Time for Stair Makeover: Chapter Three. We have stair caps! And finished risers! I’m trying to keep it real with you guys – we don’t renovate our home full time (I wish!), and life gets in the way. I didn’t get as much done this weekend as I had hoped, but that’s ok. We have SOME progress, and that’s better than no progress.
You see that? That’s 13 steps of glorious stair caps. What’s funny is, each of them are a little bit bigger or smaller than their sister steps. Some are 36″ exactly, while others are 35.5″. It’s amazing how much a house settles in just 20 years. I can’t imagine what it’s like in an older home! Anyway, each of the stair caps are cut and placed. They aren’t glued down yet since we’ll do that as we finish each step.
Here’s a view of the two steps that we have finished – the landing and the first step below that. In the last part of this epic, we glued down the top step, but thanks to the fact that this is a floating floor, it needed a bit more stability. I used my handy dandy new nail gun to keep it in place.
One word of caution – go with the shorter nail if you’re working with pretty hard materials. I used a longer nail, thinking it would add more stability, but it just bent. I tested it out before, but I guess just got lucky on my test fires. The real deal bent like you wouldn’t believe. Not a fun thing to look at when you spent 30 mins cutting all the fun angles out of your transition piece. My plan is to sand it smooth and use a little stain to make it match.
Remember when I talked about how we didn’t want to cut off the front of each step? I was a little worried my solution of painting the exposed step would look tacky, but I’m happy to report it looks great. Above is the view if you bend down and REALLY look at it. I can barely tell. I’m so happy we found a time-saving solution that still looks great!
I mentioned earlier that we also finished up each of the risers. After cutting two with a jigsaw, which took WAY too long, we went to Home Depot and picked up a table saw. Guys…I’m mad at myself that I didn’t buy one sooner. It’s fun to use and I completed all the risers in about 20 minutes. There’s a bit of space on either side of the risers, but everything will get filled in with caulk and painted, so you won’t see any of that.
Ok, on to the next and most disappointing update: No runner for us. All those pretty Pinterest photos made me fall in love, but we just can’t afford a custom one, which is what we really need to do it right. It’s ok though, that’s one less piece of fabric for me to worry about either us, Tabby, or Emma to ruin! And we’ll save some money.
What’s funny is I dove DEEP into the internet trying to find a way to DIY it. I watched some shady Youtube videos on stair runner installation…you know those with no intros, cuts, and the audio is barely recognizable? Yeah, those. No luck though. It turns out that the carpet companies have to make custom runners for each space, which comes with a hefty fee. Anything can be done with money, but I have better places to spend it than a custom stair runner right now. Maybe someday in the future!
The last update to this project is a little bit of caulk. The walls aren’t square, like I mentioned earlier, and things are a little more than wavy in some places. But caulk fixes everything! I’m so excited to hopefully have this project done soon, so we can move on to installing the baseboards. It’s been almost 10 months since I’ve seen baseboard up here, and I’m ready to see it again!
Here’s a progress update!
Remove the carpet Remove the staples Paint the stair fronts Cut all the stair caps Cut all the new risers to the appropriate heights and widths
- Cut all the cove trim pieces to the appropriate widths
- Cut all the flooring pieces and install on each step
- Glue everything down
- Use nail gun to attach all the cove trim pieces
- Seal the edges with paintable caulk
- Paint the risers white
- Paint the side trim white
- Stain the handrail a darker brown to match the new flooring