Stairs From Carpet to Wood

Carly McPherson
by Carly McPherson
11 Materials
4 Days

My husband and I recently tore the carpet from our stairs and painted the wood underneath creating a fresh, clean, and modern look! We did this project over a full weekend and two additional weeks nights following.

Stairs Before

This is our stairs before. The carpet was old and dirty giving the entry a very dark and dated feel. Our main goal was to rip off the carpet, see what wood was underneath, and create a brighter, more modern entry.

Pulling carpet up from stairs

To see what was under the carpet, we began to tear at a corner piece, using pliers for assistance. You can also see here a gap between the treads and the risers. This gap was too big for caulk, so we decided we will have to buy trim pieces to cover this.

Wood under carpet

We were pleased to find that we had pine wood under our carpet in great shape! The rest of the carpet easily pulled off in two long strips.

Removing staples and nails from wood

The longest and most tedious part of this project was removing all of the nails and staples from the wood. This alone took about 1/2 day.

Stairs after staples and nails removed

We initially wanted to stain the top of the wood and paint the risers white. However, the pine wood was so soft that removing the nails and staples left many big holes and indents in the wood. We filled these holes in with wood putty and rushed to Home Depot to get floor paint instead.

Priming the stairs

After the wood putty dried, we sanded down the wood. Then we primed the entire staircase using a quart of Kilz primer.

Painting the stairs

We painted the risers first in a white semi gloss stain resistant paint. After 3 coats of the white, we taped off the sides and painted the treads using a floor paint in dark brown. This took 3 coats.

After the final coat dried, we applied a coat of semi gloss polyurethane to the treads and applied the trim pieces to the back using wood glue for a finished look.

Stairs After

Voila! Our entry is much brighter and modern now with the old carpet gone! We also replaced the light fixture in the foyer to compliment our new stairs look.

Affordable Ways to Update Your Home

For more wallet-friendly ways to revitalize your home, check out our tips on 12 High-Impact Ways to Refresh Your Home on a Budget!

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Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
3 of 16 questions
  • Julia Julia on Jul 30, 2019

    Can you link to where you bought the new light fixture?

  • Amanda weaver Amanda weaver on Oct 01, 2020

    Where were the stair treads purchased

  • Patico Patico on Jul 01, 2021

    Where did you buy the ceiling light?

Join the conversation
2 of 57 comments
  • Dfe52002423 Dfe52002423 on Aug 09, 2021

    Did you have a gap between the stair and side of wall? We have one and can't decide what to do. We thought about caulk?

  • Patti Patti on Feb 10, 2024

    Looks beautiful but being almost 70, my husband almost 80, we’ll have to keep the carpeting on the stairs.