Asked on Jan 17, 2012

I took old carpet off basement stairs and now I need advice badly!

Shirley G
by Shirley G
There is no overhang or whatever that is that is on the top of each stairs...tread? And, there is this ugly black stuff on most of the stairs....and, the second step from the bottom has a post or something that was cut out....there's also the ugly paneling on one side and it looks like something on the other....any advice for how to make this look better but with as little cost involved as possible? Thanks.
  24 answers
  • Jerrod W Jerrod W on Jan 17, 2012
    In my opinion, your best bet is to recarpet the stairs.. looks like you need to redo the basement.. wood panel wall thats painted over are from the mid 80s early 90s sorry no disrespect
  • Shirley G Shirley G on Jan 17, 2012
    No disrespect taken...I know what you mean....Our kitchen and entire basement are in bad need of a remodel....Husband is not a handyman and I attempt things before he So, in your opinion you think the wall should come down first? Put dry wall there or what? The entire basement has an outdated carpet is finished...was just trying to get stairway done first since the carpet was so bad on them. I really thought it would be nice to leave them without carpet but, didnt realize they were so bad until I pulled off all the old....(sigh)
  • Shirley G Shirley G on Jan 17, 2012
    Thanks for the answers, but I'm still hoping for more ideas. Please keep them coming....
  • Is the black stuff the glue/ adhesive left over from the carpet?
  • Renovation by Design Renovation by Design on Jan 17, 2012
    I would cut white mdf stair risers and use 1 hardwood stair nosing with hardwood for the treads
  • Shirley G Shirley G on Jan 17, 2012
    @Walls Treat Studio/Kass....Yes I think the black stuff is the glue/backing from the carpet that was on them.
  • Shirley G Shirley G on Jan 17, 2012
    I need a clarification about a response
  • Jerrod W Jerrod W on Jan 17, 2012
    If no carpet tack strips were present when you picked the carpet up. Then I would guess that it was glued down
  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Jan 17, 2012
    The "normal way" to dress up stairs is to lay hardwood "treads" and risers This process begins at the bottom with the first riser being installed. Then the first tread, this process repeats until your done.
  • Shirley G Shirley G on Jan 17, 2012
    Jerrod, there were carpet tacks that I pried out...this black stuff was still under it all...didnt seem to act as a glue but maybe at one time it was.
  • Shirley G Shirley G on Jan 17, 2012
    Thank you for your pics Beth B. My biggest dilemma still is...since none of my stairs seem to have an overhang (tread)? on them....each stair is shaped like a box, do I just pain them or try and buy treads for each? If I do buy treads, do I need risers? I'm pretty confused about how to tackle these stairs...Another problem is the paneling on both I tear that out before attempting the stairs??? I guess I can always just sand and repaint the they are and recarpet....leaving with no overhanging tread...the way they were in the first place.
  • I did a quick sketch for you on how to make these stairs look new again. First off. The black stuff on the riser is the foam backing left over from a carpet. Most likely an old indoor outdoor one. These come with a black foam padding that quite often sticks to the surface in which it was applied when it was first installed. In any case, simply scrape and clean it off. Before you begin to make any improvements to these steps you need to prep them properly for the new finishes to be applied. You need to be sure that the steps are properly secured. That the risers and the step treads that are currently there are tight and fastened well to each other. If not take your time and pre-drill holes in them and using a counter sink. Install new screws to assure that the treads will not move. Once that is done, you need to fix and paint the stringers. These are the long boards that run from the basement to the top on each side of the stairs. Scrape and paint them well. Use putty in holes and do a good job as it will be much harder to finish these once the next job is undertaken. Higher end laminate floors offer stair finish products. They provide risers, tread materials, bull nose trims. Bull nose is the rounded edge that your currently missing on these on site built steps. I provided a sketch in the photo of the side view of what your going to need to do to make the job look professional. The riser needs to go in first. If you notice it does not go from the top of the old tread it has a gap of just the correct thickness of the new stair tread your going to purchase. It is cut to length so it fits from side to side between the two stringers. It should come flush to the top of the older step. Carefully glue and finish nail this into place. Do this on every tread riser. You can use the flooring laminate as the same as the stair tread, or you can purchase pine boards and simply paint them. Once done you then install the stair treads. Carefully measure from the back of the step, under the existing new riser to the front of the new riser on the step below. You then fit the new laminate floor cutting the width of the very last board so it fits tight. The bull nose will overhang against the new riser while the step will slip under the the other riser. The sketch will show you what I mean. Using a good quality flooring adhesive glue the new steps into place. If you use a wood laminate you could use small finishing nails and then use a good quality matching putty to hide the nail holes. But the glue must be used so the new bull nose does not move or cause the new stair treads to squeak. Here is a link from lumber LIquidators on the several bull nose types they offer. Using a laminate type makes the surface overlay much thinner so it does not raise the step much more then 3/8 of in inch. This link below will show you in a bit more detail what I explained to you. perhaps even better.
    comment photo
  • Shirley G Shirley G on Jan 19, 2012
    Beth, love the look of the stairs that were painted and beadboard used! I am only wondering how they werent slippery after being painted with the oil paint? I really think me and my 12 yr old might try to do this with our stairs!!
  • Connie S Connie S on Jan 19, 2012
    Shirley, I love the natural wood. Lots of work but what if you sanded them down then clear coated them with PLAYBOX sand thrown into the clear coat. We did this with paint in a trailer and the non skid is great.
  • Shirley G Shirley G on Jan 19, 2012
    Connie....Do you have any pics of the final product done that way?? I've never heard of it...Also, what about the box shape of the stairs? Doesnt it need to have a tread with an overhang?? I think these are the rough construction that was left that way when the house was originally built...they just had an indoor/outdoor carpet over them.
  • That overhang is called a bullnoise and padding always sticks.
  • Shirley G Shirley G on Jan 23, 2012
    Beth...Love that look with that helpful link you posted above! That is the way we have decided to go and I will post pics once we're finished....right now we have a kitchen project underway too! ugh....older homes...they can become money pits!
  • Kiturah Humphrey Kiturah Humphrey on Mar 28, 2018

    I do think it needs something for the runner that hangs over the riser a bit, so a tread on top. While researching what to use, I'd paint the riser that you show. Lots of options on what and how to paint, but I would think of stencilling something after you did the background.

  • Terry Clark Terry Clark on Mar 28, 2018

    This will require elbow work! Using a painters stiff spatula/ painters scrapper, scrape all of the black material, put down your choice of nonslip material, i.e, textured paint.

  • Marina Marina on Apr 23, 2019

    Help I do too have the same problem!!!

  • Ajohnsonfamily Ajohnsonfamily on Apr 23, 2019

    I would sand down and re stain! The work would be so much more appreciated as tidious as it sounds! As for that ugly wood on panel I would make faux brick out of dry wall mud! Small space even better won’t take as long ( tutorials everywhere) when mud dry start by painting brick a base color and the contrast the other hues on brick.

  • Ajohnsonfamily Ajohnsonfamily on Apr 23, 2019

    Or you can sand down if any of that black stuff is higher than ur stair and paint dark stairs and the seal them ! Depending on how much work you want to put into them.

  • Jewels Jewels on Aug 28, 2020

    Did you attempt this? I have the same situation. If so, what was your final solution?

  • Vera Vera on Jan 05, 2022

    Hello, would it be possible for you to tell if you had asbestos under your carpet… we just took our carpet off and we have the same problem and I don’t know if the black stuff contains asbestos or not. Thank you