DIY Stair Makeover

I love a good DIY project!!

Yes, it has been a month since my last post, but this is going to be a good one. Grab a cup of coffee, it is going to be a long one. 🙂 I recently finish one of my favorite house projects to date, our staircase.  These stairs were covered in boring, old carpet that needed some love.  A while back, I started researching and talking myself into staining our staircase treads. Ok, no talking myself into anything…I was obsessing and really wanting to do this project. New carpet was always an option but just not what I truly wanted on our stairs.  I peeled back our carpet on the top step corner to see if and what was hidden under that awful carpet.  The stair treads just needed some sanding to prep for the staining of the treads. After a little research, I was onboard and ready to get to work on the stair renovation.

*if you have plywood or need treads/risers as yours are not manageable, your project cost would go up significantly. You would also do things differently than how I tackled my project. I do however suggest taking a peek, you never know what is lurking under that carpet. 🙂

DIY Stair Makeover

My husband had to go out of town for two weeks for work, so it was the perfect time to get started on the stair renovation.  We headed to Home Depot to pick up the needed supplies and I was ready to tackle the DIY stair makeover while he was away. These are our only set of stairs that go up to our bedroom, so it was a lengthy process as I had to use them daily.  When it came to staining treads, skipping every other tread and waiting on them to dry 24 hours was my method before moving to the others. This project was not difficult rather it was time consuming.  It was however cheaper than replacing the carpet and carpet pad! If you have ever thought of doing this, test out what is under your carpet to see how you should proceed. I got the lucky and easiest route with not having to buy new treads or risers. My project cost around $50!

*Treads are the part of the stair that you place your foot on.  Risers are the flat piece you see when looking at the staircase. (that you do not step on)

Your project supply list:

  1. hand sander (lots of sandpaper) I used an electric sander
  2. one large plastic tarp (minimize the dust)
  3. crowbar
  4. old sock and extra rags
  5. wood filler
  6. angled paint brush
  7. Minwax stain (pick the shade you desire)
  8. Minwax Polyurethane
  9. white semi gloss paint
  10. painters tape

Our stairway with the old and boring carpet.


DIY stair makeover DIY Stair Makeover








**Before you start, stain a scrap piece of wood using your Minwax stain to see if it is the shade you are wanting for your stairs.


  1. Demo the stairs! The first step would be to tear up the carpet, carpet pad and tack strips that are  on your stairs.  Safety first, use goggles!( those nails were flying everywhere) Be careful of the staples holding the carpet down, they are sharp.  The tack strips will require you to use some muscle and your crowbar. Be sure to use needle nose pliers to get ALL the staples and nails out of the wood. (both treads and risers)

DIY Stair Makeover

2. Once you have cleared the carpet, carpet pad, tack strips and nails, you are set to fill in the holes.  Use your wood filler to fill in all holes on the treads and risers.  Let this dry.

3.Next comes the sanding.  I had tons of sanding to do since there was a lot of paint overspray on the treads.  (you do not have to get the overspray paint off the risers, they are getting painted white) You have to sand the treads clear of ALL  paint and rough surfaces. This will be a lengthy process to make it very smooth and the right surface. Also make sure to sand the wood filler areas as well.

DIY Stair Makeover

4.Use a shop vacuum and wet rag to clear your stairs of all dirt and dust.  You need a completely clean staircase in order to start staining the stair treads.

5.Now comes the staining and time consuming part.  Since I had to use my stairs during this project, I stained every other tread still making them accessible. I used a sock on my hand to apply the stain and wipe it off the stair. Each coat I put on, I allowed 24 hours of drying. (This took days as I did multiple coats in the every other step) I did a total of 3 coats on all steps.

DIY Stair Makeover


DIY Stair Makeover


DIY Stair Makeover

6. You will then need to use the polyurethane to seal your steps.  Put as many coats as you desire. The more coats, the more glossy they will look. It is your finishing layer. I applied 3 coats to my stairs.

7. Lastly, tape off the treads with your painters tape so the paint does not get on your stained treads. Then, use your angled paint brush and while paint to apply paint your risers and side trim. This completes the project and may take a few coats. I painted 2-3 coats of this to finish the project.

DIY Stair Makeover

DIY Stair Makeover

And that is how you make your stairs over from boring old carpet to gorgeous wood stairs.  Again, the only downfall or issue would be it is a timely project, but very much worth it.  I sometimes find myself standing and staring at them. 🙂  It is also a DIY project I completed all by myself!! Hope you enjoyed this DIY project and you can do it! If you have questions, concerns or want to share your DIY stair makeover, please do.

DIY Stair Makeover


Have a great week!


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