Staircase Renovations - Renovation budgets can get smashed very easily. It doesn't take much. While you are planning that great kitchen, or living room, or front entrance, what thought have you had to the stairs?.

If you have a second floor and a staircase, that shows its ugly self, as soon as you open the door, what do you do?

You didn't allow much money for other parts of the house, and quite frankly didn't really think the stairs were that bad, until you renovated everything around them, and now they look tired, old and worn out. What a lunch bag let down.

Unless you have lots of money leftover, and can have the staircase upgraded, or ripped out, you are stuck being creative!

We are presently renovating a house built in 1972. The staircase is original, and not antique or well built by any means. It is not going anywhere, it is strong, but the railing goes all the way up the stairs and along a hallway. It is that wrought iron twisty metal railing that looks like it should have been on the front porch outside! It had been painted with the wrong type of paint along the way, and was coming off. They had also dripped the paint onto the wooden stair treads.

The treads were worn in the middle, and the risers were some kind of plywood that maybe had some white primer at one time. We couldn't afford to carpet the entire staircase, so we made the decision to have a runner created for the center of the stair treads and up the risers. The carpet store will measure it and then have the edges of the carpet runner bound for a nice finished edge. This is still much cheaper than a full carpet on the staircase.

This mean't that now, we would have about 8 - 10 inches of stair tread showing on either side of the runner. So, I sanded the edges to get off any traces of varnish. I had planned on staining the stair treads, but with the slightly different shades of aged wood, nicks and gouges, that would stand out with a dark stain on them, I opted for just clear varnish.

Once I had sanded the stair tread edges (no sense doing the whole tread if carpet was going down the center, might as well save some energy!) I used a tack cloth to get all the bits off, and then varnished the wood. It actually looked nice, once I had sanded off the paint spills and old varnish, even with nicks and gouges, it added character!

Staircase RenovationsCredit:


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if your treads don't look so good even after refinishing them then consider simply covering the part you step on with these bits of carpet.

After a couple of days of hardening, I put painters tape around the bottom of each metal spindle of the handrail. There were two spindles on each step. I then took some metal paint (tremclad) in a semi gloss black, and painted the twisty railing with a foam brush. It took me two hours, but what a difference it made. It actually looked good! Before it was spotty and dirty.

Next I painted the risers a nice cream color. The same as the trim in the rest of the house.

Once the runner was installed, this staircase looked clean, fresh and had a WOW factor, especially with the freshly painted black railing.

Sometimes you have no choice, but to work with what you have. Maybe one day, I will afford to have all that railing replaced, but right now it works with the house. It just looks cleaner, which makes a difference right there. The stair treads with the carpet runner and the gleaming edges looks good.

Another look that works, if you can't quite swing a carpet runner, is to get the carpet store to create just pieces of carpet bound at the edges just for the stair tread.

A friend of mine, wanted a really colorful look, and she got carpet sample books and tacked the samples to the stairs in all the different colors. The samples already had a bound edge, and it worked for her decor.

Staircase renovations can be hard, because you can easily spend hundreds or thousands on them, and not really see a lot. A railing can cost an enormous amount of money, so sometimes you have to decide where in your house your renovation dollars are going to go. If you can put up with the destruction of your staircase while renovating, and have some other way to get upstairs. (My friend once got stuck with no stairs, when she hired a contractor to replace them!) then go for it, but most of the time, it is best to renovate the staircase you have and spend your renovation dollars on the things you really want.