Saturday, August 7, 2010

It Has Begun – Stairway Teardown

Actually, I think I should have named this post: “My Husband is a Saint”.  I’ll explain why later.

As I mentioned in my guest post over at Sawdust and Paper Scraps, I’ve been wanting to tear up the carpet in our staircase and paint our stairs for months now.  The carpet was in terrible shape and one of our cats has been having “accidents” on it for years. (Though, somehow, I don’t think there was anything accidental about it!)  It’s become rather embarrassing and it brings me down a bit every time I walk up or down the stairs.

I have pictures, but they really don’t portray the true hideous-ness (yes, that’s a word!) that is our staircase. 

Just to give you an idea of what it looks like, it’s one short run, with two landings and then a longer run at 180 degrees to the first.

DSC_2431 DSC_2433

Can you see, here, where the cats scratched straight through the carpet and I did a horrible patch job?


Or, how about here – the cat’s favorite corner – where the particle board molding soaked up too much moisture from the many times I tried to treat the stains and odor.


Well, yesterday morning, I’d had enough.  I woke up a little early and sat down at the computer and pored over Thrifty Decor Chick’s awesome stair redo.  By the time my husband came into the room, looking tired and bleary-eyed, I had tons of pictures to show him and then I jumped out of my chair, trotted down the stairs, and pulled up the carpet on the landing.

I’ve been trying to pull up little pieces of our carpet for weeks now, but haven’t been able to get a really good look because I wasn’t ready to just tear the carpet yet, so while I was assuming the stair treads were good enough to paint, I really had no idea.

Turns out, I was wrong.  The treads, did have a nice, bull-nosed front edge (which I was pretty sure about), but it was not pine or even plywood (like I had hoped).  Instead it was OSB, which is rough and not at all sand-able (yes, that’s also a word!).  Crap!

Not to be deterred, I started Googling stair treads and found that I could buy bull-nosed pine treads for a reasonable price.  Of course, this was no longer going to be a cheap project along the lines of Thrifty Decor Chick’s $30 redo, but I had already mentally passed the point of no return.

I forced my too tired husband to discuss all these options with me until we had a preliminary plan and then sent him off to work.  After he left, I got to work and pulled up all the carpet on the landings.  *Gag*

I knew the first order of business was to figure out how to get the odor out of the subfloor.  At one point, I thought I might end up replacing the subfloor and even cutting out the lower portion of the wall, but I Googled and found some simpler solutions that should take care of the odor.  Keep your fingers crossed.  If it works, I’ll post what I did.  So far, I’ve done step 1, which made the whole house smell.  Awesome.

Next, I headed to the lumber store and then to Lowe’s to get the wood for the treads and to cover the landing.  By the time I got home, it was after lunch and I had to take a break and actually attend to actual work-work cuz I like to get paid.

Later this evening, though, I attacked the carpet on the rest of the stairs and my husband walked through the door just as I was pulling the last piece off the short run.  Somehow he wasn’t too surprised to see that the carpet was missing.  (After 15 years of marriage, he shouldn’t be surprised anymore.)

The carpet came out fairly easily, though there must have been a sale on staples when our carpet was installed because, I swear, there were at least 100 in each riser.  Those staples were too strong for me, so I recruited the one with the upper body strength to get the rest out, which he did in no time flat.



I followed behind pulling the staples and tack strips out and now we have this:


And this:


I must admit that I’m a bit stressed about this right now.  This is how it goes, I get a bug in my bonnet about a project that needs to be done RIGHT NOW.  I do enough research to get us started and then I “throw the hammer through the wall” (or tear up all our carpet, whichever works).  Then I freak out a little bit wondering what on earth I was thinking.

And this is where my husband earns his Saint-hood.  Because, even though this is not his project, nor would he have ever chosen to do this project, he goes along with my crazy ideas and even helps me out when I need a little more muscle.  The poor man.

Stay tuned to see our progress!


  1. Keep at it. You will love the end result. I am a kindred spirit of you. I ripped up my carpet and it sat like that for many months before I got the courage to tackle the stairs. The end result is worth it. Hey, I bet the particle board floor is even better than the nasty carpet.

  2. I cant wait to see how it turns out. I would love to do my stairs someday. I don't think I have the energy yet, but I admire those who do. I will just have to envy your new stairs instead. :-)

  3. If I didn't know better, I would have thought that I wrote this post! It's sounds exactly like me and my husband. He is always drug into helping me and my hairbrained projects. Good luck, I'm excited to see how it turns out!

  4. Bless our husbands! I am the exact same way! I can't wait to see what you do with it! I have some BLUE carpet in my house that I would LOVE to rip up!!!

  5. Just thought I would let you know I passed on an award to you!
    Stop by and check it out!

  6. I had to laugh at this post, and comment too. About 2 years ago I got an idea to do the same thing...I had hard wood laid in the house and didn't want the stairs covered in the ugly brown rug from the previous owners. Thankfully, the treads/risers are good and just need to be refinished (yup I said need). Our stairs must have been carpeted at the same time b/c I have never seen so many staples in my life! Plus, it appears as if the rug wasn't on the stairs, nor where the stairs covered when they sprayed the ceilings. My husband gave up when it was taking forever to fill all the holes. So, 2 years later I am tackling the might take me all winter, but I will. So hang in there...I might need the company!


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