Staining Entryway Stairs: a DIY Alternative to Carpet

2:28 PM

I finished my stairs and I am in love. 

I finished staining my stairs, and I am in love. #DIY

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This has been a project a long time in the making, even though it didn't require much time or materials. What was the hold-up, you ask? Try planning a time where your family (+ two dogs) aren't using the stairs in a busy, split-level home. We use these stairs multiple times a day, to access our master bedroom, laundry room, and my art studio. These stairs see a LOT of use. 

We pulled the carpet off these stairs right away, because it was really stained from the adhesive used to hold other carpet treads on. It was like carpet inception on these things. So basically both sets have looked like this since we moved in - last July. 

Needless to say, it kinda drove me bonkers. But like I said, there never seemed like a great time to tackle this DIY project I'd dreamed of doing for so long. Finally, I made up my mind to do it and orchestrated a plan to tackle these stairs. I knew I was staining them and putting polyurethane on them. I knew they would be rustic looking - because I was not going to be buying expensive stair treads to go over this builder's grade wood. I knew I was painting the trim white, and I knew it would be difficult to keep everyone off of them while they dried. Time to dive in!

So here we are, after a bunch of sanding and a coat of stain on the backs. Feeling like progress is being made, I start to get really motivated. Yay! I love staining wood and seeing all the cool designs come out. It's SO FUN. It kind of made up for the fact that this project was absolute murder on my knees. 

Alright! Now the treads have a coat of stain. I did this part in the mid-morning, and the dogs had to use the stairs a couple times to go outside. UGH! But I made them wait until they were completely dry to the touch, and no harm befell my stain job. Time to tape off for the white trim. I mentioned that I love staining, but as much as I love staining, I HATE taping. It's imperative that it's done right, and that causes stress, which I am generally not a fan of. Moving on...

The finished trim, treads, and 2 coats of polyurethane on top. I applied the coats poly over two consecutive nights, putting it on each tread as I descended to the master bedroom to sleep. It needed quite a bit of time to dry, so that ensured no one walked on them for about 8 hours. I just tucked TJ in bed, everyone else went down the stairs, we put a baby gate up to keep the dogs off, and I strapped headphones on and went to work.

After all the poly was dry, they were done! Some accessorizing to dress them up brings out the rustic value and the character of the wood. Even 1970's builder's grade wood has character, I promise! This staircase DIY project is one of my favorites in the house. Side note: how awesome does this rug go with the door paint? I adore this paint color, and it looks just as inviting from the exterior of the house

A lot of people doubted that my design plan on this. Staining these stairs instead of using carpet or expensive treads was just a no-brainer to me. It only took a couple of days and was cheap to do. Later on, if I change my mind, maybe they will get redone. But for right now, they look amazingly charming, and I love them. 

Stay tuned for more updates on our 70's split level home!

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