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  • Writer's pictureAmanda Franklin

Stair Remodel - Part 4 - Stair Toppers

After completing the board and batten and the railing, it was clear that we needed to finish up this project by redoing the stair toppers. Unfortunately, as with almost everything in our house, this wasn't as easy as it could be. First, our stairs are a dado cut which means that the stair toppers and notched into the side of the stairs. This means that they are almost impossible to remove.

Given that, we had to figure out how to replace these, and we ended up finding another American Company called Hardwood Lumber. They not only let you pick stair toppers by type of wood and the nosing, you can also buy retrofit treads which was we decided to do as well as retrofit risers. We chose Ash Treads because it is a hard wood, it is cheaper than oak, and we could stain them to match our floors.

To get ready for the treads, Brian cut the noses off the stairs which he did about two weeks too early so we ended up having to go up and down the stairs sideways for a few weeks. Lesson Learned. Somehow we made it with only falling once.

Once these were cut down, we could strip the paint off the stairs. We did this because we worried that the adhesive to attach the stairs wouldn't work unless we stripped the paint. This is where things went from bad to worse.

In case you were wondering if paint stripper is safe to use inside, the answer is probably, but it smells and you need to have windows you can open (which ours don't presently) so this ended up being a bit if a problem. I'm talking having to sit outside or upstairs because the smell made me almost pass out a few times. However, a mask with filters makes this a bit more bearable.

I applied the paint stripper, and got to work.

At some point, Brian and I decided this was good enough, so we started working on the stair treads and risers. We first ensured that they all fit the stairs and wrote on the bottom of each riser and tread the corresponding stair number. This made putting them in place almost seamless. In addition, it meant that any special cuts we had to make (which we did since our stairs are not totally square), were easy to match up. Once all the stairs were numbered, I started painting and staining.

I painted the risers the same color as the board and batten. For the treads, we went to Sherwin Williams, and did a stain match with our floors. We also bought a polyurethane to add to the top to protect the wood and prevent general wear and tear.

We let these dry for 24 hours after I applied the poly, and then we were ready to install. We used construction adhesive. Brian would apply to the stair and then I'd put them into place.

And wow, were the end results so worth it!

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