Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Slow Transformation Part VII: Finishing up the Stairs

The project that has consumed my evenings for the better part of five months is finally winding down. I'm in the middle of painting the new bookcases (more on that later) and once they're in this weekend, I'll only have a few small things to fix from the great transformation of our downstairs.

During the week of the conference, I wanted a small project to work on. I had started the bookshelves, but knew they would take more time than I had that week, so I decided while I was sanding wood to use on the bookshelves I would sand, stain, and paint the stairs as well. Originally doing the stairs wasn't part of the grand transformation plan, but we discovered that stairs that have rested under dirty carpet for many years tend to need a little TLC.

First thing I did was fill in all the holes and divots that had formed over the past 40 years with a bit of wood filler. Then I went to town sanding.

Joy and I both decided we wanted the stairs to have a bit of a distressed look, so I didn't sand down the stairs to the most absolute smoothness. As you can see, the middle of each stair was still a bit darker than the edges and the filled in spots stand out ever so slightly.

I also only lightly sanded the rise on each stair because we decided to paint them to give the entire stair a bit of a lighter feeling.

The main point in all of this was to make the stairs feel smooth underneath our feet and give them a durable finish so we didn't worry about the kids dropping things.

After sanding, I put a thin layer of a light stain and then coated them with polyurethane. That process was fascinating because we couldn't walk on the stairs. So each night I'd put a coat on and Joy and I would run out of our garage and up to the front door when we heard Sam or Noah in the evening or when we wanted something to eat. I'm sure my neighbors wondered why we kept carrying ice cream into our garage those nights.

During the conference, I came home in the evenings and painted the rise before collapsing into bed. Only two coats of white paint and look what we have now:
(and yes, that's Noah wondering what is going on down there) I only have to figure out now if I want to put white quarter round down on each stair step.

1 comment:

laura gayle said...

very nice! do you give lessons (for the hubster?)???