Converting carpeted stairs to hardwood

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I feel like I’ve been a bit MIA this week. There has been a lot going on and a lot of good things in the works but this week I definitely struggled to balance it all. Here’s to hoping I get my act together next week 🙂

The exciting news is that I did get my carpet stairs converted to hard wood! This was by far my biggest project to date. Now, luckily for me, my stairs are fairly simple in that it is just the risers and treads, no banisters or newel posts to deal with. I was hoping that when I pulled up the carpet I would get lucky and discover original hardwood stairs but sadly, just nasty, paint-splattered plywood.

I am most certainly not an expert on this so all I can give you is advice from my experience.

Tip #1: Be ready to complete the entire staircase once you start, if possible. Once you start taking the staircase apart, you are going to have a big mess (and in my case, insulation) under you staircase and you won’t want to leave that open to rest of your house for too long.

Tip #2: Start at the bottom and work your way up, one step at a time. Start by removing the existing stair parts, risers and treads for the bottom 2 steps. Cut you new hardwood risers and treads to fit the space. Place the first and second riser using wood glue and nails. With the upper and lower risers in place, you can place you first tread in the same way. As you work your way up the stairs, you’ll lay the upper riser followed by the tread below it.

Tip #3: I used both wood glue and nails to secure my stairs and will counter-sink the nails, fill nail holes with wood filler and stain the wood later. Because I used glue and nails, the stairs were VERY secure right away. If you are not using nails and are just gluing your stairs, be prepared to not walk on them for at least 3 days. The most common reason to not use nails is if you paint you stair parts before installing them. I’ve come to learn that when installing anything, it’s going to get dirty and you’ll have to touch it up anyway, so better to save time and paint once you’ve installed.

Here are my photos in order of how my stair parts went in. I used Unfinished Oak Interior Stair Tread & Unfinished Oak Interior Stair Riser, both from Lowe’s.

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My first step was to remove the carpet, underlayment, treads & risers from the first two steps.

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Second, placed the 1st and 2nd risers.

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Third, place your first stair tread. Don’t mind Ella in the background, she’s just supervising my work 🙂 At this point I also removed the parts from the third step.

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You get the pattern at this point, right? 🙂

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Finished product! They turned out so well! Now to touch up the walls, and stain the steps 🙂 my plan is to have white risers and stain the treads the same color as the floors. I’ll be sure to post the completed photo once the painting is done!

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3 thoughts on “Converting carpeted stairs to hardwood

  1. Uh your Dad is totally impressed don’t think he would tackle that job, I know he wouldn’t he’d tell me to hire it done. GOOD JOB

  2. OMG Jamie! We’ve wanted to do that to our stairs, but the cost of the wood (actually bamboo) kind of makes it price prohibitive, not to mention the labor. I’m SO impressed you did this yourself! You are awesome!

    …Patti

    >

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