Goodbye Carpet, Hello Wood Stairs – DIY!


Our second and current house was built in 1985 and has a closed off feel and carpet galore.  Ugly and plain don’t scare me away, I saw the potential and we moved in with our 14 month old Palmer in 2015.  3 months later I was pregnant and Grayson came and well, you know, life gets busy.


Home Sweet Home

Finding myself nesting with and preparing for baby 3, Kieran, to join us in August has me ready for all kinds of projects. I detest carpet.  Naturally, our house has carpet all over the place, go figure.  We took a Saturday when we had no plans and ripped up the carpet on our stairs to  find the beautiful wood underneath.  This is an easy project that truly, anyone can do.

I grew up with a family of contractors/builders and business owners who build new and very large custom houses for a living.  So, you would think that my taste would lend itself to perfect and new homes for my growing brood. But, I have a confession – I LOVE homes that are older, have character and stories, and have room for improvement. Because the reality is for me – after being around my grandpa and dad for 31 years I am convinced I can do any and all home projects.  It’s a dangerous thing – but oh so fun!


  • Pry bar
  • Hammer
  • Box Cutter / Carpet Cutterr
  • Sander – we borrowed this Black and Decker sander from a friend!
  • IMG_1803
  • Stain
  • IMG_1892
  • Pliers
  • Polyurethane
  • Paint (For Trim, or Risers, if needed)
  • Brushes


  1. Rip up the carpet.  It should come up really easily without a lot of force needed! If you are nervous, start with a corner and pry back to peek at what is under the carpet/padding before you go all in like we did in the second set of pictures below.  Once you are ready, move on to step 2!


2. Padding comes up next – like the carpet you shouldn’t have any difficulty getting this up either.


Steps with no carpet or padding! Already looking bright and airy!

**I will caution you to think about how you want to go about ripping up these items.  Our kiddos (Ages 1&3) were at home so we ripped up a few stairs at a time because we knew there would be traffic during the project and didn’t want any injuries on the nails underneath.  If you are kid / pet free and know that no one needs to use stairs go ahead and do it in one swoop!


3. Use the pry bar to wedge behind the nails and wooden strip and use hammer to tap it loose.  Getting the pry bar directly behind the nail helps you remove the entire strip at once rather than breaking it apart into pieces.  Easier removal and less to clean up!



4. Use the pliers to remove the staples from where the padding was being held down.


This is the tedious part. Some of the staples will be wedged down pretty tight into the stair and you may have to work them out.

5. Repeat over and over and over up the stairs until all nails/staples are removed.

6. Putty any holes with wood filler.

7. Sand the stairs.


This handy little helper wanted in on the action, minus pants of course! Just another day in the Smith household.

8. Paint the risers and white trim on sides of stairs white to add some light and openness to the otherwise dark staircase. I used two coats of white paint that we had on hand from previous projects.  (You obviously can skip this step if you are staining everything!



Two coats of white paint and looking so bright and cheery!

9. Apply the stain. I would recommend doing a small spot to make sure it matches. My dad told me which stain color he thought it would be and was dead on, but I bought 2 colors to just try both in case.  (Your local hardware store will take back the stain if you only use a tiny amount, which is all you need to test the color!)  We have 14 stairs and still had leftover stain from the tiny jar (4$).


10. Apply the polyurethane as a last step! Open up the windows to allow the smell to escape.


Finished product!

Truly an easy weekend project that is affordable, easy, and anyone can do with minimal supplies and cost.  I love the way our stairs look and feel and we can cross another project off the list!

Cannot wait to hear about your summer weekend projects and how your stairs turn out!





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  • Reply
    Bernice Wolen
    June 1, 2018 at 11:52 am

    The stairs look awesome!

    • Reply
      June 1, 2018 at 11:59 am

      Seriously so easy! Now I’m ready to pull up the carpet in living room and make my dad teach me how to put hardwood in! He says I need to learn patience but I say YOLO 😂🤷‍♀️

    • Reply
      June 7, 2018 at 2:37 pm

      Thanks! Weve been really pleased, ready to tackle next project now!

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