As I have said many times before, I’m very indecisive. I had mentioned in one of my previous posts, The New Vinyl Plank Flooring in the Entry Room, we had decided not to stain the stairs and to install the vinyl plank flooring we used in the main portion of the entry room on the stairs too. However, once again, that plan has changed. I thought about it a lot and realized that staining the stairs makes more sense financially and therefore, only the landings will be installed with the vinyl flooring.
I thought this would be a pretty simple project. Yes, I knew it would be a lot of work, but in the sense of difficulty level, I figured this was on the lower end. I soon found out that staining the stairs would be a much more difficult process than anticipated. The main reason it was so challenging was because I had a really hard time getting the color right. I wanted to get the stairs as close to the color of the vinyl as possible, but I’ll get to that later…
The first step in this process was removing the carpet, padding, and all the staples and nails.
Once that was completed, we stripped the paint off the stairs using a paint stripper and a scraper.
Then I used wood filler to full in all the large holes from the nails and Staples. Then it was time to sand. I used a 50 grit sand paper to remove any leftover paint we weren’t able to get off with the paint stripper, then a 220 grit sand paper to smooth out the wood.
So to be honest, I royally screwed up on the stairs the first time around. It took me multiple tries to get the stairs right and it was a long and exhausting process that took me weeks. I thought the prep part was going to be the hardest part of this project, but turns out the actual staining part was the real bitch. Here’s what went wrong…
I decided to use a Minwax Polyshades Stain instead of the Minwax Wood Finish stain (which is the classic stain most people use because its a combo of stain and polyurethane. I was hoping it would make the process much quicker since I wouldn’t have to seal the stain with a polyurethane. I bought a tester of the Espresso color and hoped it would match the flooring, but after 1 coat I didn’t think it was going to cut it. I felt like it was too light and too red. That’s the thing though, I only did one coat. Of course I am super impatient so I decided to go back to Lowes and pick up a different color.
This time I went with the Polyshades formula again, except this time I decided to try the classic black color seeing as how I thought the Espresso was too light.
I was wayy to dark, so I went back to the Espresso and did a second coat this time and it was almost a perfect match.
Since I only bought a tester of the Epresso the first time around I went back to Lowes and picked up a quart. However, when I got back and applied the stain to the next step, it looked nothing like it did the first time around. It was red.
I had ombre stairs and at this point I was about to give up and live with those ombre stairs because nothing was turning out the way I had hoped.
And I did live with them for a little over a week. I just needed a break from the stair fiasco. After I had some time to get over how annoyed I was that I totally screwed up the stairs and wasted all of that time for nothing, I sanded the stairs down again and started from scratch. This time I decided to do a combo of the Minwax Jacobean and the Polyshades Espresso. I realized I had screwed up with the quart size Espresso and didn’t mix it enough before I applied it. I’m an idiot…
After sanding down the stairs again I used a tack cloth to make sure all the dust was properly removed. Then I applied 1 coat of Jacobean. I let it dry for about 4 hours and then I went back and applied 1 coat of Espresso. About 6 hours later I applied another coat of the Espresso. I finally realized that the floors and the stairs would never match and I was just going to have to deal with it, but I at least wanted the stairs to be darker than the floors.
Now that I’ve finally found the color I want, it’s time to finish staining the rest of the stairs, caulk, and paint the risers and trim.
To Be Continued….