Sunday 31 July 2016

Replacing Broadloom Carpet with a Stair Runner | The details!

So, we replaced the carpet on our stairs with a runner. You can read about it here. Now for all the work that was involved!

1.  Removing the existing carpet, underlay, tack strips & nails

Materials needed: 
Flat head screw driver

Removing the carpet is the easiest part, as long as you know where to start - and that's at the top!
  • Use a flat head screwdriver and pull up a corner of the old carpet at the top of the staircase.
  • If you have a staircase with a turn, the winders (triangular steps that turn corners) are all laid separately, each of these will come up in individual pieces. 

  • When you get to the top of the steps going straight across the carpet will pull off in one big piece.

Next the underlay. On our stairs this was attached with glue and nails.
  • The underlay is easily removed by giving each piece a good pull - the underlay and most of the nails will pull up.
  • Once the underlay has been removed the tack strips and any remaining nails need to be pulled up. 
  • Pry the tack strips up with the end of a large flat head screwdriver. TIP: Make sure to wear gloves when removing the strips. The grips are extremely sharp!

  • Once the tack strips are removed use the end of a hammer to pull up the nails that attached the underlay and tack strips. 
  • A pliers will pull up any nails that the hammer can't remove.

Now the stairs are ready to be sanded and filled.

2.  Preparing the stairs for painting

Materials needed:
Coarse sandpaper

This next bit required a lot of time, effort and tons of elbow grease. FYI we have two sets of stairs, which meant twice the work. I also almost sanded my finger prints off in the process. Another TIP: Wear gloves!
  • Vacuum to remove any leftover pieces of rubber and dirt from the underlay.
  • Again, starting at the top of the stairs use coarse sandpaper to sand the sides. This will remove the glue and rubber residue. 
  • Sanding the stairs will also smooth the steps and give the paint a good surface to adhere to.
  • Work your way down vacuuming the dust as you go.

3.  Adding a beading detail to stair risers

Materials needed:
Nail gun
Wood glue

The stairs were ready to be painted but I wanted to add a beading detail underneath each step first. These were fitted by a carpenter.

I added this detail to balance out the proportion of the top of each step to the riser (the back of the step). It's not necessary but it enhances the steps and makes the staircase look a little more lavish.

4.  Filling, priming and painting stairs

Materials needed:
Putty knife
Fine sandpaper
Sugar soap, warm water and a lint free cloth
1 inch paint brush
Masking tape
Zinsser primer
Wevet, satin finish - Farrow & Ball

This stage took absolutely ages! I filled, sanded, primed and painted over the course of about three weekends - whenever I could fit it in...

  • Fill any holes about four inches from the sides of each step (where you will be painting) with polyfilla - these include the holes where the panel pins attach the beading, the edges of the beading where it meets the stairs, and any holes on the stairs where pins were used to attach the underlay.
  • Sand the polyfilla when dry.
  • Wash the stairs with warm water and sugar soap using a J-cloth to remove any dirt and grease and prepare the steps for painting.
  • Using a one inch paint brush prime the edges of the steps with 1 - 2 coats of primer. I used Zinsser.
  • When dry using a small roller and paint tray paint three coats of your paint of choice onto the edge of each step using a 1 inch paint brush to paint the corners.
  • Allow to dry for at least a week before installing carpet. The paint - although dry - can still be slightly soft for up to 30 days.

5.  Final fitting of carpet

The hard part (for me anyway) was finally done! The stair runner was ready to be fitted.

It's in! It's new! It's so soft underfoot! This project (despite all the hard work!) was definitely a success.

* Just to mention... The sides of the steps show up all the dust (especially if painted white like ours) and have to be either vacuumed or wiped with a damp cloth about twice a week. It only takes a minute or two but if not done regularly the dust build up will get really annoying! I'm prepared to keep ours dust free, but it's just something to consider.


1. Carpet - Super Value Carpets

2. Beading detail - Fabwood 087 6364193

3. Primer - Zinsser

4. Paint - Wevet, Farrow & Ball, Interior Wood & Metal finish


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