Before and After Smaller


One of the first thing we did when we moved into the new house was replace the carpet in the bedrooms and living room. This left old carpet in the upstairs hall, down the stairs and in the dining room. The carpet was a thick, gold shag-like rug. While it was clean and quite soft, it was 40 years old. Our intention was to leave it in those areas until we knew what we wanted to replace it with, and that we had the budget to do so.

Our plans were changed when I came down with a recurrent sinus infection. My doctor did a great job of controlling them but was worried about the cause. After going over just about everything in my life with a fine tooth comb, she felt that the old carpet in these areas of the house should go. I wasn’t about to argue with her, I was tired of the infections and was willing to do anything to get rid of them.

We started on the stairs, because they were closer to the door and we had to start somewhere. I pulled back the carpet on the bottom tread to see what I would be dealing with.We totally lucked out, the treads and risers were pine and were in decent condition.IMG 0428

With this info, I was ready to make a plan. I start every project with a plan list. I always try to have a plan A, B & C before I have to call in a professional (plan D).


Plan List with Budget:

  1. Remove carpet, sand, repair, stain and poly stair treads. Paint risers with paint. Budget for this plan $200. Half of the budget was for rubbish removal, which is so expensive in the Northeast.
  2. The above step, then replace any damaged pine stair treads with new unfinished treads from box store and follow step one. Budget for this plan is increased by $10 a stair tread requiring replacement.
  3. Remove carpet, sand, repair and paint stair treads a glossy black (if there were paint or other reasons why I wouldn't be able to stain the treads). Paint risers with paint. Budget increases about $40 total. the cost Benjamin Moore floor paint.
  4. Call in a Professional to install new hardwood stair treads, paint the risers. Budget for this plan is $100 per step, $1350 for the job.


Prep Steps:

  • I bought a heavy duty respirator and grabbed some of the hubby’s old clothes and made myself a hazmat suit.
  • I put up a plastic curtain between the stairs and the rest of the house and used a box cutter to score the carpet at the base of each step to make it easier to rip out. 
  • I propped open the front door and used a box fan to create some airflow out of the house.
  • I bought a pine riser (the kind that were in my staircase) at the home depot. I took it to their paint counter with a roll of tape and the guys there put samples of the stains I was interested in us
    g on the riser (I labeled them with tape). I then took it home to see what the staincolors looked like in the environment where I would be using them and chose one.


  • Finally, I tore out all of the old carpet and left it outside for by rubbish removal guy. The carpet wasn't too bad but the padding was a horrible mess, It almost turned to dust when I moved it. I wish I had taken a picture of the stairs naked, they looked horrible. It was about this time that I got sick to my stomach with the mess of the house that I had made and wondered what I had just done.

The next day I was outside and passed by the pile of carpet and padding mess that was waiting for the rubbish man. I bent over to pick a weed and scratched my arm against the pile by accident. Moments later my arm looked like this.

IMG 0902


I guess we found the source of my allergies and sinsus infections. Believe it or not, I felt so much better after this happened. It allowed me to see that all this work was necessary and worth while.  Now I needed to finish this job.

To see where we went from here, read our next blog entry here: Stair Case DIY Makeover - Article 2 of 2