Striped Stairway

Thank you to everyone who read my first blog post!  For my second post, I've decided to share a house project that Andrew and I completed at our home.  Here are some photos I used as my inspiration for our project:

(Sarah RichardsonBob and Cortney NovogratzTake the Side Street)

 Since we moved into our house 3 ½ years ago, Andrew and I have been on a constant cycle of working on our basement.  It went from being a place for storage, to housing a pool table, to selling the pool table so that we could rip up the old carpet and transform it into my office.  The transformation is still far from over, but we are making progress!

One step in the process was ripping up the old carpet on the stairs that lead to the basement.  Since these stairs see heavy traffic, both human and canine, we decided we did not want to replace the carpet - we wanted to try something different.   I talked Andrew into letting us paint the stairs!  Once he agreed, I started pinning things like crazy on Pinterest to find my inspiration.

Fortunately, when we decide to start a project, my husband is all-in and works incessantly until it is complete.  He got started so quickly, that he ripped up the carpet before I could take a picture.  The first ‘before’ shot I have is this:

Andrew spent quite a while pulling up many, many carpet staples and nails, and we were left with grey painted stairs.  While the treads themselves were in pretty good shape, there ended up being quite a few gaps that we had to decide how to fill and/or hide.  After many brainstorming conversations and two trips to Lowe’s, our solution was to use trim pieces in various sizes and some stair nosing (no, I did not know the official name for this piece before we started the project!).  Here are a few more ‘before’ photos:

Andrew cut and nailed and/or glued all of the trim pieces, and I sanded down some of the rough parts.  I also lightly sanded the treads and the risers ~ just enough to help the paint stick, but not enough to scuff them up.  Once all of that was done, it was time to paint!

I did research online and knew that we were going to need to do two things: 1. prime the stairs 2. use oil based paint.

So, I started with the primer ~ one coat of Oil based Benjamin Moore Fresh Start Fast Dry Primer in white.  (We bought a gallon, but a quart would have been plenty.)

Here, you can also see the next step which was the taping.  After letting the primer dry overnight (although, I now know that we really should have given it 2 or 3 days to ‘cure’), I started to tape the pattern I wanted.  I measured the width of the stairs and picked a size for the middle stripe that I thought looked wide enough (14”).  From there, I distributed the rest of space for the other stripes (starting with the outside: 5”, 2”, & 1”).  It was not easy to keep the lines of tape straight, but I was patient and took my time.

Once the tape was set, I was ready for the first coat of paint.  We picked our stair colors based on  the wall and trim colors we already have in the basement.  I started with the tan (Benjamin Moore Porch and Floor paint ~ Lady Finger, 1045), and applied two coats.  We are lucky to have a doorway at the bottom of the stairs – both for a way to exit the basement and for ventilation.  (I read where some people painted every other tread during this step of the process so that they would have a way to go up and down the stairs.)

Once the 2nd coat was done, but not dry, I removed the tape.  This is where I realized we should have let the primer cure longer before taping.  Some of the primer started to peel with the tape.  I found that if I removed the tape slowly and carefully, it would not pull the primer with it.

I let the tan cure for a few days and then I then taped again in order to apply the second color of paint (Benjamin Moore Porch and Floor paint ~ White).  I also applied two coats of the white – they tell you with oil based paint you normally don’t need two coats, but since this is a stairway, I liked the idea of having a little bit more paint on there.

This project was time consuming, thought provoking, and labor intensive, so when it came time to remove the tape for the last time, I could not have been more excited!  Here is the finished product of our Striped Stairs:

striped stairs

A view from the top of the stairs looking down:

While it was not the easiest project to tackle, it was definitely worth it.  The stairs do get dirty, but so did the carpet.  And, they are much easier to clean - with a broom and a Swiffer, than lugging the vacuum cleaner up and down the stairs to clean the old carpet.

I am extremely happy with the final outcome and I love the way they look!

º Would you paint the stairs in your house?  Have you painted stripes anywhere else? What inspiration are you finding on Pinterest?