As some of you may know (ie. if you read my blog, or are related to me) I recently embarked upon the journey of painting out our stairs. I say journey, because this project definitely took some tiiiiiime. Painting a surface that is walked on a zillion times per day can prove to be difficult. The Lino HAD to go, and we were on a budget, so, while this is not necessarily conventional, I am really pleased with the end result! You might remember a few of the inspiration photos that got me started. I will be posting the complete makeover through two parts, Part One will include the painting of our stairs, and Part Two will include our effective but inexpensive solution for a carpet runner! So, let’s get started.

This is what we started with. I have despised these stairs for 5 years...

The most physically time consuming part of this project was the “demo” which would better be classified as linoleum and glue removal. This stuff is not for the faint of heart… After trying several different methods of removing the glue and little shreds of paper (ie. scraping, scrubbing… swearing? no. I didn’t do that…) This is what was most effective, and what I would suggest: pulling off as much of the lino as possible, taking care to leave as few paper pieces behind, spraying the remaining glue/paper with warm/hot water, and letting it sit. The more water, the better… and then, using a combination of steel wool and a scraper, remove as much of the glue as possible! Rinse and repeat!

When this was finished, I went over the staircase with a rough t sandpaper, and then over all of the stairs again with a fine grit… please use an electric sander, as your arm would fall off otherwise. My little mouse did the trick, but, you have to be patient and let it do it’s thang… don’t force it! Slow and steady…

These are the tools that got me through the demo… there were staples in some of the wood? Weird… but I pulled them out… thankfully the stairs going up were not covered in subfloor, unlike the stairs going down that still had the original lino and CONCRETE like glue underneath said sub floor… more on that later.

Much sweating and scrubbing… you may ask “why are there still so many remnant pieces on the riser?” to which I reply… shhh. This was a) rough, pourous and grainy plywood and b)way to awkward to scrub… so, we came up with a solution for that which I will share in a moment.

Now I will say that I entertained the idea of staining the treads as opposed to painting… but the wood was not in great condition, and I simply did not have the will to sand things down any further. So, I gave the steps 2 layers of primer. We used 1/8 inch particle board (or MDF… can’t remember it’s official title) and cut it to size for the riser, because the scmutz was not coming off… this was a fast and welcome solution for me. We primed and painted the pieces first, and then attached them using “No More Nails” perhaps the off brand of Liquid Nails? It worked great, and was on sale at TOTEM- also, I couldn’t find liquid nails… so there ya go!

Once everything was dry (paint and glue) I then did 2 coats of Behr Porch and Deck paint in Ultra White, Gloss. The gloss makes it a bit easier to clean, and my hope is that the Interior/Exterior descriptor means it will stand up to heavy traffic. Time will tell.

Now, I had mentioned that the painting process took some time. I used 2 methods, that always revolved around bed time or nap time for our boys. The primer dried quite quickly, and so I could do this during nap time. For the stairs, I alternated every other step, so that we could still use the stairs, and painted the “paint paint” at night as it took longer to dry. I allowed the first coat of paint a minimum of 24hrs to dry before adding a second coat, as it is quite tacky. For the primer I left a little splotch unpainted for us to step up, and then touched it up when the rest had dried. Kinda tedious, but it worked.

Now, I became very satisfied when it came to the results of siliconing the gaps… this adds the finishing touches needed, and will hide any imperfections where the joints meet up. I used a white paintable silicone that we had on hand… for some reason we have a giant box of unused silicone from past projects. Don’t ask me why… You may also notice that we added trim along the wall. There was previously no trim up the stairs, which left things feeling rather unfinished, so we added a 3 inch trim throughout the entire entry way.

The cost of painting your stairs will vary. Some of the things needed for this we already had on hand, because that is how we roll. For example, the steel wool, sand paper, sillicone, and primer were things we already had. We purchased the MDF for the riser and the Paint. The trim was an additional cost, but not typcial for most situations, so I won’t include it in the breakdown. We had 11 stairs total, and this cost us less than $50. (the painting stage that is!)

I will give you a quick glimpse at our basement stairs:

This is what I found when I pulled up the subfloor… eeesh. I was slightly taken aback, because there was no way this was coming up! For the rest of the stairs, we decided to leave the subfloor, after ruling out the use of these (we replaced the subfloor on the one step I tore up):

 Thankfully, they wouldn’t actually fit because of their thickness, which ended up saving us like $50… in a sense? And led us to rethink our plan. We painted out the subfloor, and decided to go with a carpet stair runner. White paint really shows le’dirt… and we wanted something to make things, well, less white. So, we went with a runner through out and I love it! I will be posting part 2 of this little segment, which will go over the ins & outs of installing your own carpet runner for less! Yeah for budgets, until then, I will leave your with a sneak peak!

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