For week 4 of the One Room Challenge, I’m showing off the progress of the staircase. This 90s staircase featured a gray carpet stapled down the middle, an all-too-orange stain color, wooden balusters, a rounded bottom step and a railing that curls around at the bottom. My goal is to turn this look into something with clean lines and contemporary elements.
Removing the Carpet
The carpet runner came up easily enough with a pry bar and a little arm strength.
At the end of this staircase project, I will probably still say that removing the itty-bitty staples was the hardest part. There had to have been 500 or more. Not the “easy to pull up” staples–although there were plenty of those. These are the itsy-bitsy-teeny-weenie staples that had to be pried out of the wood with the smallest screwdriver I own, then pulled the rest of the way with a miniature set of pliers. Ohhh…what memories.
Removing the Bottom Railing
I want to refinish the majority of the railing, removing the bottom “scroll” portion. The benefit of removing the bottom handrail is that the balusters would be easy to remove, since I won’t be refinishing those. The plan is to replace the wooden balusters with iron ones.
I used a couple small screw drivers, a thin chisel and rubber mallet to loosen the handrail from the wall. The handrail is nailed with two nails. Once loose enough, I fit my oscillating tool in between, with the metal-specific blade, and cut through the nails.
Once unattached, the balusters came out easily…a few had to be twisted a bit in order to separate them from the railing. (Finishing nails secure them in place.)
The Bottom Newel Post
This was a doozy. I started by trying to loosen it by hitting it upward with a rubber mallet. That got the scroll off of the newel post. But, it didn’t loosen it very much. I ended up side kicking it until I broke the assembly inside the bottom “riser” underneath the first stair.
This is why I can’t do work in other people’s houses.
Now that I did this, I would do it again. And, in fact, I did. On the other side. I’m getting rid of the rounded edge, and this was exactly what needed to be done. Want to see what’s under there? I did, too.
That newel post goes all…the…way…down. How to remove it? There’s a bolt. I used a socket set to loosen the bolt, which is what held the newel post in place.
Taking Off the Finish
While in the process of removing the railings, I received my carbide scraper from Amazon. This is one of the best tools I have bought. This thing saved me hours of sanding. It scrapes layers of finish off of wood. It’s comprised of a handle with a thick razor at the end. You can see the curls of finish coming off the staircase as I pull it across.
Straighten the Rounded Bottom
I’m not going to get into the trouble I had removing the rounded edge of the bottom step. Mistakes were made. Long story short: I attempted to use the jig, but I don’t always have great control when using a saw in an “alternative” situation. Even with a guide in place, my cut was way off.
Luckily for me, hubs was home from work on Friday, so he jumped in with the circular saw. I let him have at it! The result? Perfection! Are you seeing it come together???
Phew. That was a big effort. Lots of risks. Good results. Check back soon to see progress on this beauty!
See what happened in Part Two of this project…