Our Step’s Redo

When we started our renovation, we were going to just replace the carpet on the steps with the carpet we were taking taking out of the family room or living room. They were still in good condition. We did that in our old house. We used the carpet from under the couches and other areas that did not get much wear, to replace the carpet on the stairs, which then still matched the carpet upstairs.
You could see Part 1 and Part 2 of our Main floor renovation. 
Here we started to remove the carpet.
We found that several of the steps had Liquid Nails and screws on them. We think it was an attempt to try and remove the squeaks. It didn’t work. You could also see there was a pile of dirt, it was so GROSS.
Once we removed the padding we found LOTS of staples.
We used a screwdriver to remove the staples that held the padding down.
We tried to remove the Liquid Nails with a scraper and hammer.
This was the worst step, which had the most screws in it.
This is what they looked like, not very pretty!
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To try and remove the paint on the steps we used this Citristrip. It is a safer stripper than the other strippers on the market. We bought it at Home Depot.
We brushed it on relatively thick, and let it sit for an hour or two. We stripped half of the steps at a time so we could still use the steps.
This is a picture of the stripper at work.
We then used a putty knife to scrap off the bulk of the softened paint.
We then used a green scrubby pad with water and Basic H in a bucket, and then wiped down the step with a dry rag.
This is what it looked like, after it was wiped down. It came off way easier that I thought, but we were still left with all these screws. Ugh!
Here are the steps half stripped.
This is the view looking down.
Some of the steps had ink stamps marks on them that needed to be sand off.
We used a Multi-tool to sand the steps to remove the ink. We bought this tool a few months ago and already have used it for several projects. We really like it!!!
Here we are sanding some of the remaining liquid nails.
This is the step with the most screws.
We drilled the screws in a little farther and then filled the holes with a Elmer’s wood filler, and let it dry. 
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This is where the crews were patched before we sanded the wood filler. The bottom of the picture shows the gap by the bottom step we put some shims in it to try and eliminate the squeaky steps, which only helped a little.
These are the screw holes that were filled and then sanded. Much better!
Here are the steps after the stain, before the polyurethane. Still not so good, but better than the carpet.
Here are the steps with the poly. and then we taped it off so we could paint the rest of the steps.
After we painted we removed the tape, shortly afterwards, so we could remove any paint that seeped under the tape.
While scraping the paint with a cloth and my fingernail, I scraped off some of the paint that was on the riser, which then needed to be touched up.
We put hardwood flooring on the landing.
After we put the hardwood floor on the landing there was this gap that we put quarter round on and caulked. Of course, I forgot to take a picture of it after it was done, and I don’t feel like doing it now.
Here is a picture of the corner round on the bottom gap. The top step is the step with the most screws and glue on it. It turned out not too bad.
This is a picture of the gap before, and all the patching.
Here are the bottom steps done.
These are the top half of the steps.
The steps are pine, the landing is oak, and the bottom step is plywood, but they all look good together. None of them are perfect, but we like them.
This is another picture of the steps before we stripped them.
My husband did an awesome job of cutting the hardwood flooring around the steps.
So what do you think?
Thank you for stopping by,
Parents of a Dozen


  1. That's a lot of work!! But so worth it! It's beautiful!!!

  2. wow...so much work but certainly worth it...they came out fabulous

  3. O I love them! So nice looking!

  4. Your steps look AMAZING! We are planning on doing this to ours as well. Thank you so much for posting all of the details on how you did yours! I am saving it to show my husband!

  5. It looks amazing!
    Great Job! and thank you for taking step by step pictures! Super helpful :)

  6. Wow, those stairs are beautiful! And such hard work....beautiful.

  7. Gorgeous!! You give me incentive.... lot of work though! Great job! Found you from Thrifty Decor Chick tweet!

  8. GREAT job!! so impressive! Can you imagine what that would of cost if you didn't do it yourself? I am still trying to finish up our stair project! very time consuming! but worth it!

  9. Wow what a transformation!! So glad you shared!!

  10. fantastic job and great instructions. you've inspired me to have a go at mine. what is over the stain to 'seal' the steps?

  11. Sarah,
    We used a quick dry floor finish. I don't remember the brand, but I know I bought it on clearance. So you may not beable to find the same thing.

  12. Wow, your stairs look amazing. I am so glad I read about your technique before starting mine because I was going to do every other step so they would still be usable during the project - I like your idea of doing half the stairs at a time. Thanks for posting about this! Your end result is really gorgeous!

  13. Gorgeous! Your hard work paid off. What type of flooring did you put down for the rest of the house? One of my dreams is wood flooring in our house. Do the stairs hold up well with kids & pets? Lovely. Great job!

  14. Wow, what a difference! All the work was totally worth it! I love your new steps!

    1. Thank you, I am so glad I went through the work. It is so much nicer!

  15. Would you mind sharing the name and brand of that tool you used for sanding? I am new to all this diy stuff, but would love to refinish our staircase, which is such an eye-sore. There are so many different types of electric sanders out there, that it's making me feel paralyzed.

    1. This tool is a multi-propose tool made by Sears Craftsman. It has come in handy for many projects. There are other brands out there also. Dremel makes some real nice ones also. These could be found at home centers. Let me know how they turn out.

  16. I am in the middle of this same project. Mine is extra tricky, as my spindles go straight into the steps, so I have to sane around the spindles. How did you get the landing to work out to be level? We are not sure how to get the landing to work. Thanks.

    1. When we took the carpet out, The landing had a 3/4 wood piece that around the edges that the spindles where attached to. So when we put the hard wood on the landing it matched up nicely, but the new bullnose (we took out the old one) left a gap under the bullnose and above the riser of the top step before the landing. We added a piece of trim (I think it was quarter round) to cover the gap. I am not sure what your landing looks like.. Good luck on the remainder of your project.

  17. I did this same project last summer. I had a bannister built because I did not have one. Also replaced the handrail. It was a tremendous amount of work, but worth it. Mine are very similar. Now I am moving and get to do it again. Thank goodness, there is no carpet on the stairs, they need to be sanded and restained and then polyied.

    1. I would not want to do this again, but I probably would. I love not having the carpet on the stairs. Good luck on the next time around.

  18. Do you recall the stain you use for this?

    1. The stain color was English Chestnut by Minwax.


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