Monday, August 9, 2010

The staircase is done! (Again.)

Well hello!! I hope you had a GREAT weekend!

I’m starting to get my project mojo back – I’ve been highly unmotivated this summer. Well, unmotivated to do any painting, sawing, crafting or cleaning. Highly motivated to nap. ;)

But as fall approaches (what is that high pitched squeal? OH yeah, that’s me.) I’m getting the urge to get more done around the house. I thought it was about time I finished up the stairway redo that I started…oh….SIX MONTHS ago.

I’ve been wanting to add molding up the staircase for all that time. My original plan was to continue the skinny molding I installed throughout the foyer, but that stuff was going to be a total pain to work with – long story, but it isn’t symmetrical. So to make the correct cuts, I was going to have to make a jig for the saw and blah blah yadda yadda. You don’t want to know.

So I sat on it for months. Then I saw some new inspiration in a magazine – a different idea -- and wondered if it may be easier to install. Turns out it was. ;)

I didn’t take pictures as I went (bad blogger!!) but I recreated how I went through the process. My inspiration picture used a board and batten type technique, so I went to the hardware store looking for thick slats of wood to use – but everything I found was either too skinny or too expensive. Then I remembered the brilliant idea The Nester had, and I strolled over to the sheets of mdf.

Brilliant I tell you. I had an eight by four foot sheet of mdf cut down into 3.5 wide pieces (eight feet long each). To figure out the angle of the cuts I needed, I held a piece up to the wall and marked the angle of the handrail on the wood:

I marked a line from end to end to get the angle I needed:

Then put it on my miter saw to figure out the degree of the cut. It turned out to be 40 degrees, and low and behold, that cut ended up working for every single angle I needed:


It was SO easy, because the planks were flat and symmetrical so I could use it any way I needed to! Does that make sense? I could flip it every which way and it still worked.

I nailed up the sides first then added the top portions. The middle pieces (that created the “boxes”) went up last. This is what I ended up with:


Then, because I consistently ignore my own advice, I had to paint everything after the fact. Which is a total pain in the booty. TOTAL. Argh! I will never learn! From myself. Huh.

Anyway, because I am one of the True Value DIY Blog Squad members (yippeee!), I took my merry little self over to a local store and got some new painting supplies.

Purdy brushes are not cheap, but they are the best, in my opinion. I absolutely love them! I used my angled brush to do a coat of primer and two coats of semi-gloss on the edges of the mdf:

I found a super cool roller at True Value that I had to try out:

Gotta love that Made in the USA! :)

You can angle it in all kinds of directions:


How cool is that? It worked perfectly to paint all of the molding!

And yet again, the fact that I didn’t paint before installing came back to haunt me. (Curses!) The top edge of the mdf butted up against the handrail molding, was still unpainted and you could totally tell:


I. tell. you. what. Such a pain! Thankfully True Value had a small craft section (yes, crafts! I think I’m in love!), so I picked up some brushes and used one to cram some paint in there:

The cramming worked. Sheesh.

And finally, it was finally time to poly those steps. I went back and forth for months on whether or not I would do it, because I was worried it would make them slippery. I figured I would try one coat and see how it went.

I grabbed some semi gloss polyurethane on my shopping trip:poly

(You want to stir poly slowly – never shake!)

I always use a foam brush to apply poly and it works like a charm! Here’s the difference it made on the steps (top step with poly, bottom without):

poly on stairs

Loverly!! Poly makes the wood so much richer and beautiful – and it has NOT made them slippery at all! I only did one coat, so that probably helps. I still swear the wood steps are less slippery than the carpeted stairs.

I absolutely, positively LOVE how it turned out!!:

stair transformation

I continue to only get craptastic quality pictures of these stairs. Not sure why. But you get the gist. :)

It’s not perfect. Not many of my projects are:

This is why the DIY Gods created caulk and putty.  ;)

I really adore how it turned out! It makes the whole staircase look finished off:

The wall going up the stairs is my favorite wall in the house:

Can you tell why? ;)

All I have to do now is get rid of the brass:

I know they’re small. But they’re mighty. Mighty brassy. And shiny. :) I don’t know if I’ll tape them off, cover everything and spray paint the buggers, or just replace them.

Either way, their days are numbered. Buwahahahahahaaaaaa…

Now, to decide if I’ll continue this treatment up the other side of the stairs:

I’d have to take down the small molding I have up there, and I don’t know if it would even work with the big squares on the back wall.

For now, it will stay as is. :)

Let’s look back, shall we? This is the before, from last Christmas:

The in between from earlier this year:

  And the I’M DONE!! (for now):

The best part? All of the mdf only cost $23! That’s IT! Whoo!

Oh I lurve it. And now I can focus on other things.

Like decorating for fall.

What’s that? Hummmm? It’s still August? Whatever.


To see how I transformed our stairs, go here.

*I was one of the bloggers selected by True Value to work on the DIY Squad. I have been compensated for my time commitment to the program as well as my writing about my experience. I have also been compensated for the materials needed for my DIY project. However, my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive comments.*

Thank you to my latest advertiser!:


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