Thursday, July 21, 2011

Today's Project

Meet my stairs.  They are steep and narrow and very unattractive.  If they were looking for a date, no one would be interested and they'd wind up an old maid.  They are made of wood that was never meant to be seen and have spent the majority of their time on this planet covered by hideous gray/green carpet.  In fact, this whole house was covered in gray/green carpet with matching gray/green paint.  Funeral home decor.  And I've been working for the past four years to get rid of it all. 

The walls have all been painted at least once and sometimes twice in the search for colors and finishes that will work in this house.  The upstairs hall and staircase have stymied me though.  The hall has been Crescent Moon (kind of yellowy), Cloud Nine (blue), and Lemon Mint (a bright yellow green).  None of those colors worked.  The paint in the hall and in the stairway need to be light and to brighten up both those areas which have no natural light.  I've been studying the staircase ever since Darling Man pulled up the carpet in a fit of "god I hate this carpet" and we discovered a wood stair case underneath.

You may remember this post when we originally started exploring options for dealing with the staircase.

We pulled up the top tread to see what was under the stairs and decided to decorate under the stairs with art to be found far in the future.  I'm happy to report that it's still there and is none the worse for wear.

But the treads of this staircase aren't faring well.  They need to be stained or treated somehow.  The steps also made lots of noise.  It's one thing when a clumpy near-teen stomps up the stairs - you expect that noise.  But when thunder herds of elephants sound a lot like your little cat coming upstairs too?  Obviously something needed to be done.

So I set about looking at the problem again and decided on a course of action.  As far as cosmetics go, I decided to paint the risers to brighten up the staircase.  The same color will go on the walls.  It's called Lotus Flower and is a very light greeny white.  I think it will look good.  And the treads?  Thinking a stain, not too dark, with polyethelyne in it.  I would pull up the treads, paint the risers, sand the treads and re-install before staining.

Sounds simple, but like always, complications arose.  I don't know if you can see it, but the tread is split.  It doesn't go all the way across, but it's probably a matter of time.  I'm not sure it can be fixed, so I decided to take it to Lowe's to see about getting a replacement.  Easier said than done. 

This tread doesn't match ANY known ready cut of wood.  The measurements are all strange.  It's 1.5 inches thick (wood comes in 1 inch and 2 inches, but not 1.5 inches).  It's 37 inches long, and 11 inches deep (comes in 8, 10, and 12 inches).  I asked about getting a custom cut, but was told that I'd need to go to a lumber company or sawmill for something like that.  I did (and still am) consider getting a 1" thick and 10" deep board.  There's a little overhang to our stairs, so maybe I could eliminate that and make 10" work.  There's also a space under each riser that looks like the edge of the tread should fit into, but with 1.5 inches of thickness, it won't happen.   I think 1" would work, but I'm hestitant to commit because it's got to be strong and sturdy.  I called my Uncle Tom and he thought we could probably fix that tread (he's got lots of woodworking machinery) but that would be down the road a bit.  Still thinking about this one.

In the meantime, I hd to get all those gaps covered, so I re-installed the treads for the time being, and started the painting process.  Even though the paint I chose had primer built in, it took two coats of paint.

I think it turned out pretty well!  Can't wait to see how well it lightens up the hallway and staircase's glum atmostphere.

Tomorrow, I paint the hall!


lisaschaos said...

Looks great! We used oak treads when we built our house, then melamine on the risers to give the white - easy clean up too, :)

Pamela said...

very tidy looking!
(my WV is burbs. Just seemed so appropriate

Sandy said...

Looks great! Definitely much brighter!

SwampAngel65 said...

Looking good!

Knock knock - it's cancer! said...

Oh my word, what a difference, it's night and day.

I love how bright it looks now.

well done :)

Anonymous said...


Wow, that looks great!