When I began this project there were 3 things I didn’t know. 1.) That it would take forever. 2.) That there was so much more to it than just removing some carpet. 3.) That it would be the biggest transformation I have ever accomplished. Not only did I end up with a refinished staircase, I ended up with a totally transformed space that has added value to our home.
When the carpet was removed I was totally elated to find oak hardwood steps and risers in very good condition. I wasn’t so lucky with the walls under the wallpaper. The drywall was a mess…I’ll get to that later though. Steps first.
Here they are before we started the refinishing process. Really not bad at all.
The first thing we did was sand and fill in the holes. After that the stain was applied and then 3 coats of poly. We opted to apply the finish on all the steps at the same time and get the process over with. The other option was to do every other stair over 2 days. (The day the poly was applied we slept downstairs.) Here they are stained, sealed and risers painted.
1. Tape off the treads.
2. Caulk the gaps all around the risers. Remove the tape and let caulk dry overnight.
3. Tape off treads again. I tried leaving the tape from the caulk step on for the painting step but it didn’t work. The caulk came off with the tape. Thankfully I started with just the top 2 steps so I was able to re-think my process before painting all the risers.
4. With fresh tape I primed the risers followed by 2 coats of paint.
With the steps finished we moved on to the walls. We applied a skim coat before priming and painting 2 coats of Sherwin Williams Upward. Here is a great tutorial on skim coating. I really think it was the most important step in the painting process. Wallpaper can hide a multitude of sins…paint not so much. After sweating it out refinishing the steps I didn’t want to go only halfway on the walls. It took longer and was no fun (honestly it was awful) but in the end I am so glad we did it.
I replaced all the brass hinges, door knobs, switchplates and lights with new Oil Rubbed Bronze fixtures. I got all the hinges on eBay for much, much less than I could find at my home improvement stores. I started buying all the new fixtures right after Christmas and was able to spread it out over several months. It was so much easier than spending a big chunk of change all at once.
The only hinges I didn’t change were the ones on the front door. I taped them off, primed and then painted them with some ORB spray paint. I just sprayed the paint into a throw away bowl and used a little brush. They look great and you would never know they were once brass!
The last step was to re-hang the gallery wall pictures. I waited a long time to do this. The walls turned out so good that I had a hard time pounding nails in them! But hang the pictures I did and now I love it.
Hang the picture on the screw and figure out your placement. Gently push the screw into the wall. Use the little indentation in the wall as your marker for the nail. Works like a charm. I hung all these pictures in just over an hour and that included figuring out the placement first.
This project wasn’t quick or easy. There were times when I wondered if I was nuts to even be attempting it. I can truly say now that it was worth every sore muscle, every tear (yes, there were a few) and all the mess and confusion.
I love my entry. I’m proud of the way it turned out and I added value to my home. If you would like to see the whole project just click HERE.
To learn more about my stairway gallery wall just click the picture below.