Monday, February 8, 2016

Stair case renovation - part one

When we moved into our house and saw the carpet on the stairs and the floor upstairs, it was on our list of things to change ASAP.  

(Of course, once we were in the house, we realized how naive those walk-through lists are! So many unexpected items get added once you move in and the projects on those early lists get pushed to the back burner (or right off the stove!), amirite?!) 

So the carpet remained until last winter. When the allergist told us that is was time to get it out of our daughters' bedroom to help with our youngest's allergies, we decided to have laminate floors installed throughout the upstairs. 

That left the stairs... they could have stayed carpeted - but I can't often leave well-enough alone. Having them finished professionally was financially out of the question and I had been eyeing all of the great DIY stairs renovations that are all over the internet. They make it look pretty easy! 

Brad was less thrilled with the idea of doing anything to the stairs - a little (lot) less excited by the DIY blog posts I was showing him, and a lot less convinced that it wouldn't be very difficult. He had other good reasons and valid points too - neither of us have ever done anything like this, we had very little clue what it would entail or what we would find under the carpet (though I did cut and peel back a small section to peek), we could end up tearing off the carpet only to find that we've caused a very expensive problem that we can't fix, etc, etc.  


So, I did what I often do when faced with this sort of problem... I waited until he was out of town and did it myself! :) 

He was leaving for a week and we were facing some snow, so what better time, right?! 

We had a LOT of snow days while he was gone (like, a LOT - like, all of the days and then some), so I enlisted the help of my littles to tear the carpet off the stairs. I love including them in big projects when I can - GIRL POWER! 

So, we threw pants under our pjs (in the middle of the day - whatever) and got to it! 

I used a utility knife to slice across the top riser and we started yanking! It was so satisfying! 

... also, there was no turning back now. 

The next stage was removing all of that padding. Much less fun or satisfying and my helpers disappeared. ;) This stage left a huge mess. I used pliers and the back of my hammer to pull out about 754,038,453 carpet staples. Good times. 

The stairs were a mess since I'm sure the construction workers who built the house knew the stairs would be covered. There was writing, spilled paint, spilled coffee, and who knows what else. And after my staple-pulling, there were a whole lot of holes! I also found that some steps were in much worse shape than others. Brad may have been a little bit right...

I fantasized about just buying stair caps to install over these, but pricing them out convinced me to just grab the wood filler and get to work!

Once the stairs were safe and usable, I left them alone since the flooring guys were coming to install the laminate. No sense in fixing them up and then having them trampled! And, bonus - they took this carpet away with the rest from upstairs! Thanks, Empire. ;)

But then came the sanding. Oh, the horrible job of sanding these steps. I don't want to talk about it...

...but it was effective! They're starting to look much nicer!

Brad came home at this stage and was happy - mostly that he didn't have to be here during the insane mess, I imagine! ;)

Phew, I'm exhausted just writing about all of this part. In my next post, I'll detail how I stained and finished the steps. And I'll tell you why, to this day, there are two dog prints on every other step... 

stay tuned!

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