I’ve been pushing this post ahead of me for so long because I’m not done with the project but I’ve mentioned it for so long that I feel now it’s necessary to address a post to it which is the reason I called it part 1. Also because it’s a million times better than before but I have encountered several issues which I want to address.
Last spring when I installed the bamboo upstairs (click HERE), the stairs started to stick out like a dirty thumb. I had re-carpeted them once already and the older the kids got the dirtier they managed to make the stairs look no matter how many times I cleaned them. They never listened to my rules about not taking food into their rooms and spilled so much stuff on the way. The occasional cat vomit on the stairs didn’t help either.
So after we returned from Germany I just had enough and just ripped the carpet, padding and staples off. The hubby helped too. There were so many staples. It was ridiculous!
Another big issue was the treads where the bamboo flooring had ended. The new tread was shorter than the old one and left a big gap which left me stumped for a while and I had no clue how to tackle it the best way.
I had to pry up the old top pieces with a crow bar and then add a piece of wood to the riser to make the new tread fit which represents my first big issue:
What to do when you get a different depth in stair treads and are left with a gap?
Here are the items I used for it:
Wood Glue, level, shims, wood screws and the appropriately sized piece of wood.
Below you can see the mess that was left behind. I had no clue how to fix the caps for a long time.
How to fix stair tread gaps:
After doing some research I decided to go with Abatron Wood Epoxy (click HERE) that you can use to fill and reshape rotted wood on door and window frames. You have to mix the two components (A and B) together. I used my hands but don’t forget gloves. You end up with a nice doe that you just spread into the holes and gaps with your hands and a spatular. After letting it dry the recommended time, it is sandable, paintable or stainable 😉
It worked out really great and was the perfect solution which you will see at the end of this story.
Lets get back to the ugly carpet. This is what mine looked like:
Lovely right? Look at those disgusting stains!
It felt so so good to throw this carpet in the garbage! It was liberating! Just rip the carpet off starting at one corner. removing the carpet is the easy part. The staples are another story.
I wish I’d have had my new staple removing tool (click HERE to see it) already. It certainly is a game changer but unfortunately I only used a screw driver and pliers for the job.
My dear hubby did help a lot with the sanding which was such a mess but we didn’t have to use any chemicals this way. I’m not happy with how many knots are in the pine which really does make it look like cheap wood. I don’t even think we can make them work. They are water stained as well. But even just in the raw sanded way the stairs look better than with the dirty carpet.
Patching a large amount of holes of all sizes
I did patch a lot of the holes with Wunderfil wood filler (click HERE). It’s become my favorite ever since my friend Cassie (of Primitive and Proper) recommended it. You can thin it with water which makes it so easy to spread and fill tiny staple holes. It also doesn’t shrink like other wood fillers.
Also so far I have fixed the molding, caulked it and primed everything.
For the molding I used a variety of molding from Lowes like quarter round and base molding, my electrical miter saw and a coping saw.
I spent many many hours with my iPad and Netflix working on these steps. That’s totally what I like doing. Am I the only one?
Look at this result so far! Doesn’t it look a million times better with only the primer?
I do have to end up using oil-based primer (because the water-based primer isn’t covering good enough) and also oil-based paint or stain. That job requires open windows though and I have to wait for warmer weather.
Or I could just use an overlay product like this one HERE or this one HERE on the stairs. The first product is made for rounded stair treads which mine are. I’m sure it’s expensive though. It would be lovely not having to paint because I don’t know what I’ll do with my cats and kids when the paint is drying.
I also found this product HERE which is vinyl though but looks like it might match perfectly. It’s a lot cheaper.
I also don’t know what color I should do. A grey-wash wash to match the bamboo flooring or maple to match the downstairs flooring. The overlay only comes in maple.
If I’d grey-wash the stairs, I’d hate to still see all the awful knots in the cheap pine.
What do you think?
The moral of this post is that you shouldn’t be afraid to rip off that filthy carpet because it will eventually look so much better. And I absolutely love just being able to take a dustpan and brush to clean the stairs. I’m also more relaxed because I don’t have to yell at the family members for carrying around drinks and food. I could care less now.
I have a feeling that the cheapo within me is going to win and when warmer weather is here, I’ll grab that paint bucket and paint a light grey to match the upstairs bamboo.
And what I will decide is going to be covered in part 2.
Thanks for reading.