Saturday, September 7, 2013

Stairwell Redo

My basement stairwell was in desperate need of a redo. Because it's mostly hidden from view, I decided to go a little crazy with a black and purple color scheme. After all, you can only see the stairwell when you're standing in or at the top of it. :)

In their "before" state, the stairs were covered in 20-year-old carpet that showed every bit of its age.

The wood trim was an absolute mess. The countless layers of cracked, flaking paint could not hide the rough wood or the knots bleeding through.

With low expectations of what I'd find underneath, I went ahead and ripped up the carpet and padding. I discovered particleboard treads which had managed to collect many dings and dents over the years despite being covered with carpet. The risers were cheap wood. Both treads and risers were filled with staples which, of course, I had to pull out one by one.

The stairs are obviously meant to be covered, but I am not a fan of carpet. I decided that with enough prep work, a paint job would be good enough for rarely used basement stairs. After a lot of wood filling, scraping, sanding and caulking, I ended up with relatively smooth surfaces.

I primed and painted the trim, walls and treads. Though I prefer dark purples, I used a light purple because the stairwell is enclosed and not well lit, especially at the bottom. I like the combo of lilac and black.

It's usually suggested to paint treads in an every-other-stair fashion. That might work for smaller people, but I don't have the contortionist skills necessary to fold up my big body and perch on one step while painting the next step. It was much easier for me to paint the stairs in groups of two or three.

I experimented on the boring slab door, adding a black wood applique and panels of adhesive shelf paper trimmed with black molding.

Finally, I installed a dark walnut-look vinyl plank floor on the top and bottom landings.

For the "up" view, I covered the risers with adhesive shelf paper. (Sorry for the glare...the stairwell is too dark to take a picture without a flash.)

This picture better shows the black and white paper (and my photobombing dog). The paper is only 18" wide, but the print isn't directional, so I was able to cut it off the roll sideways. That way, I avoided having to piece the paper on the 33" risers.

I am very happy to have the last bit of carpet gone from my house. In my mind, 20-year-old carpet can't possibly be clean. The stairwell doesn't feel icky any more, and the stairs are much easier to use. The thick padding and carpet made each tread feel too small/short. The bare treads provide more room for my size 10 feet. :)

Total cost of this project was about $80. I spent $40 on flooring, $5 for a roll of shelf paper and $5 for a gallon of "oops" purple paint. I had primer and black paint on hand. The remaining $30 was spent on trim molding for the door, base molding for the new flooring, and replacement boards for the top plate which had been damaged by carpenter ants at some point in the past.