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How to upgrade your stairs

(NC) Whether your home features carpeted, painted, or wood stairs, a new appearance can revitalize the character of any home. The stairs are one of the most highly trafficked areas of the home, however often get overlooked when it comes to updates and renovations. While updating your stairs can seem like a daunting, labour intensive project, pre-manufactured products available at your local building centres can turn upgrading your stairs into a simple DIY project.

Before tackling this project you will need the following list of tools and supplies:

• Hammer and nails or pin nailer

• Caulking gun

• Sander

• Circular or Jigsaw

• Handsaw or Multi-tool

• Measuring tape and level

• Bevel square and kneepads

Preparing the old stairs: The first step is to prepare the old stairs by removing carpeting or existing floor coverings. Cut off the stair nose of each tread you are going to resurface using a circular or jigsaw starting at the centre and working out to the edge. Then using your handsaw or multi-tool complete the cut and remove the stair nose. Starting at the bottom and working your way up cut and dry fit the risers and false treads. A helpful tip is to number the backs to avoid confusion later.

Getting started: At this point decide whether staining or painting is your preference. With the treads in place examine the runners for visible damage. If the damage is extensive, use Minwax High Performance Filler. Small nails holes can be repaired with stainable filler. After repairing any potential damages you can either install the risers and false treads, or paint/finish the runner. Apply stain and two coats or protective finish to the pieces before installation.

Finish strong: When staining a floor or stairs use a penetrating oil base stain such as Minwax Wood Finish. There are over 20 colours available including new trend colours like Classic Grey, Weathered Oak, and Espresso. For natural wood, you can use a Minwax Sanding Sealer as a base for polyurethane film. When choosing your protective coating choose from a low VOC oil base Poly for Floors to give you that warm amber glow or a water base Ultimate Floor Finish that goes on clear and stays clear. Apply two coats of protection to your risers and false treads then allow the product time to set. Using a construction adhesive and a few well-placed pin nails you can install the risers and treads to sub structure.

Care should be taken when working on fresh finishes. Although the finish is dry it is still curing after the installation. When complete another coat of protective finish can be added. The stairs can be maintained with a Hardwood Floor Cleaner and if years down the road the finish needs to be freshened up a light sanding and an additional coat of polyurethane can be added to bring back the beauty of your project.

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