Monday, July 30, 2012

Finished Staircase!!

Yay, we are so relieved that the stairs are finally done!! We did it ourselves!! No more cancer-causing fumes from oil-based products!! What a time-consuming project, though. All in all, we started on it two Sundays ago, which is when we ripped out the carpet, and we finished it today, which is the 15th day after we started. We worked on this every evening after work and all day on the weekends. So it was time-intensive. It wasn't that hard, I guess, it just was a process of trial and error. Here are other blog posts I've done about the stairs in progress: herehere, and here.

The stairwell paint color is Benjamin Moore Pismo Dunes, upstairs hallway is Benjamin Moore Manchester Tan

Here is the final result:

It should be noted that you need to number each tread and each riser (the bottom riser being #1, and so on and so forth) on the back, and also mark which is the bottom and top (only on the riser). Since our tread had an end cap, we knew which was the top and which was the bottom. But if you just used a bullnose tread, you wouldn't know which was the top, so you should label that. Of course, this numbering business only applies if you do the staining and painting prior to installing the treads and risers. We did it this way because it was easier.

Here's an example of how we labeled a riser:

Here is the brad nailer and air compressor we used so we could nail it all in.

I wanted the top stair to have a bullnose on it (even though we have carpet upstairs) so that it looked "finished." We figured out how to do that.

We just used another retrotread for the top stair nose piece. We cut the front end cap off of it to make this:

Here's hubby scoring the top flap of carpet. We wanted to cut the end cap off so it would line up with the back of the side moulding on the top step. You cut the carpet and carpet padding behind flush with the stair nose piece. You do not put the stair nose ON TOP OF the carpet.

Here's what it looked like after he cut it:

Then we cleaned the stair, and I nailed in the top riser:

Then I nailed in the top stair nose piece:

Then, as to how to deal with the carpet, you STAPLE the edge of each side of the carpet right outside the stair:

Then you staple a few inches BEHIND the edge of the carpet every few inches (you don't want the carpet to get flat or matted down at the top of the stair, you want it to look fluffy).

After I stapled it in, this is how it looked:

We were pretty satisfied with ourselves after that. Then I touched up the nail holes, repainted the skirt of the stairs since it had a lot of scuffs from installing the retrotreads, and caulked.

VOILA! This is the fruit of our hard work. (Beware picture overload!!!! If this is too many pics for you, you can just click off.)

Hope you enjoyed this project! Very exhausting, but worth it!!


  1. Thank you for your blog about the staircase. That's EXACTLY what I had in mind in remodeling my sister's house. Now that you've lived with the finished project for a while, I have one question. At the top of the stairs, are you happy with the shortened nose piece? Or do you wish you'd left an entire wood "step" at the top of the stairs? I'm trying to get my head around the best way to do that. Thank you.

    1. Thank you for your interest in my blog, and I'm glad it could be of help! Yes, we love the shortened nose piece. I love it because it is a nice transition from the carpeting at the top of the stairs to the stairs below it. From the bottom of the stairs, it looks complete having that nose piece there. Without it, it didn't look right. We have thought about putting wood floors upstairs, but right now, we've decided against it. We like the carpeting. Also, the dark wood stairs do show dirt easily, just like dark wood floors. If we do eventually put wood upstairs, we will not use dark wood because it does show dirt easily. Hope this helps!

  2. Hi! These treads came out beautiful. Could you tell me what kind of wood they are and what stain color/ overcoat you used?

    1. Jen, you can find the answer here:

  3. Hi, I'm looking at doing the exact same project and I came across your blog. Excellent and thank you! I actually have some questions on what power tools and kind of nailer I need. What would you recommend? If you where to redo, what would have been nice to have? Thank you very much. Your finished work looks amazing! Great job!