Home Improvement

Staircase Remodel

This post has been a looooong time coming, as our stairs have been done for a few months now.

We started this project a year and a half ago, and I naively thought it would be finished in a weekend. All we had to do was sand, paint, and stain, right? It couldn’t be that difficult or time consuming.

Boy, was I wrong!

First of all, there were at least five coats of thick paint (lead-based) on the stairs, and it was extremely difficult to remove with our hand sanders – – I didn’t even take into account the disgusting mess and smell that would come along with it! And before you ask, we had masks, open windows, and cleaned up as we went.

Here are the stairs before any work had been done.
Chris hard at work sanding our stairs.

After twenty-seven hours of sanding (that’s right, twenty-seven!!!)we finally finished removing the paint from the top of the steps and roughed up the risers so they could be painted. We used this orbital sander and this mouse sander to do our stairs. We went through tons of sanding pads, but it was worth it to us rather than having to buy a bigger sander!

After the sanding was fully finished, I painted the risers with Behr’s White Dove paint, found at Home Depot. I chose this color because it was the same as my trim in our basement! It took three coats of paint to cover the brown.

Next, we began to stain the tops of the steps! I did every other so we could still go down to the basement. I picked a dark walnut stain from Minwax. Each step had two coats of stain, and I made sure to wipe off any excess with my handy blue rags. These are a life-saver and I highly recommend when doing any type of paint or staining project! They make clean-up so quick and easy!

We covered the finished stairs with rosin paper to keep them from getting dirty!

The last step for the stairs was varnishing! We used a glossy polyurethane to give it a really sharp look.

For our stairwell, we bought wainscoting panels from Lowe’s, found here. We bought six, and they only run $17.48 each. We cut the panels to fit our space, and caulked all of the edges and seams. After finishing our basement, we had leftover MDF trim, so we added a piece to each side of the stairwell on top of the panels to give it a clean, finished look. We caulked and painted everything with Behr’s White Dove to tie everything together.

We bought a new handrail from Home Depot, found here, and reused the hardware from our previous handrail. To get the hardware freshened up and all of the paint removed, we boiled the hardware and quickly rinsed it under cold water, which allows you to easily peel off the paint. It made the hardware rust a little bit, but we liked the look it gave it!

This whole project cost us under $200! It just took time and hard work, which we were eager to put in!

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