basement stairs

Basement Stair Makeover Part 2 - Chair rail & paint pick me up

The vision must be followed by the venture. It is not enough to stare up the steps - we must step up the stairs. ~ Vance Havner

I worked last week to transform our basement stairway into something more exciting. (See more about painting the steps dark gray, see part 1 here.) Something that says to the guests who enter through the basement, "Hey welcome to our house. Come on up and make yourself at home."

And I think it's getting there.

It is amazing what paint and stain can do. Just to remind you, here is what it looked like before. Basement Stairs - All Precious & Pleasant Blog I started by replacing the handrail. The old banister had been chewed by a dog or some other such nonsense, and it was worse for the wear. Basement Stairs - All Precious & Pleasant Blog So I headed over to  Lowe's and picked up a 12 foot banister and had them cut it down in store to 9.5 ft. It was about $30, and they had a wide selection!

Then I set it up outside with our sawhorses. Basement Stairs - All Precious & Pleasant Blog Here are my supplies. I had everything already, so I didn't spend money on anything except the railing! Basement Stairs - All Precious & Pleasant Blog First I applied a wood conditioner and let it set for between 1 and 2 hours. Wood conditioner evens out the tone of the wood and allows the stain to go on more evenly.

The method I have determined works best for us when staining raw wood is to apply and immediately wipe off first in order to test the color. Raw wood soaks the color in immediately. So Jeremy applies with a sponge brush and I come behind with a stain rag to wipe off. Basement Stairs - All Precious & Pleasant Blog Basement Stairs - All Precious & Pleasant Blog We did this about three times until we got to the color we wanted. Basement Stairs - All Precious & Pleasant Blog Then two coats of Miniwax Polyurethane finished it off.

Having this beautiful freshly stained handrail already made such a difference! Then I painted the inset part of the wall behind the rail and the opposite wall for some added appeal. It really makes the baseboards pop! I used Revere Pewter by Benjamin Moore...our favorite color choice throughout the house (see our House Tour to see it in the living room, kitchen, hallway, and office)...and had it color matched to Olympic One in Eggshell. It's subtle in these photos, but it definitely makes an impact in person. Basement Stairs - All Precious & Pleasant Blog Basement Stairs - All Precious & Pleasant Blog

Next on the list is to hang some white curtains over that basement for some texture. They also will provide some privacy in the basement at night! I think the walls might need some art now too...

And one more look at the finished product. Basement Stairs - All Precious & Pleasant Blog


Basement Stair Makeover Part 1

The basement stairs have been begging for repair. In fact, every time I step foot, they whisper, "Will you just paint us already?" And I plug my ears and run up quickly. It's bad, y'all. Indeed, our basement staircase was pretty banged up, scratched up, and messed up. In order to get them to pristine condition, we would pretty much need to replace them. That didn't seem necessary, so a quick paint job seemed the more reasonable approach. They are still a little uneven and rough, but I say that adds character. And a couple coats of dark gray paint brought SO MUCH life to these steps. basement stair paint - muted ebony by valspar

This stair makeover was done in just a few simple steps. No pun intended.

Step 1: Sand down existing stairs with 80 grit sand paper to smooth out as best as possible to remove some imperfections.

I gave these stairs a serious rub down with our orbital sander (still a favorite tool) and buffed out some of the imperfections. The stairs were already pretty rough, I just made them a little rougher...and smoother at the same time (how is that possible?)

Step 2: Use fine grit sandpaper to smooth everything out.

This is pretty self explanatory. I used 120 grit.

Step 3: Remove chipping caulk from the edges.

I used an exacto knife to cut away a lot of the old caulk that was separating from the steps and looking very tacky. I didn't get any pictures of this step, and I actually didn't opt to replace the caulk either. I bought some, and then decided I was ok with a little bit of gap between the wood and the baseboards. Call me crazy. basement stairs - muted ebony by valspar Step 4: Sweep and wipe down the stairs.

Step 5: Paint 2 coats of Porch & Floor Paint from the top down and let cure for a full 24 hours.

I actually didn't tape the edges on this one, I just used my handy dandy short handled cutting in brush to go around the edges and a foam roller for the main parts of the steps.

Tip: wipe the steps down as you go. Even though you've already swept and wiped them down, they will get dirty as you go, so keep a rag handy and wipe as you go.

Tip: Start at the top, but plan an escape route. I've also heard tell that it is a great idea to paint every other step, let it cure, and go back and paint the other steps. This makes a lot of sense. If you are in a situation where you can't get out of your basement or your stairs are the only way upstairs, you may have to try this. Because we have a walkout basement, I painted everything at once and then just walked around the house to get back upstairs :-)

Tip: Use porch & floor paint. You can't use just any old paint for this. Make sure you use paint that is formulated for walking on. I used Valspar's Porch & Floor Paint in Muted Ebony. Also, I could have done the entire staircase with a quart. I bought a gallon and I have SO MUCH leftover! I may have plans for some of that :-) For stairs, you can buy an additive for your paint that will make it a little bit rougher and keep you from slipping down your stairs, but our stair wood is so rough that I didn't do that.  photo stairs2_zps638fab26.jpg So, there you have it. A simple and very impacting update. We use these stairs all the time, and it's the first thing we see when we come in the house from the carport, so it is going to make a big difference!

Stay tuned for what is going to happen with that hand rail...and the walls could use some love too.