Makeover Your Stairs . . . Urban Rustic Style

4 Materials
4 Days

When my client/friend showed me her staircase and asked my opinion on what colour it should be painted, I knew this staining technique that I had invented would look lovely in her home. She had already painted her doors and hand rail black so I knew this would complement that very well.

The stairs I began working on them.

I first had to remove all the stubborn staples left over from when she had ripped out the carpet that was there. Then, I sanded using heavy grit sanding paper pads on my Milwaukee rotary sander. Even with its high power, I had to put my weight into it as the paint that was on there had been there many years hidden under the carpet. It actually chewed up one pad per tread! Thankfully, for this technique, it didn't require that all the paint be sanded off.

The stairs after being sanded.

Now it was time for the fun (and easy) part . . . staining! Using my go-to brush for painting, the Wooster ShortCut Brush, I began painting on a coat of Saman One Step Stain & Varnish in the colour Ebony. I made sure to only paint in one direction, following the grain, and using a light hand. Going too heavy will remove what you've put down as you feather out your strokes.

This is after the first coat.

My client/friend even loved the look with just one coat! I left it to cure for 2 hours before applying the second coat. Again, I can't stress enough that using a light hand when applying is key.

After the second coat!

I did every other step so that she & her family could use the staircase while allowing the finished steps to cure. They left those finished stairs for 3 days and then began using them.

The finished stairs!

Here is the finished staircase! My client/friend and her family love them! As of now, two months have passed and they still look like the day they were finished. Her husband has occasionally worn his boots up the stairs and they have a large dog (large dog = heavy nails) and nary a mark!

P.S. They plan to install flooring on the main floors soon.

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Joanne Diamond

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

1 question
  • Natalie Knowles Weems
    on Dec 31, 2019

    Hi I lovehow theseLook. I have carpet on mine and have no idea what're'ya under there. How would you handle a staircase if it's not the best wood or regular treads?



    • Joanne Diamond
      on Jan 1, 2020

      These were carpeted and therefore full of staple holes and hammer dings, etc. That is the beauty of this technique in that it embraces imperfections and makes them look intentional.

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