Last year we started on the journey of replacing our gnarly carpet with laminate wood floors (and fyi, we are still not done, lol). When we made the decision to do this we wanted to pick really the cheapest option that we could while still making sure that we were going to love it, we found what we wanted at Lumber Liquidators for a real bargain but decided that all of the pieces needed to do all four sets of stairs in our house was just not worth it. For the longest time I left the carpet on the stairs for one simple reason…I was terrified! There are so many stairs in our home I knew that if I choose the wrong thing it would haunt me forever, So I took to the blogs and DIY websites and decided that I didn’t want to spend the money on new treads and really thought that if I did it well I could just paint and seal what was there already and it would look great (and if not…I was really just out of time and a few bucks for paint)!
Since we have three active little boys we knew we wanted to go with a dark color on the treads and then lighten the look up with a light color on the back of the steps, in the end we decided on traditional black and white.
I wanted to do this in stages, I knew that if I did this on all the steps in the house and it looked terrible I would be super upset so we started with the ones going into the basement because those are the ones we have to look at the least amount of time.
I pulled up the carpet and then painstakingly pulled out every one of the five million staples that we in them, that seemed to take forever and was super tedious but it had to be done and there was no getting around that. Next I moved on to sanding, and this is where I would have had better equipment and more know-how because I had no idea just how messy this would be! I did not have a sander that came with a dust catcher on it (probably because I borrowed it from a friend who knew I didn’t know how to use his tools and he gave me the cheapest thing he could from his tool collection) and I did not put up any plastic barrier to prevent the dust from covering everything in my house… so obviously the frieken dust covered everything in my house! Next time, I will not make that mistake!
Once I sanded the stairs several time with two different sandpaper grits and they were smooth enough I swept them, and then again and again to make sure all the dust was off, once that was done I took wood filler to any areas that needed it. This part was probably the easiest . Once the filler dried I sanded and swept them again.
At this point I was thinking two things… man, I’m exhausted and the next part will be so much fun! As excited as I was to paint the steps I decided to be done for the day and finish the next day…and finishing it the next day turned into finishing it six months later because well, lift happened! Then one day I had nothing on the schedule and woke up all motivated to finally get this done….then I realized that this was going to be a nightmare! As artistic as I am, I am not a good painter…yet; I try and try again thinking I will magically be this amazing painter. I started with the black paint on the treads because I didn’t want to mess up the white backs once I painted them so I decided to save that part for last. The black paint was everywhere…in my hair, on the walls, on my new wood floor…it was a mess but I did manage to get some paint on the steps and after two coats they looked so good. I was so proud of myself!
Once the paint had dried, I put a matte poly on top of them and let it dry. Then I made a very important decision…I was not going to paint the backs white! Well, I mean they were going to get painted white, just not by me. I called my father in law and pouted…and pouted some more and he agreed to paint them for me (Why did I not think about this before I painted the black??). Now I am just waiting for him to come over and then the basement steps will be done!
This process really wasn’t that bad and could be done in one weekend if you are really motivated to get it done!