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Removing Old Carpet from a Staircase

Staircase Refinishing

Another project from our old house but one I’ve really been pondering for our new house. I’ve mentioned before that the stairs in our old house had carpet and were a high traffic area – the white carpet had really grayed over time and gotten almost flat in the most walked-on spots.

When we were beginning the flooring process, we had to decide how we would proceed with the stairs, which were covered in the same carpet that was throughout the downstairs AND the upstairs. The upstairs was getting a fresh new short-shag gray toned carpet and the downstairs was all getting the hand-scratched laminates I’ve mentioned in other posts.

 This photo was taken during one of our walk throughs with the realtor – you can see a little splash of the dreadful burgundy walls downstairs. And that dresser took up the entire landing on the stairs. But, all easy fixes 🙂

The Dilemma: To Leave the Carpet Runner… or to Remove the Carpet Runner?

This view is from the front foyer. Before painting obviously.. just wanted you to see how the carpet was literally everywhere except for our tiny little foyer as you entered.

We went back and forth with this decision at least 10 times. So… we decided we’d remove all the carpet and see what we were working with. I actually bought two runner-sized seagrass rugs and we were going to install them ourselves after cleaning the stairs. The plan was to lay our new wood flooring on the landing. I linked some runners similar to what we purchased.

So, we removed the old carpet. We were both shocked to see how nice the wood was underneath. We weren’t 100% how well it would blend with our new wood flooring so I SCRUBBED the stairs with wood cleaner and removed all staples very carefully. There were a ton of staples. But, all of them were under the lips of the stairs and the holes were not visible, yay!

During this process, I luckily kept the runners in their packaging so they wouldn’t get damaged. We laid the flooring around the staircase and on the landing of the stairs. We were so excited to see how well the flooring matched our stair case. With a few touch ups with stain, the difference was amazing. We loved the wood on the steps so much, I returned the pretty runners and I’m so glad.

I’ve also seen people paint their stair cases instead of using stain and loved that look, too. Carpet kind of grosses me out so I’m trying to decide what to do with our current stair case that has an actually very pretty runner on it. **Make a note that I almost ALWAYS use a poly coat on top of stain/paint for a smooth, clean finish. Also, makes it much easier to clean. For our steps, I used a flat finish because our floor was not glossy.

We originally wanted to replace the balusters and bannister but after looking at the result from this project and weighing the costs versus the profit we wanted to make on the house, we decided to keep the originals. We did replace the outdated light fixture and had plans to build a thin preppy console table and stage it with a mirror and decor but we never got around to it. We also changed the color of the walls to a more neutral shade and a brightened up the trim with bright white.

Pros of not having carpet on the stairs: it’s easier to clean. I used our swiffer and a mop instead of having to use a bulky vacuum on each step. I think it’s prettier, too. Also, we have 2 black labs who shed. I was actually dreading seeing how much black hair got stuck between the fibers of the seagrass. Cons: After having a baby, having to climb the stairs in my socks/slippers to breastfeed in the middle of the night did cause a few slips. I never fell thank goodness. We were also thankful that our little guy wasn’t a big runner when we lived in this house. We gated the base of the stairs too to prevent him from going up without us. If we had lived there now, no doubt he would have fallen hard on these steps.

We were very happy with this decision. Our new stairs don’t have a landing and are kind of a grand staircase as you enter the foyer so I want it to be something fabulous – I’m on the hunt for something amazing but we’ll leave what we have for now.

What do you think? Runners or no runners? I am kind of wanting leopard for our new stairs… my poor husband haha 🙂

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  • Reply Dana Crunkleton

    Love leopard runners!

    February 3, 2018 at 11:40 pm
    • Reply sarahmlevy

      Me too!! I’m on the prowl for one 🙂 and trying to convince my husband!

      February 4, 2018 at 7:18 am
  • Reply Emil Lindgren

    Thanks so much for sharing such an informative and useful post. I appreciate your wonderful explanation. I will certainly dig it and personally suggest to my friends. I’m sure they’ll be benefited from this website.

    March 24, 2018 at 5:11 am
  • Reply Signatureshome

    Some useful tips you have shared above. Thanks I’ve learned something new by reading this.

    July 26, 2018 at 8:23 am
  • Reply Signatureshome

    Yup it’s really a “Dilemma: To Leave the Carpet Runner… or to Remove the Carpet Runner?” totally agreed.

    September 6, 2018 at 7:57 am
  • Reply lisa

    Wow! All of the stairs which you mentioned in the above post are awesome. All of the stairs models looks nice. I really like your brown wooden stairs.

    October 6, 2018 at 4:20 am
  • Reply Kirti

    I have definitely learnt something after reading this post of yours. Thanks for sharing. I loved it.

    October 20, 2018 at 4:05 am
  • Reply Ash Green

    ” It was really insightful.
    Thanks for the info.
    Wanna have more contents from you.

    October 28, 2018 at 1:46 am
  • Reply Nicole

    I think today a lot of homeowners appreciate the beauty of hardwood stairs. When renovating a home with carpeted stairs they always turn it back to wood design. I think the wood design is the new trend in staircases today.

    January 23, 2019 at 5:42 pm
  • Reply jacob

    i don’t usually write posts or comments on articles but your blog was so convincing and is written with such diligence i had to praise. great work !

    June 19, 2019 at 2:55 am
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