After light demolition, lots of stripping, sanding, painting, and tiling, my back stairs are finally done with their makeover. In my last progress report, they looked like this:
back stairs makeover

Which was a vast improvement from how they started, but still not quite done. The full before is here, along with my gameplan for the space. Here’s a recap to save you the trouble of clicking.

back stairs before

Yikes, right? Ugly dark wood paneling, patterned carpet, and fake tile vinyl flooring on the landing. The seventies threw up all over this space. And even though it’s just our back door and stairs to the basement and backyard, it deserved better. So finally, the full after!
back stairs after

back stairs 3

Adventurous got really fascinated with this area while I was taking pictures. She did this the last time I photographed here, too. I think she has modeling ambitions. Also, I’m already considering that maybe with two light-colored cats, black steps were a foolish idea. I’ll just be doing some extra vacuuming, I guess.

You may notice that the door is still an eyesore. I considered painting it, but it really just needs to be replaced. It’s pretty beat up, it’s very leaky because it doesn’t fit right, and we’d really like some windows. But doors are surprisingly expensive. So for the time being, we’ll live with this one. Photoshop is an excellent alternative to shelling out the big bucks for a new door.

back stairs white door

Pretty realistic, eh? I’m kind of proud of it, especially the window with our real backyard behind it. The door is actually this one, which we could theoretically someday install in real life. Back to the rest of the space, though.

After ripping off the carpet, pulling out nails and staples, and dissolving the carpet glue, I was left with wood stairs with lots of thick glue and paint in awkward corners. I didn’t really want to deal with trying to sand it all off by hand, so I covered up the problem with beadboard on the risers and paint on the steps.

back stairs 4
First I gave the stairs a couple of coats of Glidden Floor and Porch Paint in Onyx Black. It looked all shiny and pretty, but shortly after it dried, I realized that it was a deathtrap for me because it was way too slippery. Stairs have it in for me. Steven once saved me from breaking some bones (or worse), several years ago when I slipped on stairs with no handrail at a venue. No, I hadn’t had anything to drink. As I was falling down the steep flight, I screamed his name, and he broke my fall. My hero. If only he’d been there a couple of years ago when I think I broke a rib slipping on the stairs that go to our second floor. Now I always make sure to hang onto the handrail, but slippery stairs + me are a very bad combo. So I bought a packet of non-slip floor finish additive, and did another coat. Problem solved. It’s not quite as pretty, but there’s no way I can slip on these stairs now, no matter how hard they plot against me.

I added a couple of hooks up near the kitchen door, which have already come in handy for holding some of the millions of canvas shopping bags we have. And the banister got a coat of the same paint as the floor, minus the non-slip additive. I even cleaned and shined up the handrail brackets (the hardware holding up the banister), and re-positioned them slightly so that they actually went into studs. (Easier said than done when you have plaster and lathe walls–studs are actually often tricky to find.)

back stairs 2

And that ends my first, and probably last, big home improvement project of 2016. It’s not that our house is perfect now, it’s just that the other areas that need work, like the bathrooms, are going to be way bigger and more expensive projects than we want to take on this year. But I’m glad that now I’ll have more time for working on smaller scale projects that are a bit more blog-friendly.

Resources:
Tile: Moon Mosaic by Statements Tile. (Even the guy at the tile store seemed surprised that this was only $4 per square foot. The tile itself cost less than $50 for this space.)
Grout: Ardex FL in Ocean
I bought the tile and grout locally at Interstate Flooring, and I’d recommend them.
Wall paint: Benjamin Moore ben eggshell, in Cotton Balls
Floor and banister paint: Glidden floor and porch paint in Onyx Black, plus Behr non-slip additive for the floor
Hooks: These, in black, which don’t seem to be available in that finish any more.

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5 Responses to Back Stairs After

  1. Pat Schwab says:

    Rachel, I see all your hard work has paid off. The back stairs look great.

  2. Cory says:

    This is so nice. It’s good to know about the non slip additive for the stairs. And I love the kitty in it. She is just like my daughters cat appropriately named “Kitty”.

  3. Ann Jacks says:

    Really amazing work. Great job with everything, very impressive.

  4. Tammy Thiele says:

    This looks amazing! I’m so impressed by all your hard work!

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