Stairway to Starting

Before I begin let me apologize for not having a ton of before, during and after photos.  When I began these projects I hadn’t decided to write blog posts about the process.  The projects are part of what started me on this blogging path.

This particular project was the beginning of me learning to love my home.  I had done other larger projects, which I will share, but they did not send me into a whirlwind of home improvements like this one did.  With this project I chose to go with something annoying that I could easily fix…my stairs.

If you have not heard me say it before I’m going to tell you now that I am lazy, which hence forth we will term creative.  I know people who have taken the time to strip everything down to bare wood, sand to the smoothness of silk, replace and patch distressed wood, then build everything back up like a 20k wedding cake.  Not me!  My house, unlike a treasured antique, is old but not of much value.  It deserves love, but I don’t have an excessive amount of time or energy to spare.  Yet, as you will see below, I managed to come up with a process that solved my problems and with beautiful results.

The first thing I do before beginning any project is research.  There are so many people who DIY that there is no reason to recreate the wheel.  Find a couple of processes that resonate with you and go from there.  My tendency is to cobble together something based on research and past experience.  that being said here’s what worked for me.

A little about what I started with…

My stairs were originally covered with archaic carpet which was removed when I first moved in.  The handyman I used at the time ripped it all out willy nilly leaving behind broken posts, ripped tread ends and gouged wood.  The wood had been stained sometime at the beginning of last century, but now was dried and cracked with patches of remaining stain.  Not pretty!  So, now down to work.

You will need: painters tape, primer, wood putty, paint and brushes.  Because I have a clumsy child I used BEHR porch and patio floor paint and non-skid floor finish additive.  I chose a color called Flat Top because I thought it seemed slightly Victorian and complimented my older home well.

Flat Top floor color by BEHR
Flat Top floor color by BEHR
  1. Tape post and begin work on stairs and molding.
  2. Prime stairs and tread.IMG_2491
  3. Use wood putty to fill cracks and gouges.  Don’t try to make perfect.  Let dry and sand where necessary.IMG_2490 IMG_2492
  4. Paint stairs.  Let dry and apply a second coat.  Remove tape when dry.  You’ll notice in later pics that I liked the color so much I opted to paint the wood on side of steps as well.IMG_2496

For the newel posts, etc. you will need: disposable gloves, old socks and stain.  I used General Finish gel stain in Java because during my research numerous people swore by it.  I had to order on Amazon and will have to say it was well worth it.

  1. Tape stairs and floor around posts and newel.
  2. Put on a glove, put sock over this and apply gel by dipping sock in gel and rubbing on to wood.  Let dry for 24-48 hours and apply second coat.IMG_2571
  3. Use a small art brush to touch up any mistake areas with appropriate paint or stain.

Et voila!!  Perfection.  I was so happy with the results that we put a new floor down in the foyer too.IMG_2889IMG_2892

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