O N E. S T E P. A T. A. T I M E.
After I tore out all of the carpet, ripped up the padding, and removed the tack strips, I filled all of the staple and nail holes with wood putty. Once the putty dried, I sanded it down and filled the spots again until there were no more divots in the treads and risers. All in all, it took 3 coats of wood putty to completely level the stairs.
A F T E R
Then it was time to edge the stair treads. I taped off the tops of the treads to have a crisp line on each step - Some of the paint bled through the tape anyways, but it was much easier to touchup a few spots rather than have a steady hand the entire time.
Now, it was time for the stair treads -if you're living where you're redoing the stairs, it's very important to paint or stain every other step; otherwise, you'll be stuck on one floor or the other.
If you are painting your stair treads, it's also crucial to use a PORCH & FLOOR paint. Not all paints are durable enough to withstand foot traffic. Initially, I wanted to try and match the hardwood flooring, but I felt that it looked cheap. So, I decided to go with a much darker option - Off Broadway by Sherwin Williams.
B E F O R E
Next, I painted the risers. It's much easier to edge a flat surface than a vertical surface, so I wasn't worried about getting paint on the stair treads - if I were staining the treads rather than painting them, I would have been more careful.
After the first coat, I noticed more spots in the wood that needed to be filled, so I applied another coat of wood putty.
I love the look of original hardwood floors throughout a space, but I prefer the feel of plush carpet beneath my feet. So, I understand why people opt to carpet stairs rather than refinish the wood, but I feel that it's important to have hardwood flooring in high traffic areas like stairwells and hallways. When I removed the carpet and painted the stair treads in my place - like any project - it took a lot of patience, but it wasn't as difficult as I had originally anticipated.