Our house has this lovely orange-y colored wood throughout, courtesy of the original builder.
With everything else in the basement getting an update, these stair railings started to look downright AWFUL. Besides, they had taken a beating. For whatever reason, they looked rough in many spots. I always thought I would like to restain the railings (mostly upstairs), but it was always one of those "I'd like to do someday" kind of projects.
When I finally made the decision to take the leap with the basement stairs, I had a weekend to finish the project before the new carpet was to be installed. Eeps! There was no way I was getting stain, dust, paint or polyurethane near my new carpet.
Not the best photo, but the first thing we did was rip the carpet off the stairs. I have those runners going all the way up the stairwell on both sides and since they were already stained, I needed to sand and restain them. I thought about just painting them the same color as the trim, but we did a little trim paint switch in the basement.
The trim throughout my house is cream. Not my choice, but I wasn't about to replace every window's blinds because they're cream too. Anyway, when we started the basement projects, we originally went with the cream trim paint. In our basement (that gets no natural light) and up against our lovely new wall color, it just looked dingy. Yellow. Almost dirty.
So we broke the rules and went with bright off-the-shelf white semi-gloss paint for the trim. I'm so, so glad we did because it looks so much better in this space. The wainscoting on the stairs is our transition point between the trim colors. The wainscoting is all cream since it ties into the same wainscoting in the foyer.
I hoped and prayed I would find lovely wood stairs under that nasty old carpet, but no dice. :(
After ripping up the carpet, I taped off the existing wainscoting, and any places where the stain might meet paint.
The stain I chose was Rust-Oleum's Kona. It was one of the darkest stains I could find in stock at my Lowe's. Supposedly it's a one coat, dries in an hour stain. That was not my experience in the least. Remember when I said I only had a weekend to do this project start to finish? Yeah, that slow drying stain was problematic. I'm sure user error played a part since I normally love Rust-Oleum products.
Next up was to sand ALL of the finish off of the runners, railings and balusters. This step was annoying and took what felt like forever. I failed to take a photo since I was literally covered in dust from head to toe.
After the sanding was complete and I wiped everything down SEVERAL times (I just kept picking up more dust with each new swipe), it was time to stain!
The first coat on the first side :) Already looking much, much better. Ultimately, I had to do 3 coats of stain and 2 coats of polyurethane.
See how I left the balusters? My plan was to paint them white for some contrast. Even though it was (another) giant pain in the you-know-what, I'm so glad I made that choice.
Since I was under the gun, timing-wise, I didn't take any pictures of staining the runners or the railing, but I did those too. Blogger fail. :)
They were much easier to work with since I could just slap a bunch of stain on them without having to worry about tons of small nooks and crannies and if I got any stain on the stairs, it didn't matter. I also think I did a better job of sanding in those areas because the stain seemed to take much easier than on the rest of the railings.
After finishing the stain, I did two coats of wipe-on polyurethane. I will never use another kind of poly again. That stuff is ah-mazing.
Painting the balusters was a sloooow process, but in the end, it was worth it. I had to use a tiny craft brush to get in between the balusters and up against the stained parts. And, it took 3 coats.
But the finished product? Worth my entire weekend. :)
I am thrilled with the way the stairs turned out!
I love them and they look SO much better with the new wall color (new carpet helps too). I also have a hella sense of accomplishment since this is probably the only project in the basement that was truly my doing. With the exception of ripping the carpet off the stairs (Ryan took care of that one and the thousands of staples!), this was all me.
Start to finish. :)
And just a refresher...the old stairs...BLECH.
And the pretty new stairs, courtesy of me.
Have you tried a stair remodel/repaint/restain? I'd love to hear about your experience so I know what to change when I do the upstairs. Cause they're getting done at some point.
Stay tuned for the built-ins next! I'm linking up here: