Asked on Jan 04, 2015

DIY Stairs?

by Nar996500
We bought the home in May and the previous owners destroyed the carpet. Animal urine in the living room and stairs was the worst of it, so the carpet had to go. I started ripping out the carpet to get rid of the smell for now and this is what I found. The house was built in the 80's. We have hardwood every where else in the home and have discussed finishing the stairs to hardwood too. This is the condition of what is underneath.
Rip out treads and replace with unfinished to stain?
Is this current wood useable i.e. sand down, round the nose of the treads, etc etc?
I am researching codes and etc to make sure that we do not violate the building codes for our staircase. We have installed all of the flooring throughout the home ourselves, ripped down and put up new walls, etc, so we are not novice DIYers. Has anyone done this yourself?
  14 answers
  • Marion Nesbitt Marion Nesbitt on Jan 04, 2015
    Wouldn't worry about rounding the treads. Can't tell what kind of wood. Personally, I'd clean them up and experiment with a dark stain for the treads, and perhaps paint the risers..
  • Cindy Marks Cindy Marks on Jan 04, 2015
    Check on the Home Depot site they have several solutions for this particular problem. One solution would be Stairtek 1 in. x 11.5 in. x 36 in. Unfinished Builder Grade Red Oak Tread Model # BTROC1136 Internet # 202185480 you could stain this dark and then sand and prime the riser win kilz or bin (put a few coats on the knots) and then paint the riser white to match the spindles.
  • Nar996500 Nar996500 on Jan 04, 2015
    One tread is warped, another is cracked, so those two do need to be replaced. It looks like it is just 2x12s, maybe pine?
  • Claire M Claire M on Jan 04, 2015
    First, I would see if I could get some free quotes on this project and just see what they would suggest, and go from there, betting you and your husband could do this yourself given your experience. Probably will want to cover up this builder grade pine with flooring to match the rest of your home. Please let us know! :o)
  • Stephanie Murray Stephanie Murray on Jan 05, 2015
    Hi ,,, I had a problem like this and chose a flat weave office type carpet as its really quieter and safer in stairs than wood although wood does look good ,,, I chose a Kraft paper color which is fairly neutral and goes well with white and most colors ,,, its inexpensive to you can change it when it gets worn out ,,,,,, one day perhaps you can refinish your stairs as you want them but as you are new to your home this is an easy fix for the moment ,,,, but do not of course glue the carpet but nail it ,,,, best wishes Stephanie
  • Tammy Lagaly Tammy Lagaly on Jan 05, 2015
    I have had this problem and my solution was to sand down the wood. Stain the top with a dark stain , paint the risers white and add trim to fill in the "holes or cracks" that are between the stairs and the wall. They are drop dead gorgeous. I can send a photo if you would like. Not gonna lie, this took elbow grease and a little time, but I saved thousands by doing it myself and I couldn't be happier with the results.
  • Becca Becca on Jan 05, 2015
    Tammy, your stairs sound beautiful!!! I love stained and painted wood together. Could you post a picture?
  • Karen Knabe Karen Knabe on Jan 05, 2015
    I don't think the stair tread is warped, just worn a bit. You could reverse the tread by just lifting it and turning it over with the worn part now the underside and face towards the above riser. If you intend to just keep the wood stairs, you could add a trim to the outside of the stairs to fill the gap. And you could just purchase carpet to go over them again if you are keeping the above stairs carpeted. I think the crack mentioned elsewhere is merely the grain in the wood. If a contractor is building the stairs, and knows that carpeting is going over them, they may use pine, this looks like maple stair grade.
  • Paula Vogel Paula Vogel on Jan 05, 2015
    I am not sure I would round off the treads. That could be a fall hazard. Also that is the part of the steps that wears the fastest. Looks like good lumber and thick.
  • Nancy Jenkins Nancy Jenkins on Jan 05, 2015
    Looks better than what I found under the vinyl flooring and mine was built 1942.
  • Ronnie Ronnie on Jan 06, 2015
    Maybe stain the wood and then put old license plates on the part you don't step on. I have 8 old Wa state plates ~ now I wish I had stairs to put them on.
  • Karen Knabe Karen Knabe on Jan 06, 2015
    On this Hometalk site you can find a few painted risers ideas with a stained step, or just carpet on the tread and paint the riser. Something I saw in a magazine recently and I loved was the riser was painted to look like a book spine classic. They showed occasional gold stripes like a classic book spine would have, with the title painted in gold. Faux painting on the riser to look like leather then adding the gold lettering for the title, author, etc.
  • CK CK on Jan 06, 2015
    Since you mention some need repairs, that's your first step. After that, how they're finished is purely a personal choice I'd like to share what a contractor friend did to their 1906 house stairs. He cleaned them well and patched any large chips or damage. Then he used porch and floor paint on the treads. The risers were painted also in a different color using regular wall paint. He added some "sand-like" additive (purchased at the paint store) to help keep the steps from being too slippery. Unless the painted approach is not your style, it's a very easy way to go and when it needs a touch-up, it's very easy to repaint. Certainly you can stain and seal them (both risers and treads) but when they need touch-up then there's a little more to the process than merely repainting. It's a personal choice. Glad you got rid of the carpet. (I can't wait to get rid of our LR and stairway carpeting too!)
  • Nancy Jenkins Nancy Jenkins on Jan 07, 2015
    I am strip the old glue off stairs and wondering how stinky the stripper is if too cold to open window to air?
    • Marion Nesbitt Marion Nesbitt on Jan 08, 2015
      @Nancy Jenkins Don't know how well stripper will work with glue. Live in 100+ year old home and one set of stairs had been stained, painted a few times, and carpet glued down. I used a Dremel tool with the notched blade. Kind of shovelled it all up. All I need to do now is to sand.