs – pulling out staples and nails, sanding everything down. I never had the intention of doing all that. I’d always thought that I’d simply cut out all that extra labor and replace the treads. Seeing this just supported my original plan. Time is money!

Staircase makeover - carpet to hardwood. www.thetarragonahouse.com

I had decided on cutting down 2x12s for the most minimalistic, and budget friendly option, but then I found these bullnosed treads at Lowes for $11.94/tread. For 17 treads, that put us at just over $200 – totally worth it, since they required little more than light sanding and staining. 

Keep in mind that pine is a soft wood, and I’m sure some are concerned about how it would hold up to wear and tear. Since only bare human feet touch the stairs (Stella is not allowed up the stairs), I’m not worried about it. Worse comes to worst, I’ll just add more poly, if needed.

We used the crowbar to pry off the old treads one-by-one, replacing them with a new tread as we went along.

Staircase makeover - carpet to hardwood. www.thetarragonahouse.com

I used my handy miter saw to cut down the new treads. Easily the most time-consuming part, as each one was a slightly different size.

Staircase makeover - carpet to hardwood. www.thetarragonahouse.com

Staircase makeover - carpet to hardwood. www.thetarragonahouse.com

Here they are dry-fitted to the staircase. You wouldn’t believe it based off the hack-job it looked like before, but each stair was actually level! I couldn’t believe my eyes when I laid down the bubble level.

I know there are some purists out there who insist that stairs have to match the downstairs flooring, but I disagree. Mainly because I hate our downstairs flooring. I feel that the color is overly warm, but since it was just replaced last year (before we bought the house), it’s not going anywhere right now.

Since the plan is for our upstairs tile to be more cool-toned, we needed a good transitional color. I settled on a 50/50 mix of Minwax Jacobean and Ebony (affiliate link). 3 coats of Minwax Satin Polycrylic later, and they were beautifully protected!

I’ve seen some blogs where the brave souls stained the treads AFTER they were glued/nailed in place. Bless them. The only thing I could think is that those people have hands as steady as surgeons. I’m too lazy to tape things off, and am just messy in general, so we ended up removing every other tread to stain/poly so that the staircase would still be useable.

Staircase makeover - carpet to hardwood. www.thetarragonahouse.com

Our fancy budget treads were attached with Liquid Nails and the always-amazing Ryobi Airstrike Brad Nailer (2″ finishing nails).

Staircase makeover - carpet to hardwood. www.thetarragonahouse.com

Staircase makeover - carpet to hardwood. www.thetarragonahouse.com

Treads done! 

Staircase makeover - carpet to hardwood. www.thetarragonahouse.com

Something to keep in mind if you plan on using these treads – they all accept stain a little differently. If you’re extremely OCD, you might be better off just painting them for an absolute consistent look. I actually really love the variations in the wood. 🙂

Staircase makeover - carpet to hardwood. www.thetarragonahouse.com

As for the risers, that’ll be Part 2. I left a 1/2″ overhang on each tread to account for the 1/4″ plywood that we’ll be paneling the risers with.

IMG_0665

The lighting in the stairwell isn’t great…there’s a light located on the ceiling about 1/3 way from the top step (like, 10 feet up) that we haven’t figured out how to replace.

Staircase makeover - carpet to hardwood. www.thetarragonahouse.com

We are ecstatic about how these turned out! They are such an improvement over the carpeted stairs, and are QUIETER, believe it or not!

Staircase makeover - carpet to hardwood. www.thetarragonahouse.com

At some point in time, there may be some wainscoting for the walls, as well. Stay tuned!

Christy