Tag Archives: Stairs

Stair Reno: Part Three

19 Jul

DIY in mid-July is not recommended.  Remember last week when I said doing things in high 80’s/low 90’s was bad, apparently I started complaining too early.

Today it’s going to feel like 110 degrees. I don’t live in Texas. This isn’t dry heat.  I gag every time I go outside. It’s disgusting. I’m pretty sure if my dog could lay on top of the air conditioner she would.

Proof:

 

Anyway, this post is picture heavy and not about humidity, so I’m going to shut my mouth and get back to the stair renovation.

We left it with the treads stained.  I wanted to get the molding up before I painted so I could paint it all at once. So, last Friday the husband and I went to Home Depot in torrential rain, bought 12 ft. long molding that wouldn’t completely fit in the car, hung it out the passenger side window and drove home in the pouring rain. Not our finest, or driest, moment.

We removed the grate and taped up the stained treads.

We should buy stock in Frog Tape.

We used primed 3.5″ MDF  from Lowe’s for the board and batten. It was cheap and what we needed to create the look we liked.

We started with a piece of 12ft for the baseboard.  I take no credit in the cuts, that was all the husband, he’s 100% a numbers guy. He can figure out the exact angles when I would rather just wing it.   I’m good at thinking up the ideas, he’s good at figuring out what it takes to actually do them!

We put the baseboard on with limited issues and then went to figure out where we wanted the top piece.  We originally were going to put it the same height as the stair rail, but stepping back we realized the stair rail would be blocking the board and batten.  So we raised it about 4 inches.  When looking directly at it, the top piece of molding hovers right above the stair rail.   For numbers dorks, it’s 24.5″ from the steps.

We measured 21″  on an angle from the stairs all the way up (making sure the measuring tape was flush so we got an accurate measurement) and then used that line to keep our board level.

Then we figured out how we liked the middle pieces to be spaced.  I think it ended up being 16.75″ apart.  The husband went to work on the angles and would pass me the cut pieces through the still open hole on the base step. That thing came in handy!

I also drew a little picture on the back of one of the boards so if any future owners decide to take it off, there will be a little surprise for them.

We added a  little piece of molding we randomly stumbled upon at Lowe’s (I don’t know the exact name of it – sorry!) to finish off the top.  Then I spackled all the holes.

The next morning we added a piece of wood to cover up the stair hole and started painting.

After one coat of primer:

I caulked everything when the primer was dry.

After 1st coat of semi-gloss white:

After second coat of white paint:

After the second coat of white paint I declared the wall done.  I took off the tape.  The stairs weren’t.  There was still some patchy spots so I had to finish the next day.

But then I got a cold. Boo!

I put on my big girl pants, sucked it up, and put another coat on the stairs on Wednesday.

I gave it a bit of time and then removed all the tape and paper.  Some of the white paint did bleed through the tape, so I’ll have to touch up a few spots on the stairs, but overall I think they look great.

Photos galore!

White paint makes everything look so much better.

I still need to caulk a few places and touch up some paint.  Then I’m moving on to runner installation.

Before /After

Advertisements

Humidity is the Devil…

11 Jul

The stairs are coming along, but I definitely thought we would be farther along than we are.  We did take a few days to relax over the 4th and this week has been a bust because of work, but I’m still blaming humidity.

Apparently I picked the perfect time to stain and poly a floor – high 80’s/low 90’s and extremely high humidity. It literally felt like someone dumped a bucket of boiling water on you when you walked outside. Not my thing.

Last Saturday we ripped up all the carpet and dug out all the staples. The stairs weren’t in too bad of shape.

Then we hung up plastic sheeting to trap all the dust (We kept calling it the “Kill Room”. People who watch Dexter will understand that, people who don’t probably think I’m crazy).

I trapped myself inside this for hours.

I kept saying it was like I was the reverse Bubble Boy.  Trapped inside with all the bad stuff.  Every now and then I was let out and would jump outside to get some fresh air.

It really did it’s job though. There was no dust anywhere else throughout the house.

I taped off the doors upstairs and those rooms were dust free too.

A few hours later we were left with this…

I sanded with 60 grit to get all the polyurethane off, then again with 150 grit to give it a smooth finish. I used the orbital sander as well as a sanding block with the 150 grit. I wanted to make sure I got it as smooth as possible.

I taped off the treads for staining with Frog tape – my favorite stuff ever.

Since I was worried about the stairs sopping up the stain I started with Minwax Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner.

It claims to help make a more even stain. I would have to say it definitely worked.

You have to stain within 2 hours of the pre-stain so I gave it a good 30 minutes to dry (the wood just soaked it right up).

With just the pre-stain…

Then I said a few prayers and started staining. I worked my way from the landing down the stairs with a roll of paper towels, a plastic grocery bag to hold the used towels, a foam brush, and a small can of stain.

I would stain, then let it sit for no more than 5-7 minutes, wipe, and move on.  It worked out well. The color came out very close to our hardwood on the main floor – which made me happy! The bottom step even stained nicely. I was so worried about it but I really think the pre-stain made all the difference.

The lighting makes the landing look more yellow/orange. It’s definitely not that color in person. It’s a nice warm brown. No orange!

It’s Minwax Wood Stain in Early American.

I let the stain dry 24 hours before the first coat of polyurethane. I just wanted to be really sure it was dry and with the crazy humidity we were having it was taking way longer than the recommended drying time.

The first coat of polyurethane went on the next day. I used Minwax Fast Drying Polyurethane in Clear Semi-Gloss. Fast drying it was not.

Because of the humidity it took 24 hours to dry. We ninja’ed our way up the stairs that night with the dog under one arm and the dehumidifier in the other. We set up the dehumidifier in the bathroom and let it run through the night. That really helped speed up the drying time.

The second coat went on the next morning.  I sanded the first coat with a 220 grit sanding block, cleaned it up, and then made sure to put it on really thin to decrease the drying time.

It was nice and dry 12 hours later.  We made sure to stay off it as much as possible until 24 hours after it was applied.

So here we are…

I know this last photo is blurry by it shows how it matches the floor the best.

A nice before and after…

This weekend we are hoping to get the backs painted white and some trim hung up.  Hopefully I can start measuring out what we’ll need for the board and batten. PLUS I need to scotch guard the runner, staple that sucker to the stairs and find a carpet store that will cut and re-bind a rug for the landing.

Busy, busy, busy!

So It Begins

27 Jun

The carpet removal has begun.  On Saturday we ripped off the carpet on the bottom two stairs. I needed to see if there was actually wood under there and if it was salvageable. Check for both!

I wanted to try to sand a step or two to see how long it would take and if it would work. I have a small palm sander that I used and quickly realized it would take me forever to sand everything with it.  The sandpaper kept falling off!

So, my husband loves me and took me to Home Depot and bought me an Orbital Sander. Nothing makes my heart flutter more than power tools. I’m my father’s daughter.

I got the DeWalt 5 inch Random Orbital Sander (This). The sandpaper sticks directly to the pad and makes life a whole lot easier for me. It took me 10 minutes to sand one step, when previously it took me at least 30.

Look how pretty it is.

I took the same stain that is on our floors now and tested a little spot on the stairs.

Big problem with the bottom stair. It stained so much darker than the floors. I put the stain on and wiped it off immediately. It’s still several shades darker and incredibly noticeable.  I’ve read you can water down stain with turpentine. We might do that or pick a lighter shade that is as close of a match as we can get. We’ll see. The rest of the stairs stain exactly like the floor. It’s just the horizontal planks on the bottom step.

See…

No bueno.

Ignore the brown grate. That’s going away. It’s non-functional and dumb.

Because there is something wrong with us and we can’t ever stop at what we had planned for the day – we ripped off the carpet on the landing.

It’s definitely worn. There are definitely a lot of scratches, but nothing was deep. It was all superficial. I love the look of older hardwood too and this has the potential to have the character that I love.

And because I’m an idiot I decided I should sand the whole landing. So I did. For almost 4 hours.

60 grit sandpaper really cuts through the polyurethane.

I was a mess and the house was a mess.  We hung up plastic sheeting to protect the downstairs, but there still was dust all over the place.

And me…

Don’t I look wonderful. Miss America, ladies and gentlemen.

But the floors looked good.

Dust EVERYWHERE!

After a lot of vacuuming….

There are still a few places that I need to hit with my Dremel Oscillating Tool. That little guy is great to sand in tough to reach places.

I’m not sure if I’m going to fill the small crack above with stain-able wood putty or not. I’ve heard some not so great things about it so I’m on the fence. That will be a game time decision.

Here’s a good shot of where it was sanded and wasn’t…

I’m going to go over it lightly with 150 grit sandpaper before I stain. Just to make sure everything is smooth.

It’s going to be a crazy weekend.

My Everest

9 May

These stairs. These carpeted awful stairs.

They kind of make me barfy just looking at them. I’ve slipped and fell down them.  The cat uses them as a scratching post.  They’ve been puked on, peed on, and lord knows what else thanks to our lovely animals.  The carpet is OLD! It was old when we moved in a few years ago.

It’s stained from the previous owners.

We’ve scrubbed, rented steam cleaners, and the stains and smells won’t come out – so the only choice in my eyes is that the carpet is coming out!

SO GROSS!

The landing is the same. Carpeted and stained.

The husband and I have ripped up corners to see what we have to work with.  It’s finished hardwood! Beautiful hardwood flooring has been hiding under that disgusting beige-y carpet for years! Now that I know that, I’m showing as much restraint as I can to not just rip it all off.  I need a plan. Plus, I need a bit of confidence that I can refinish the landing and stairs myself.

Summer Stair Beautification 2013 will be in two parts.

Part 1 – Board and Batten

I love the idea of board and batten up a stairway.  It looks so crisp and bright.  So I’ll pull out the nail gun and miter saw and (hopefully) get it to look a little something like the photos below.

Some chair rail, MDF, molding, and a lot of white paint should get me this look easily.

Step 2: Remove Carpet, Refinish Wood, Add Runner.

This step is going to take a bit longer.  The carpet removal with be quick and make me extremely excited.  The sanding, staining, and polyurethane will take a lot more time. I’m thinking over the course of a few nights I can stain my way into bed so to speak.  Work backwards up the stairs and then leave it to dry overnight.  We’ll just have to live with that smell. UGH, that stain & poly smell is the worst.

After that, all I have to do is install a runner. The hunt has been on for months to find one I like.  I’m thinking something gray-ish with a bold pattern.  Neutral but fun.

Here’s a bit of inspiration.

So pretty. I’m thinking a bit grayer (and lighter) but it’s gorgeous as is too! Our floors are not as espresso as the photos above, but they are still dark so I think it will look great with a true gray runner.

I can’t wait to get started. Hopefully soon!

BYE BYE ugly carpeted stairs….

You won’t be missed…

This view will be so much nicer in just a few short months…..