The Basement Stairs

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Beware: Lots of pictures of stairs to follow.  And they're all slightly yellow as there's no natural light in this part of the basement - sorry!

So, remember how we tiled the basement last summer?  Because of cat pee?  Ugh, don't remind me.

Well, before we really even started on the tiling process, we decided that we'd go ahead and rip the carpet off the stairs while we were at it.  So yeah, we started on these stairs last JULY and I just finished up the final touches this past weekend.  But you know, I did have a baby, so there's that.

Here's what they looked like before in all their cheap carpeted glory:

They were stained and just gross.  Plus they were actually kind of slippery.

Who would think this looks good?  Not me, that's for sure.  Oh and vacuuming stairs?  Fuhgeddaboutit.

Unlike some lucky duck bloggers out there, there weren't beautiful wooden treads and risers under the carpet.  There was thin, ugly plywood, which had to be ripped out and replaced.  I was dealing with morning sickness while the whole basement remodel was happening so I was really no help at all.  Steven did all the actual installation.  I helped paint the risers and did all the wall patching and paint touch-up after they were in.  

In addition to installing all new treads and risers, we had a landing to contend with at the top of the stairs.  We ordered a small amount of unfinished hardwood flooring (in the same width as our flooring upstairs), which Steven installed with his nail gun.

You know I had to get some action shots.

The risers in the above photo weren't actually installed yet - Steven had to measure each one and cut it individually, so he set them in place as he went.  We took them back off and painted them flat on the ground.  Much easier.  (Tip: If you're doing this at home, number the back of the risers to make for easy re-installation.)

The finished landing!

At this point, it was already looking much improved.

Oh, and if you ever have to order wooden treads from Lumber Liquidators that have one finished edge (the 4 treads at the bottom would have one edge that would show), then be prepared to wait.  Like, months.  Oh and when they finally do come in, don't expect a phone call.  Can you tell I'm still a little perturbed by that whole situation?  By the time we had all the treads installed, we ran out of steam and hired a handyman to do the staining and poly-ing.  I don't regret that one bit.

Now, after lots of patching, caulking and painting, the stairs are FINALLY finished.  Hallelujah!

I wasn't sure what to do with the sides of the exposed stairs, so we just installed some molding and called it a day.  It's not the best solution, but the fact that it's painted all white helps it blend in.  The drywall under there was in terrible shape.

I'm so proud of that piece of drywall under the door.  All of that was carpeted before, so the drywall and baseboard had to be installed.  While it's far from perfect, I think it looks pretty darn good for a couple of amateur DIYers.  The paint on the edge of the piece of wood under the door has been there since we moved in.  Maybe I should try to scrape it off?  Nah, I'm so done working in a dark stairwell.

From this angle, the stain looks way more red than the "wood" tiles in the basement, but it's really much closer in person.  Still not a perfect match, but they definitely don't clash.

So that's it - our new wooden stairs down to the basement!  Love.

And have I mentioned that cleaning hardwood stairs is 1,000 times easier than dragging a huge, heavy vacuum up them?  Well, it is.

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