Stairwell Reno


For a seemingly easy project, this stairwell renovation was a serious labor of love (read pain). We started off four years ago with carpet throughout the entire basement that was completed rotted and molded. You can see a photo below that show the fully carpeted stairs, but honestly it doesn't do it justice. It was just so unclean and old, there was no saving it. One weekend, when Aaron was out of town, I got fed up and ripped out all of the carpet saying I would rather have subfloor and concrete that at least could be clean. 

I ended up doing a makeshift stairwell reno at that time, that actually looked pretty decent to start, considering what I paid. You can see my original renovation of the stairs here. And if we didn't have dogs that scratched up the floors, or if they weren't quite as steep it would have worked. 


Seriously, this picture does not show the level of yuck that was here before. 


So after 3 years with our "new" stairs, the wear and tear was starting to drive me crazy. I didn't cut the treads wide enough, so dog hair and dirt would go into our unfinished part when I swept, Aaron had a really serious fall down the stairs this last fall, and when I fell this spring while pregnant, we decided that was the final straw. 


You can see the scratches our pups made, the gap along the sides, and the misshapen risers. With these being the only stairs in the house and how we get in and out of the house to the garage, it was time to fix them up. 


I never thought that I was someone who hates sanding. The sound has never bothered me like it does my mother, and usually I've done a piece of furniture that I'm painting and had no issues. For some reason this was so much worse. I don't know if it was because I am pregnant and was sitting sideways to reach, the fact that all of this dust literally settled like a cloud (as you can see from the hazy pictures), or if I had just done such a good job of sealing it (seems unlikely). 


Since I knew we were going to do a runner down the middle for better traction, and to decrease scratches, I only sanded and stained the sides. And with as much work as it was, I stand by that decision :) We considered carpeting the whole width of the stairs and I just don't think that always looks as classy, and the upstairs and downstairs that it is transitioning between isn't carpeted so it didn't make sense to me. 


Oh Home Depot. Normally I love going to hardware stores. But throughout the entirety of this project, I have been nothing but disappointed by them. In order to create my risers, since I really just needed about 6 inches on either side of the stair to be a smooth surface, I opted to go with the treated plywood that I have used for my shiplap projects. Which I had to coach the workers on how to cut. Which honestly was fine, but this was the first issue. 

Also, pro tip, the carpet installer suggested I attach another board in the middle to allow the carpet to lay evenly across. As annoying as this was, it made sense to me so that it didn't pull, I just hadn't considered it. It worked out better to do it in three pieces though, so that I could make sure the two outer pieces were flush with the wall and then the middle was there to make it even, since our stairs are not perfectly straight or even. Imagine that. Also my pup was not a fan of this part of the process as you can tell :) 


Next up was installing all of the trim and painting all of it white. This solved the gap issue and made it look a lot more polished. This was a much more affordable and less of a headache than trying to replace all of the treads again. 



So we're getting there! Everything was ready for the carpet to be installed. This is when Home Depot just really messed us up. We had ordered the carpet back in MARCH. And my in store experience was so pitiful that I actually called customer service to complain afterwards back then. Imagine uninformed kids not caring about what they are doing and a complete lack of professionalism. So we were off to a good start. A week or two after going in the store someone came out to measure our stairs to order the carpet. 

Time 1 to coordinate being off work for a worker to come out. 

Two weeks later they called to say someone had to come back out to remeasure since we were doing a runner. Even though I had told the previous man that we were doing that, and he had specifically measured that as I spoke to him. 

Time 2 to coordinate being off work for a worker to come out. 

They then informed me that they would not be able to come out to install it until the end of April. Which was annoying, but Louisville had also recently flooded, so I was like sure we can do that. 

Time 3 to coordinate being off work for a worker to come out. 

We received a call the day of the install informing us that our carpet had never been ordered. So not only had we completely wasted three more weeks waiting, but the fact that they didn't figure it out until the day of the install even though I had called the day prior to check and make sure we were good to go was infuriating. 

So then we were told that it would take 2 more weeks to order the carpet and then another week to get it bound before we could get it installed. So we were looking at the end of May. 

At this point I flipped. Remember, a big reason we moved forward on this project was because I WAS PREGNANT AND FELL. So you know, I would kind of like it to be done before I have the baby. I had to call three times over the course of the next week before I heard back from a manager. And while he offered his apologies and was quite nice, nothing was done to compensate me for the situation. And it turns out the carpet had been ordered, but was defective, and no one ever reordered it. Further proof of miscommunication nonsense. 

They managed to get the carpet ordered and accelerated the binding portion which was nice. Considering. It took about another two weeks to finally get it installed. 

Time 4 to coordinate being off work for a worker to come out. FOR CARPETING A FREAKING STAIRWELL. 


Now that it is installed, I really do love it. It is finally classy looking, it's soft, I feel safe, and the dogs can't quite as easily ruin it (I supposedly got the life proof one). However, I'm still waiting to hear from Home Depot on if anything is going to be done to rectify my two and a half month stairwell project and all of our time trying to coordinate being off work. So I have no problem outlining the issues we had, so that hopefully you can avoid the same thing happening to you! 

I think Aaron and I did a great job on what we did, and were smart with costs and supplies. And I really am happy that it's done. I'm just a little salty still to be able to fully appreciate it. But it certainly looks a lot classier without all the dog hair piles and scratches!