Stairway to Heaven

Finally I’m catching up on the basement.

Spoiler alert- we’re finished and moved in.

One thing I did want to take special time to do was discuss my farmhouse stairs.


In the beginning, there was tile carpet. This picture is after the walls had been painted moments before I started ripping up carpet. It didn’t take me that long once I got started. It was, of course, exhausting. The biggest aid to me while working on tearing up the floor was a set of vice grips. I was able to snatch on to the carpet and the finest of edges without slipping off once I started pulling. Probably not the most official tool but it totally worked.



If I ever have second thoughts about doing this to a future set of stairs, this step would be the reason. Yea that carpet is off. Hard part is over, right? Wrong. Sooooooo wrong.


The amount of shitty shit adhesive that was all over these stairs was shit. Mother of God.


I spent a stupid amount of time spraying high power Goo-Off, scraping away, and breaking my back. I went to town on these bad boys. This was absolutely, without a doubt the most difficult part. In hind sight (the twenty-twenty bitch) a serious chemical other than Goo-Off may have made my job significantly easier. Patience too. I should really have let the Goo-Off sit and eat away and the adhesive. Instead, I waited the minimum time on the label and started fighting it.



Finally, after a long and full days work, I cleaned the stairs. After wrestling with the shitty, sticky, shit I gave the stairs a good scrubbing. Up until now this has only taken once day. After scrubbing the stairs for surgery I stepped away for the evening. I was tired, feeling defeat, and sometimes you need to just step away.

The next morning, after a few touch ups, I was ready to sand. You can see in the previous pictures the last shitty contractors that were used did a shit job (seeing a theme here?) of keeping paint off the soon-to-be beautiful steps. Recognizing I needed a sander we borrowed one from a friend. I’d never used one before but after a few practice rounds in the garage, without it being turned on, and without wood, I was ready.

I made a few rookie mistakes with my form but I’m mostly confident if you didn’t know to look for the fuck-ups, you wouldn’t notice them.

After the sanding and a good wipe down, I was finally ready to start staining. *Happy dance*



It didn’t take much to find a stain that perfectly matched the floors we had picked out. The name of the color escapes me and it’s obviously too much to go into the garage and look so… sorry. Armed with my mask and stain soaked cloth, I stained the hell out of the steps. One coat was perfect. I was nervous that my application mistakes may show through with just one coat but two coats of the stain would have been too dark. I tell myself I’m just adding to the whole farmhouse look, one mistake at a time.



After 24 hours (or whatever the recommended fuck off waiting time is) we lightly sanded and prepared the surface for the final coat. Satin was the finish that was decided, so as not to clash with the low shine of the floors. 3 coats and about 4 days later of yelling at people not to use the stairs, the stain was beautiful.


Look at that magnificent, dark grain.


I had to play with the flash a little bit. As per the tradition of taking pictures of your work it was hard to get the right lighting that did the stain justice. Nothing really does. Honest. Not just because my blood, sweat, and tears went into it.

Final and most annoying but easiest part was taping off the surrounding area to paint a fresh coat of white on the risers. Another afternoons worth of work.



As annoying and time consuming as the whole process was, stepping back and seeing the finished project made everything totally worth it and even gave me in-the-moment Alzheimer’s. What’s that, you ask? It’s when you hate something throughout the entire process, a half marathon for example, but the minute you finish you’re numb to the pain and hatred you felt and you’re ready to do it again. Only to be reminded the next time.






I made my own runner out of some runner’s from Target. It ended up taking 3 runners to cover the stairs but it looks pretty great and nicely brings in the theme. It’s filthy right now (3 dogs) so I’m not posting a picture until I clean it it gets clean. 🙂

Thanks for reading!




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