Posts categorized "Stairs"

The Big Reveal

Voila!  The stairs are complete:


They were actually finished last Sunday, but last week didn't present time for a proper post.  After all the work we did to get these finished, they deserved a proper DIY reveal.


When we bought the house, the stairs were painted white, had a green runner and orangey-stained railings.  The post looked like a dog chewed it (because a dog chewed it) and the runner was 99% dirt.  It didn't suit our style and was pretty ugly.


We decided to pull off the carpet and to our surprise, they painted the stairs just enough to hide the runner.  And the runner was hiding a whole lot of junk like old glue and fuzz and dog hair and other stuff that is nightmare-inducing.  It was disgusting. 

So we decided to strip the stairs of all the peeling paint and disgusting stuff and repaint them.  Once I realized what a big job that would be, I gave myself 10 years to complete it.


We got it done in less than 2.

Old houses have a certain charm, which means that no corner is square, stuff has bumps and nicks and evidence that lots of people have lived here and without completely ripping things out and replacing them, they will always have some part of that left. 


So our stairs aren't perfectly smooth or even; but they are sturdy and straight. 


We decided to add trim to mask the not-so-perfect edges where the Bitter Chocolate meets the Natural Linen and I'm very pleased with the effect; it gives the treads a bit more heft and makes things look much straighter.


We had to use alkyd paint on the treads and at first the plan was to do the railings the same colour.  It was such a pain to work with, that I used the riser paint instead and while we were a bit unsure about the colour at first, we're used to it now and will live with it for a while. If it proves too difficult to keep clean, or we just don't like it, I'll get some latex paint in the brown colour and re-do them.  It will be a bit of a challenge because I'll need to take out a teeny artist brush to paint where the railing meets the walls or ceiling (which are the same colour as the risers so it was easy!), so there's another reason to love the railing I already have.

I'm so happy with how it turned out.  But at least right now I can say I will never tackle that job again.  Well at least not at this house.

Holiday Goals, Part 3: Almost Done Will Have To Do

I'm still being faithful to my exercise routine with the Wii Fit, and I haven't purchased any new yarn; so all is well with the first two goals.  As I hit Sunday night and start preparing for re-entry to work (waaaah!) I'm can also say I'm 95% complete on my last goal to finish painting our stairs.

If you want the history on this DIY project, check here.  We painted the treads and the risers this summer while the kids were at my mother's (it would have been impossible if they were home unless they camped in the main room), but never got to the side of the staircase which required much hole filling and fiddly painting, or the bannisters which we planned to sand and then paint.

Well, after a few days of work, all the paint is applied and all that's left is the trim to beef up the treads and to hide where the Natural Linen paint meets the Bitter Chocolate (both Benjamin Moore). I've chosen an obscured photo on purpose so I can do a proper "reveal" (to get all HGTV on you).  Those pink post-its are to cover the little spots I've touched up--alkyd paint is a bitch to work with, it takes forever to dry.


I'm also not completely convinced I like the colour of the railing.  I hated the orange-stained wood that was there before, and thought the lighter colour would look less stripey since it's the same colour as all the trim and ceilings--maybe it's because it's so clean.  Our other choice is the dark brown, but I plan to live with this for now and decide later.  It's only paint and about 5 hours of my time. 

Right now, I'm patting myself on the back for getting all this done.  All the trim is also painted, so it's over to Craig to get it put on--I don't do the compound mitre saw well.  All those angled cuts don't make any sense to me.  With any luck I'll have those before and after photos soon.

Blank Stair

Ever have a great idea that turns out not to be so great once you get started?  When it comes to those little home improvement great ideas, this is more often how it goes.  I blame all those shows on HGTV where every home project looks so easy on TV and is a black hole of time and money when real people start it.

My stairs are the perfect example.  They are a focal point in the home (a classic Toronto semi, now reno'ed to be the standard open concept layout).  They are solid and straight.  When we bought the house they were covered with a carpet runner that was pure dirt.  I suspect they weren't vacuumed ever.  I lived with the carpet for a few months and then one day while I was balancing the vacuum on the stairs (the rest of the house is hardwood, so the vacuum is rarely used.  Well that, and I don't measure my worth based on the appearance of my home) I just had it and told Craig to rip the damned carpet out.

Fifteen minutes and a whole lot of staples and dust later the carpet was outside and we got to see the stairs.

Ouch.  The plan all along was to paint them, but we hadn't counted on them being covered in many layers of old paint and some fuzzy hard stuff that was probably glue from some rubber type runner.  I suspect the renovator had tried to strip the stairs and stopped.  Wimp, I would get the stairs in paintable condition and they would look awesome.

I'm totally getting my ass kicked by these stairs.


I bought a heat stripper today and things are better than the previous manual removal with Fantastik and elbow grease, but this is gonna take a while. 


3 stripped, 12 to go.  Then sanding and painting.  Ouch.