The Staircase: Dread for Treads - Juniper Home

The Staircase: Dread for Treads

Entry and Hallway

We’re getting close with the floors. We were all a little sore and tired, so we took a little break and focused on the fireplace this week, but I think this weekend we’re going to start laying the chevron in the library (yay!). So, since our floors are just about done, my eyes keep floating over to the staircase, which hasn’t been touched yet.

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The plan was just going to do paint-grade wood in white on the risers and matching white oak planks on the treads. We will have to order oversized custom treads for the bottom three steps. They’re extra deep on the right side because of the curve of the staircase.

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The lead time was a little longer on these and they were much more expensive that I was hoping, so I haven’t made any progress here. I feel sort of stumped and sick of spending money. And when I’ve felt like that in the past, I usually just end up painting the whole dang thing and calling it good. And truthfully, it might be a good interim option for us.

I could paint the whole shebang from rail to tread white or black or a combo of the two and then add a thick runner to the stairs to hide the planks on the treads, which bother me (I wish they were solid planks).

Or I could take apart the railing and replace just the baluster spindles with something a little cleaner-lined? It looks like all I’d have to do is pop off the little covers to access the screws. Seems like an easy enough job.

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The curved rail is pretty simple and would be hard to replace, so I would plan to reuse it for sure.

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And I’m thinking it would be way easier to paint the whole thing disassembled, so that’s another bonus. The prep would be a pain and all those curves and angles on the balusters are terrifying to think about covering at every angle.

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It’s a hard choice, since these stairs are like the first thing you see when you walk in. It would be fun to have something special here. Then the other (lazy) part of me thinks, you know, whatever. Those balusters aren’t so bad. A little paint would go far there. And maybe black would be really cool (although dusty looking? Hopefully my house will never be this dusty again. blerg.)

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Well, now I think I’ve officially talked myself into painting everything first before looking into anything else. Why not? It could look cool and worst case scenario is I’m out a little paint and some time, and then I can just move forward with ordering the expensive treads and replacing the balusters.

What would you do?

What did you think?
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87 thoughts on “The Staircase: Dread for Treads

  1. What about stripping and staining? Dove grey for balusters and dark charcoal for handrail. Paint risers to match wall color.

    Those pieced steps are strange, and i would think, against safety codes. A runner for now and solid step treads to be installed as budget allows. Staining/bleaching of wood will not gum up the works for when the stair needs to be disassembled for the installation of new treads later.

    I did like the one comment about covering, replacing the balusters with a solid curving wall below the handrail, perhaps with a few cut outs, very sculptural idea.

  2. What a dilemma! We had a similar one when we first moved – but I was SO reluctant to paint the actual stair treads since they're one of the few original details in our 1920s rowhome. So we decided just to add a little trim, then paint the baluster/railings and wall the same color. There are a few after photos here if you want to check them out: http://dateswithdrywall.com/its-a-celebration/

    The poor old beat up treads are still there, though – staring at me every time I walk over them!

    Either way, I'm sure you'll figure it out. You always do, and I LOVE watching how it all progresses – thanks so much for sharing the journey!!

    -K

  3. I really like black and white staircases. I think it provides drama without seeming like you are trying too hard. Plus, I want you to do it first so you can post any lessons learned!

  4. I have watched you transform blah to BEAUTIFUL so many times with paint! You should definitely go with paint for now; I know your finished product will be jaw-dropping! Plus, I think the contrast would look great as opposed to wood everywhere.

  5. You will undoubtedly make the best choice. We are all excited to see what you do.

    However, you sure do a good stairway overhaul. I'm in favor of your paint the the thing and put in a runner. I think that would be a good option. That way you are married to your choice. It is a fun focal point in your house. It's really lovely. I'm excited to see some furniture in your newly shaped rooms! It's been a long time coming, bless you, you're a mega trooper to your vision!

  6. I am sure it will look cool whatever you do…BUT…runners are not cheap,either, so if you really want the stair treads solid…you will do it eventually. Why not go for it now and wait on some other project $ wise. I usually regret saving money on something I feel strongly about.

  7. About a year ago we finished our attic renovation and opened up the staircase but unfortunately the old treads were a not so pretty pine unlike our beautifully refinished original oak floors. Instead of paying the big bucks to replace all of them we went the black and white painted route and used porch paint on the treads and rail (black) and we love how they turned out – super durable and glossy. I actually think its more striking than if we would have done them to match the floors. Everyone that comes over comments on how they love the staircase. It does show some dust and dog hair but I think it's worth it for sure! Yours would look so pretty in all glossy black!

  8. For now I would probably paint the spindles and risers white, maybe paint the treads black, and put down a runner. The other part of me says to replace the treads and spindles now, because otherwise it might not happen? Kelly at View Along the Way makes it look pretty easy to replace those, she used iron spindles.

  9. I vote for painting too – and why not a fancy paint job? There are so many of those floating around the internet.
    But I also vote for replacing the balusters – they are so NOT my style.

  10. Oh, I have always wanted to paint a stairway white on the treads and risers and black for the rail and spindles with a dash and albert striped runner. So that is my vote! I think those spindles would look much better black. I really need to buy a house so I can play around with it…

  11. I'd paint for now. This picture of black and white is similar to your staircase and could work:

    http://www.houzz.com/photos/701662/Curved-Staircase-eclectic-staircase-minneapolis

    Have you thought about painting and adding tile to your risers? Or stenciling your risers? Or adding those o'verlays to your risers? There are some cute ideas on pinterest, and I bet you would find a very sophisticated way to pull it off. Either option would distract from the plank seams that a runner wouldn't hide.

  12. I am in no way affiliated with this company but I think I'm going to use their product when I rip out my carpet on my own stairs. They are called NuStair and their product may fit your budget a bit better? I love your blog so much…you are such an inspiriation!

  13. I am in no way affiliated with this company but I think I'm going to use their product when I rip out my carpet on my own stairs. They are called NuStair and their product may fit your budget a bit better? I love your blog so much…you are such an inspiriation!

  14. I agree with Nicole: Paint the stairs and replace the balusters. You could always fill in the treads with some wood putty before painting to get rid of the grooves.

  15. FYI, I just ended doing my stairway.(had carpet not pretty). I took the dimension of every riser and had them cut (for free) at Lowes. They were done in plywood with a smooth nice front I primed them and painted them white.Turned out great. This would help you two ways. 1. Covering with one continuous riser no splits And 2. Bring some brightness into the space. I had 10 stairs and 2 triangles landing. Cost $19.00 Also, my treads were crappy. I searched on line and found " retro-threads. They fit over your exsiting treads Lowes carries them. Found them cheaper across town. Went to lowes. The gave me the same price plus 10%. Good luck

  16. FYI, I just ended doing my stairway.(had carpet not pretty). I took the dimension of every riser and had them cut (for free) at Lowes. They were done in plywood with a smooth nice front I primed them and painted them white.Turned out great. This would help you two ways. 1. Covering with one continuous riser no splits And 2. Bring some brightness into the space. I had 10 stairs and 2 triangles landing. Cost $19.00 Also, my treads were crappy. I searched on line and found " retro-threads. They fit over your exsiting treads Lowes carries them. Found them cheaper across town. Went to lowes. The gave me the same price plus 10%. Good luck

  17. I'm mesmerized by your skill and creativity. When you first showed the house I thought to myself, "That is the weirdest, ugliest, strangely proportioned house I've ever seen." I really didn't think even you could fix it, but you are making magic happen right in front of us. So, so excited to watch you do this.

  18. I would go all the way and replace the treads now. Paint with a runner is a distant third place compared to everything else and it's best to do it now while you are in the thick of it. I don't think this is a DIY that will compliment what you have done thus far. Although- after seeing the laundry and mud rooms- I don't know what DIY you can't master.

  19. You are A-M-A-Z-I-N-G-! (Would you ever consider removing the abbreviated banister on the right hand side of the base of the stairs? If it isn't terribly useful — more decorative — it might look nice without it and simplify the look.)

  20. You are A-M-A-Z-I-N-G-! (Would you ever consider removing the abbreviated banister on the right hand side of the base of the stairs? If it isn't terribly useful — more decorative — it might look nice without it and simplify the look.)

  21. You are A-M-A-Z-I-N-G-! (Would you ever consider removing the abbreviated banister on the right hand side of the base of the stairs? If it isn't terribly useful — more decorative — it might look nice without it and simplify the look.)

  22. Paint…and a funky/cool runner… not sure black will go with the light floors..may be too stark of a contrast… I love the balusters and spindles just the way they are…

    Can't wait to see what you decided to do!

  23. I would use paint and a runner. Down the line, you can replace the treads and risers. Once painted, the balusters will be fine. I would paint the risers and balusters white, and paint the treads and railing either black or a very dark gray. I'm sure you can find an amazing runner to tie all the colors together. This staircase http://www.savvyhomeblog.com/2013/09/beauty-in-details-beach-cottage-with.html has fussy balusters that look much better painted white.

  24. I think I would paint first too. Black and white are always my favorite options, but the worst for cleaning, aren't they? Black shows dust and white shows everything else! I will say this, we painted our handrails white and they look so dirty all the time. I'm always having to scrub them down and touch up paint. I think painting a wide runner would be amazing! I know you can make it special with paint, and if you aren't absolutely in love with the outcome, you can save for what you really want. The floors are looking great though!

  25. Pull off the domed screw covers on the spindles and fill in with wood putty. Paint the spindles semi gloss white and the stair risers semi gloss white. Paint your banister semigloss black. Sand the stair treads and have a professional stain and seal them to match your floors. If sanding and staining of the treads is not an option then paint them a color that blends with your decor colors. Or paint them black to match bannister.

  26. Jenny I love everything you do – but here's my idea…

    A runner is a great but so too is carpeting the tread. What I especially love is being able to go up and down the stairs without a huge amount of noise every time. I can also see kids sitting on soft carpeted stairs in your great entry.

    I do like another comment that suggests taking off the screw covers and when painted white I think the balusters will look good.

    It's all a bit amateur compared to you but I did tackle a similar job a few years ago
    http://dearmolly.wordpress.com/2011/11/06/stairs/

    Can't wait to see what you decide!
    Lynda

  27. Paint the risers white, the treads, rails, and balustrades black. Find a great runner. Crisp. Quiet. No sock feet slipping on the stairs! It will be lovely! (Definitely remove the wood plugs.)

  28. I agree with many of the above comments–I'd paint it all and go with a runner until you feel passionate about something else. Plus, you can always swap out the runner as you like if you change your mind. This way you have something that you're not giving the side eye to because it's pulled together, but leaves you with the flexibility to change later on. Good luck, I can't WAIT to see the results :)

  29. My favorite staircases were very different styles and materials but they were all painted with a matte metallic paint that made them look like old iron. Your balustrades would look old and substantial in dark matte bronze. Maybe even flat black paint wiped on the details.

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