Pulled up the carpet on stairs...now what to do?

My hubby pulled up the 70's carpet on the stairs and found beautiful boards there. Now what to do? I know there are oodles of staple holes and larger holes from the nails holding down the nail strips. Do I just use regular wood putty and will it hold a stain if I decide to stain them?
Before pulling carpet
Before taking up the foam underlay
All pulled and I washed them down with Fels Naptha soap and water. Love the look of the fresh wood. Just don't want to fall down the stairs if I stain them. Is there a special product so I won't slip on them?
  17 answers
  • Z Z on Jul 22, 2014
    WOW! What a wonderful surprise Shirley. I bet you were both thrilled when you saw that! I would check HoDe or Ls for a pre-colored wood filler to match the current stain. If you do need to refinish them then I recommend using a stainable wood filler. I like the one by Elmer's. You can get it at the above mentioned stores too. Here's what it looks like....http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51TtAfjbmsL._SY300_.jpg You can also buy a colored crayon for filling in small holes, but believe me, it's more work than you need to do. Colored wood filler is much easier, even if you do have to wait for it to dry and sometimes go over it in case of shrinkage.
  • Jim L Jim L on Jul 22, 2014
    What color are the rest of the floors in your house? How about the rest of the trim? The steps should match the floors and the risers match the rest of the trim. If you are concerned about slipping, you could do a runner down the middle of the steps.
  • Shirley Kalinosky Shirley Kalinosky on Jul 22, 2014
    The floors are just lighter than the stairs. I love the idea of the matchable wood filler. At least it is a 'sitting down job'. lol I still have to inquire about non-slipping on the tops of steps. Great ideas. Thanks
  • Joy Derouen Joy Derouen on Jul 22, 2014
    Go with the matachable wood filler. You can also buy these at Lowes. My stairs just had a clear coat on them and after 30 yrs we stripped them and just put another clear coat on them. They are made out of 150 cypress. We have never worried about slipping down them. Good luck would like to see what the final results are.
  • Erica Silver Erica Silver on Jul 22, 2014
    Personally I really like hand painted stair risers. You could leave the steps as is and paint the risers to match your decor. Just a thought, good luck!
    • Rose Clark Rose Clark on Jul 08, 2017

      I love it I am thinking about taking up my carpet on my stair Thanks

  • Colleen Colleen on Jul 22, 2014
    Beautiful find. Pulling out staples and nails will take a little time but worth it. I agree check with the experts at HoDe or L's or your local paint store for the best approach.As for slipping, hang a handrail on the wall, if you do slip, theres something to hold onto.
  • Valerie Valerie on Jul 24, 2014
    They are beautiful as is! Talk about an ugly duckling turning into a swan - you must be absolutely thrilled! If you are concerned about slipping, could you not add a simple banister to the wall?
  • Shirley Kalinosky Shirley Kalinosky on Jul 24, 2014
    After we finish all the painting, we will be getting a banister for the wall and one for the basement stairs too. We have to replace a lot of trim, baseboards, screen door for porch and anything else to large for a little Camry to hold will be delivered in one fell swoop by the Lowes truck so only one delivery fee. Someone on my FB page sent me info on a product at Walmart that has initials--AMC (?) you spray it on the steps after they are stained and it adds grip to them? Not sue, but have to check that out too. Thanks to all for the help. I will post again when I decide what to do and after I've done it.
  • Shirley Kalinosky Shirley Kalinosky on Aug 21, 2014
    Went to HoDe yesterday and asked about the stain. Guy there suggested that I get a gallon of heavy-duty stain for the wear on the stairs. I thought he was just trying to sell a product. I am checking around on here and the Google to find out was is recommended for a non-slip stair. Maybe even something like a deck stain. Don't know yet, but I am looking and gathering info.
  • Judy H Judy H on Aug 21, 2014
    For anyone thinking of doing this--always stain first--filling the holes is the worst. Look for already-colored putty, too.
  • Shirley Kalinosky Shirley Kalinosky on Aug 25, 2014
    What color do you think the stairs are? I think pecan. Hubby has no sense of color or shades. Any comments and advise on what kind of stain to use?
  • CK CK on Aug 28, 2014
    I've slipped down more carpeted steps than bare wood. Maybe it's just me.... hee hee! Oh what beautiful stairs! Depending on how particular you are, maybe you can just leave them in that gorgeously "just cleaned" look and call it good. My sister pulled up the carpet on their hardwood floors and stairs. Left it pretty much 'as is' after a good cleaning because that way if a scratch happened it just added to the allure that was in line with their style. Of course if you can use a colored filler for the holes, that would be good if they're really obnoxious. How nice to find these under the carpet :-)
  • Michelle Michelle on Aug 30, 2014
    there are some great vinyl decals out there, why not create a quote or such on the risers, and leave the stairs as it
  • Darla Darla on Aug 30, 2014
    Bare or varnished wood stairs are not slippery unless you wax them. We haven't had a problem with them yet. You should still have a railing on the wall, though.
  • Shirley Kalinosky Shirley Kalinosky on Aug 31, 2014
    Thanks for the answers, but I'm still hoping for more ideas.
  • Cindy Carmichael Cindy Carmichael on Sep 27, 2016
    Pinterest has some great ideas
  • Judy H Judy H on Sep 28, 2016
    Sand and stain FIRST then use colored wood putty to fill holes, then lightly sand and maybe stain again, if needed. Some putty takes stain; some doesn't. Suggest you try it on a spare board, let dry and do "fill first" and "stain first" and see what works best. There used to be a filler on the market that was "inorganic" and it WOULD NOT take stain or fully sand down so every hole showed big time. (Ruined my project, too!) Some products today work nicely. When all done, finish the stairs. Water-based floor finishes are quicker so stairs are not in-op for DAYS. Oil base is longer lasting but IF you need the stairs or IF you are in a humid period like us here/now it will not dry quickly and you will be stuck without your upstairs.