This is Part II of our staircase makeover!
I put a lot of work into removing old carpet from our stairs, and preparing and sanding the stairs, risers, and stringers.
Read DIY Staircase Makeover Part I: Removing Old Carpet
And DIY Staircase Makeover Part III: Painting the Stairs
The next step was to work on the railings. This was a very tedious job. We hated the old, dark stain, and the railings were also in rough shape. The wood was scratched, dented, and worn, and the previous owners had Great Danes that you could tell had scratched everything up.
All of this project had to be done in stages, since we need to use our stairs to get upstairs to our bedrooms. We have two kids and two cats, so I couldn’t just remove major portions of the railings.
~ a mask (for during sanding and painting)
~ sander and sandpaper
~ scraper (I used a paint scraper tool to remove excess stain)
~ wood filler for repairs
~ small paint rollers and handle
~ primer (such as Zinsser BIN Shellac Base Primer)
~ finish paint (I used a white paint)
~ a good surface to work on, and/or sawhorses for propping painted pieces
So for the before shot:
To start the railing redo, I removed every other balusters on the main part of the stairs, as well as a bunch of the lower balusters. Each individual piece was sanded so that primer and paint would stick. (In some spots where stain had been put on very thick, I scraped off thick areas and drip lines with a paint scraper).
The builder had done a sloppy job screwing in the balusters, so I wrote a number in small print on the back, so I would know where to put it back (otherwise the screw holes would not align).
Then, each was primed and painted, and I had to do several coats. For primer, I used Zinsser BIN Shellac base primer, which seals and blocks in stains. I did not want any of the previous stain to come through my final coat of paint, and the layers of primer and finish paint also helps to smooth out smaller imperfections.
This was extremely tedious and took a lot of time. I found myself priming two sides of the balusters before work, 2 sides on my lunch break, and then doing more coats of primer when I got home from work.
I sanded, primed, and painted the lower part of the outer stringer when the balusters were off.
I repeated this process of taking off balusters, sanding the stringer, and priming/painting the stringer.
(The red cup in the picture below is because I had to use it to cover a long, very sharp screw that I could not get out of the end of the railing until we were able to take it off and take it outside. Yet another frustration, as many of the screws were stripped, inserted at odd angles, etc).
The final step was to paint the railing. Now this was a big decision. Originally, we wanted to keep the railing a natural color, and that the stair treads would also be natural. However, the project evolved as we worked on it. The stair treads were too damaged to be able to refinish, and the railing was also quite gouged. We even looked into replacing the hand rail and the stair treads, both of which are very costly (especially with wood prices so high during the pandemic). Therefore, we decided to paint both.
I removed the railing on a warm weekend morning. I set up the railing on two carts. The stain had been applied so thick, that I used a scraper to remove a large amount of the stain before sanding. I was also appropriately prepared to sand a lot because of all the gouges in the railing. Once I had sanded the railing, I did two coats of primer and then the finish paint.
You can just see in the upper right side of this picture, where I had to weave cardboard through the upstairs balusters after removing half of them. I did not want the cats falling through (as they had already seemed very excited about me removing balusters!).
I finally was able to put all the railing pieces back in place.
This project took weeks to do, but it was absolutely worth it.
I really admire this all-American ability to create and bring home projects to life on their own. Plus with great results!
The quality of work, WOW!!! I wish I was handy, I would have done a lot more of reno work in my house.
I like seeing people use their creativity to improve on something. Keep up the good work.
I love the makeover, you did such a good job of it and it looks like a stairway from a magazine and you did it all by yourself as well. You must be super proud.
Wow the finishing results of your stairs looks so amazing,you guys did an awesome job!
What an amazing project! I loved seeing every single detail coming to life! It looks beautiful!
What an amazing project. Great job. Came out really beautiful.
This is an amazing project and the result looks very nice. The staircase railing looks simple but sophisticated at the same time, and it fits your stairwell perfectly. Thanks for sharing.
These are coming together so nicely! You guys are doing an awesome job!
So nice. I really want to replace our railings. They’re the tacky wood ones that look blah.
You’re doing such an amazing job with this project.Thanks for sharing progress photos.
You guys did such an amazing job! Come do mine now lol!
This is so great. And it seems easy when you do it. Gosh I wish I had that skill.
Oh my,it looks so great! You’re so talented,love it.
That looks great! I love the white color too. Now if we only know how to DIY like that. 🙂
wow! It’s great! I am so impressed! But I am sure I am not able to do such an amazing makeover!
That turned out absolutely amazing!! Gorgeous remodel! We had to redo our steel ones and I was about dead after grinding so long lol
WOW, you are so talented, I love the white color, it looks great and makes the space looks bigger
Oh my gosh, you guys did an amazing job! What a transformation!
They turned out amazing!
Oh wow that looks amazing! You guys did a great job!
What a huge difference! I love what you did. It’s absolutely beautiful!
Wow! Surely is an interesting DIY for sure!
Oh it looks so nice! What a project to undertake but it’s so satisfying once complete…love the hand rail…I definitely need to put a new one in. Thank you for the inspo!
This is super cool and love the transformation! My husband and I just bought a new house and will be doing some projects too 🙂 Bathroom first! LOL….. but seriously cannot wait to see the stairs painted!
Oh my goodness!! It turned out so so pretty!! Im not sure we could make a staircase look this good if we had a magic genie to grant one wish! Lol
This looks wonderful! Now come over and do my staircase. 😉 We could use a new railing.
I love the staircase makeover. It looks wonderful.