How To Remove Carpet from Stairs
Here’s a quick post recapping my carpet removal adventures before I forget the entire process. Let’s get right to the point, what you are actually after; the before and after.
Now that that’s over with, more detail. I’ve had my eye on this project for some time. The stairs are the heart of our home. In our little house, you can see the living room and the kitchen from the stairs, all while yelling up them to anyone who may be in the bedrooms. Plus it’s one of the dogs’ absolute favorite hang out spots so we spend a lot of time on them. And you can only imagine the amount of dog hair and dusts these stairs have accrued.
I’ve been wanting to rip of the carpet for ages and last Friday evening, I impulsively followed through after spending the ten minute car riding from a restaurant researching what other bloggers have done. One of the pieces of advice given was that if you have rounded caps on your stairs, you may actually have hardwood underneath and from memory, I thought we did. So when I arrived home, staple gun in hand just in case there was only plywood, I peeled back a piece of carpet with a pair of needle nose pliers.
See how the stairs have that rounded little lip on the tread? That’s how I knew there might be some sort of flooring under there instead of just plywood.
I continued pulling up the carpeting using some combination of the a razor blade to cut the carpet away from the way, the needle nose pliers to tug with to avoid staples, and a back of the hammer to pull the tacking up.
Some of the tacking was particularly stuck so I wedged a flat head screw driver under it and tapped with the hammer.
The bottom portion of the stairs were individually done but once I got to the top, it was all one piece so I started from the top and ripped all the way down. In total, it took about 4 hours to pull up all of the carpet from start to finish because I had to be extra specially careful about picking up all of the nails after each step because of the pups. I wasn’t sure how long this would take me so I removed almost all the nails in one fell swoop.
Remus, my trusty night guard and diy partner in crime, manned the project from his usual spot at the top of the stairs well into the night. Looking at the stairs, there is clearly over spray on the baseboard and on the stairs. Knowing I wanted to stain the steps, I picked up this stripper that a colleague at work recommended. It felt less toxic than any stripper I’ve used before and had a great citrus scent. Would absolutely recommend if you have pets or small children because I didn’t feel like I was gagging them with this product especially since Remus insists on sitting so close to the work zones.
I started my way at the bottom painting each stair with a cheap chip brush with a heavy hand and worked my way right to bed. It can be left on for 24 hours so I left it over night.
The next morning I scraped it off relatively easily and wiped up the remaining ashy coating with mineral spirits that I had lying around as recommended by the product label. I then started patching up the stairs with wood filler and began painting the backs of the stairs white after it dried.
I sanded by hand with a 300 and 800 grit. It’s just what I had on hand, there was no particular rhyme or reason. I am really glad though that I sanded by hand because there was a lot of staples that I missed. People aren’t joking when they say it feels like a million staples. Thankfully most of them were against the backs of the stairs and underneath the rounded part of the tread.
After painting the backs white, I repeated the process of painting my way up to the tops of the step only this time with stain. I used a thin coat and painted my way up around 9pm. It takes at least 6 hours for stain to dry to the touch which was fine because we didn’t come downstairs until around 6 am the next morning. This is the first look of the stain with no rubbing or smudging off.
I gave it a second coat, smudging this time and making my way to the top of the stairs for another night. The next morning I pulled out the caulk gun to touch up the edge. See the next two pictures from the difference between before caulk and after.
See how the edges are all filled in. Also notice how light the stairs are now after the smudging process. I am thinking of giving them another coat and leaving it but I actually quite like the patterns that have settled in here. Plus I am tired of dealing with the stairs. Later on this week I will go in and do more touch ups like to the wall where it meets the stairs but I want to wait to figure out what color I want to paint this hallway. What ever color I paint will wrap around the entire downstairs and the upstairs hallway because there’s no true break in the walls. So I want to choose wisely. In the mean time, I am just going to enjoy this “completed” project.