It was one of those days when I felt like if I don’t DIY, I will die! Our kitchen and family room renovation has been in full swing for 8 a.g.o.n.i.z.i.n.g long months (insane I know). The whole process has put any home projects of my own on the back burner. As I stood there staring at our overwhelmingly choatic mess, I tried to ignore the disgusting carpeted stairs off our kitchen which were now even more gross after all the construction dust and dirt. No more. This girl’s gotta get her DIY on to stay sane, so I grabbed a few tools and BAM!, went to work at ripping out the carpet and started doing what I’ve wanted to do for years, a Painted Staircase Makeover with Seagrass Stair Runner!
Shield your eyes. Here’s a shot of the carpeted stairs. YUCK. Thankfully these pics are a bit out of focus because the stains are horrible. I’m going to walk you though step by step how I gave the staircase a makeover. Let’s get started.
Painted Staircase Makeover with Seagrass Stair Runner Tutorial
Gather your supplies. For this project you will need the following tools (Amazon affliliate links provided for your shopping convenience):
- pry bar
- box cutter
- filter mask
- eye protection
- ear protection
- painter’s tape
- tape measure
- 100 grit sand paper
- Minwax Black Stain
- wood filler
- Rust-Oleum Bulls Eye 1-2-3 White Water-Based Interior/Exterior Primer Sealer
- paintable caulk
- caulk gun
- PORTER-CABLE Compressor
- PORTER-CABLE Finishing Gun & Staple Gun
- 1/2″ or 3/4″ staples for staple gun
- Finishing Plywood 7/32″ thick, 2×4′ sheets (available at HD or Lowes)
- Table saw or hand circular saw
- Semi-gloss White Paint
- Seagrass Stair Runner (I bought mine from Overstock.com)
- Hot glue gun
Step 1: Carefully remove the carpet & padding, using a box cutter where needed. You will be horrified at the amount of dirt hiding under the carpet. It was so bad I now want to remove all carpet from my home, so please wear your face mask if you have any allergies. Watch out for those staples! They are sharp! Use the pry bar and hammer to remove the carpet tack strips. This takes a lot of loud hammering (wear your ear protection). Use the pliers and/or pry bar to remove any and all carpet staples.
Step 2: Vacuum the step until completely clean. Once you have removed the carpet you will either be blessed to reveal real hardwood under your carpet or be cursed like me and reveal MDF treads and rough plywood risers. If you have MDF and plywood then you will need plan on covering up the plywood with a thin vaneer of finishing plywood.
Step 3: Pat yourself on your back. Now it’s time to measure what size stair runner you will need. Do not measure until you have all your carpet removed. Start at the top of your staircase and run one continuous strip of tape all the way down the staircase, making sure to go over and under each bullnose on the tread. Tear the tape when you get to the floor.
Grab a friend, kiddo, or hubby and carefully peel off the tape and walk it across your room and lay it on the floor. Now MEASURE. This tape measurement is the absolute minimum for the size runner you need to order. I ordered a 2’6″ x 16′ seagrass stair runner with black border from Overstock ($109).
Step 4: Our banisters were an ugly butterscotch stain and no longer matched the newly refinished floors in Weathered Oak. Sand and stain the railing and banister. Clean the banisters and railings well. Lightly sand all surfaces of the stair railings and banister with 100 grit sandpaper. Wipe clean and make sure they are free of dust. Paint on black stain. I used Minwax stain in Black satin. Follow directions on the can.
Step 5: Covering the stair risers. Cut the finishing plywood into strips that are the width and length of your stair risers. Nail them to the risers with a finishing nail gun. Fill any nail holes in both the plywood and MDF with wood filler, then lightly sand any grit away. Caulk ALL edges with paintable caulk and then prime the staircase treads and risers with quality primer.
Step 6: Paint Staircase with 2 coats of semi-gloss latex paint. It looks so nice and fresh I almost left it as is, but I know that with 4 kids, those white steps wouldn’t stay white for long.
Step 7: Time to install the seagrass runner! Woo hoo! Unroll the seagrass runner and allow it to sit flat overnight. Measure the width of the runner and take that measurement and center it on your staircase. For mine, I needed to maintain a 2.5″ space on either side of the seagrass runner.
Use painter’s tape to mark the exact perimeters of your stair runner. This is a very important step. If you do not do this, then the stair runner can easily get misaligned.
Step 8: (This step is where you could use a second person to help but I somehow managed by myself). Pull the hose of your air stapler all the way to the top of the steps and set it down. Next, pull up the seagrass rug to the very top step’s riser, center the rug between the tape lines and staple to secure. Start in the center and then work your way outward. Be sure to put enough initial staples in.
My seagrass rug has a thick basket weave pattern and was not super pliable, so forming it around each step took quite of bit of muscle power. Go ahead and skip your zumba class the day you install the rug… you’ll burn plenty of calories stapling the rug! 😉
I made a little graphic for you that shows the order of stapling which I found works best. The picture is just for illustration purposes.
IMPORTANT: Work on one step at a time then move down to the next.
- Bring the rug down over the bullnose to the lower step, pull firmly and place your first line of staples along the bottom edge of the riser ( yellow dots).
- Staple along the sides, into the riser, working from the bottom to upward. Make sure not to staple on the ribbon border or your staples will show. (orange dots)
- Staple the sides of the rug to the stair tread. (blue dots)
- (This step takes muscle!) Push the staple gun hard right under the bullnose and pull the trigger, making sure you are shooting into the riser NOT into the bullnose. I stapled every inch or so, working from one side to the other. (green dots)
- Staple along the top of the riser, near the edge but avoid hitting the bullnose. (red dots)
Step 9: Cut the bottom of the rug just above the shoe molding with very sharp scissors. Don’t staple all the way down the sides quite yet. Remove the ribbon edge from end of the scrap rug piece. Hot glue that ribbon onto the bottom of the stair rug. Now you can finish stapling.
Here is a closeup of the basketweave seagrass stair runner. The beauty of using seagrass is that staples are not visible! It was easy to hide them within the weave.
We are all so happy with how it turned out! Our home has 4 seagrass rugs in it. I appreciate seagrass because it is very durable and cleans up great. My sister once dropped an entire pan of lazagna onto our kitchen seagrass rug, sauce, cheese and all. You’d never know it today!
Our future plan is to put hardwood flooring upstairs but we’ll have to wait a bit, hence why you see the unfinished edge at the top of the landing.
The black stained stair railings, black ribbon edge and accents help keep the space from looking too casual, or light and washed out. And I love the contrast against the white painted staircase, the Comfort Gray (SW) walls and Weathered Oak stained floors.
So what do you think of my Painted Staircase Makeover with Seagrass Runner? I’d love to hear from you!