Removed Old Nasty Carpet From Stairs

The old carpet on my stairs was worn out and stained. It's time was up and it needed to go. I'd seen other projects of people painting their stairs, so this is what I did with mine.
Only tools I used for this job was a palm sander, a small nail gun, assorted pry bars/nail pullers, hammer, a putty knife, a coping saw, caulk gun, and a paint brush.
I hung painter's plastic sheeting at the top of the stairs, along the banister arches, and at the foot of the stairs to help control the dust from getting all over the house. This kept it confined to this area but I did have to wear a face mask, several as they got clogged, in order to breathe.
Underneath the old carpet was standard builder's grade pine stairs. These were not cut perfect, have nail holes, hammer dings, knot issues, and other assorted markings or imperfections all over them. They needed some love. I had originally hoped to strip them down and just stain them, but seeing all the issues made me decide on painting them as I needed to do some putty work to repair a busted out knothole and lots of large nail holes.
At the edge to the left which was covered with carpet, the gap was varied. I had to notch it a bit on most of the steps in order to slide the molding into place. It cut very quickly with a simple coping saw. The pine wood was easy to saw through.
Here you can see a dry fitting of the molding being fit into place in that notch. All the angles were simple 45 degrees. No complex compound miter cuts.
As I progressed up the stairs, I would use my small nail gun to nail each piece in place before measuring and cutting the next piece. A lot of cuts were slightly different from each other because of the imperfect placement of the original builder's grade stairs.
I added an extra bit of quarter round underneath each tread edge to give it just a little more finished touch. For my staircase, I have 15 steps, It took 4 1/4 tubes of paintable caulk to seal all the edges.
At the suggestion of the sales clerk at Sherwin Williams, I went with their Extra White Satin finish Porch & Floor Enamel. My son has asthma and I didn't want to risk an oil based paint triggering any breathing issues with him. I was pleasantly surprised with how low the smell was with this paint. I was expecting a lot more odor. I highly recommend it.
Here is how the stairs look all painted up with the first coat. I will put a second coat on.
I found these little tread carpets at Home Depot. They are 9 inches by 26 inches. I ordered 15 to put on for a decorative finish.
This is my test layout of the tread rugs, also to let them uncurl from the shipping box.
Looking at the tread rugs from the living room. This shows the original trim on the outside of the stairs that the builders placed.
This is the inside view of the right side of the step. I only had to put a bead of caulk to address this side.
The stairs are all finished. The tread rugs are nailed in place. I used a string line going from the top step to the bottom step to help me align the design with the center graphic.
My total cost for the entire project, including buying the nail gun to keep for future projects, was $327. What do you think?
Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon Site(s), as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.
Hometalk may collect a small share of sales from the links on this page. More info

Top Hometalk Projects

15 Cute Ways To Decorate Tin Cans Into Planters
How To: Make Hot Glue Placemats + More Crafts Ideas!
Transform Tuna Cans Into Gorgeous Lighting In 10 Simple Steps
31 Astounding Things You Didn't Know You Could Do With Contact Paper
These Stunning Seating Ideas Will Blow You Away
30 Great Mason Jar Ideas You Have To Try
3 Absolutely Adorable Ways To Display Your Plants

Have a question about this project?

3 of 48 questions
  • Andrea Macgillivray
    Andrea Macgillivray
    on Nov 7, 2019

    Hi I like your idea. I have old squeaky stairs in my House. How would I stop this so I can do your lovely design.



  • Sharon
    on Mar 9, 2020

    Hi, did your inside wall have stringers to begin with? My stairs do not and the edges are so ugly since removing the carpet. Nice job!

  • Cindy Patrice
    Cindy Patrice
    on Apr 2, 2021

    What an improvement, it looks fantastic! Is that black in the carpet? If so, have you considered painting the hand railings black? It would really coordinate the area and make it pop.

Join the conversation

2 of 304 comments
Your comment...