Carpet to Wood Stairs


Since Justin and I just finished the stair makeover in our home a few months ago, when ever I see wood stair transformations I just can’t help but see if I can show them off! Be ready to have your socks knocked off when you see this one.

 carpeted stair update to wooden stair tutorial


Submitted By: SAS Interiors

Jenna is a creative bargain-hunter, Interior Designer, and Writer of NY-based Interior Design firm & Home Decor Blog, SAS Interiors.  Jenna delivers smart, stylish, and sophisticated design solutions for the home and strives to inspire others to think outside-the-box.  She has a passion for DIY projects and loves sharing many of her trade-secret decorating tips!  Connect with Jenna at SAS Interiors, as well asFacebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.


It all started with removing the carpet!  I love how they took each stair off individually to keep the project more manageable and avoid the extra mess!  (for greater step details check it out here).

removing carpet from stairs for wood stair makeover


To avoid damage to the wood stairs they used a cat paw and hammer to gently remove the tack strips. And then they had to work on removing the staples!  Cuz no one wants to step on those! OUCH!

removing tack strip from wood stairs makeover


The transition to the carpeted stairs was easy but important!  Jenna shows you how she did it here.  The result was a clean transition from wood to carpet… SMART!

carpet transition on wood stairs


The second phase of the staircase makeover had a ton more work.  Including sanding the stairs, filling the gazillion holes from the carpet tacks and staples, and staining the treads. So let’s jump right in and get started!

What the sanding did for the stairs?  A LOT!

carpeted stairs to wood sanding the wood


Once the stairs were smooth she filled any holes with a stainable natural wood filler. and sanded again.

Staining, came next, it seemed a little scary at first but she learned just how easy it can be… Stain used Minwax Wood Finish in Ebony (3 coats!) with Rustoleum Polyurethane (water-based) in a gloss finish.  Because they still needed to be able to use their stairs, she stained every other stair… (which is what we did too!)

how to redo stairs staining the treads


Once the third coat of stain was complete, she sealed the stairs with polyurethane 2-3 coats of polyurethane.  Next she primed and painted… and painted… and painted, (remember a few thin coats is better than a thick gloppy one coat mess!)

diy stair treads staining wood stairs



Once she taped everything she primed it all with a thin coat of stain blocking  Benjamin Moore Fresh Start Primer. All primed and ready for paint!  Once the primer was dry, which didn’t take long, it was time for the 2 coats of Benjamin Moore Aura paint in Snowfall White.

 painting stair treads white staircase makeover carpet to wood


I love her advice for avoiding drips… “to avoid fast drying paint so you can fix those drips, it’s important to use a paint additive like Floetrol.  Learn more about that from my post on Tips for Painting Furniture.”  I’ve never used that… I am trying it next time!

She painted the handrails and newel posts Benjamin Moore Texas Leather.

To hide the small gaps where the riser and runner meet, she added a small molding.  Voila, the gap was hidden!

carpeted stairs to wood molding the gaps


Once the tape had all been removed, the stairs were basically done – lets look back at the progress shall we?!

carpeted stairs to wood


And now the reveal!!

carpeted stairs to wood how to redo stairs

carpeted stairs to wood how to redo stairs

carpeted stairs to wood how to redo stairs redoing stairs


Jenna was a little worried about the stairs being to hard and possibly slippery for her family. She came up with an awesome solution.  Sisal carpet treads with velcro backings to hold them in place!

carpeted stairs to wood how to redo stairs

Sisal Carpet Treads!  I love how she used the natural area rugs to keep the stairs from being slick.  More info on the rugs here.  I absolutely love the look of these rugs!

stairs transformed from carpet to wood treads


Didn’t she do a great job!?!

If you are interested in doing this to your stairs be sure to check out these other stair remodels – including mine!!!

And it’s complete! What do you think?  Have you ever considered giving your stairs a makeover?

Be sure to check out these carpet to wood stair transformations!


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Cassity Kmetzsch started Remodelaholic after graduating from Utah State University with a degree in Interior Design. Remodelaholic is the place to share her love for knocking out walls, and building everything back up again to not only add function but beauty to her home. Together with her husband Justin, they have remodeled 6 homes and are working on a seventh. She is a mother of four amazing girls. Making a house a home is her favorite hobby.

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  1. I LOVE the stairs! Dark wood & light paint is one of my favorite finishes – I wish I had my own stairs to do like this, but alas, we are renters, and I’m pretty sure the homeowner would not go for a DIY undertaking such as this 🙁

  2. Whow do you handle the landing at the top of the stairs if you have carpet? Did you rip that up as well? I have not seen this discussed in any of the stair tutorials. Thanks for your help!

  3. GORGEOUS!!!!! I want black stairs with white risers so badly! But the builder said I couldn’t do that because the wood was pine. Is that true? I realize pine is a soft wood and dings pretty easily, but with those sisal stair runners, could I do it?

    Thanks so much, and again, the stairs are beautiful.


  4. I am wondering how loud does it seem when you go from carpeted stairs to wood? I have two boys that go up and down stairs. Our room is below the stairs. The carpet looks awful and I would love to rip it up. We have open stairs, no risers. Its an old staircase, with old iron railings. Not pretty. Any ideas?

    1. Suzanne, if your room is directly below the stairs, then it might be a little too loud to rip out the carpet, but you could rip the carpet out and refinish them then add a stair runner, there are some great runners from Dash and Albert that are affordable. You just need to make sure they are securely attached to your stairs.

  5. Hello, your stairs look great! i am currently looking into doing the same for my carpeted stairs. Do you happen to know what wood your stairs were made of? I currently have a painted wood under the carpet and was told to buy oak threads. Thank you

    1. The stair treads in this project are pine. I also had pine on mine, it is softer, so oak treads are nice if you have the extra cash, if not, you can always try out pine.

  6. WOW, the stairs and railing look amazing! this is now added to my must do list, our carpet looks horrible on our stairs. Can you tell me the make and color of the paint that you used for the hand part of the railing?

  7. Hi,
    We are in the process of doing something very similar but we got a contractor as we have a lot of stairs.What he told us was that because of the carpet staples and tacks, there would be holes in the wood underneath and the wood-fillers would not absorb color as the wood after staining, resulting in the holes being visible.Did you have those issues? It doesnt appear so in the pictures.Did you do anything special to make sure the color is absorbed uniformly?

    Any insight would be much appreciated.

    Thanks a bunch,

    1. Anu, we replaced the treads with new ones, 2×8’s douglas fir wood. It’s not a hardwood but it has held up fine and it stained just fine.

  8. In reference to the posting by –> anu on March 11, 2014 at 6:45 am
    ….because of the carpet staples and tacks, there would be holes in the wood underneath and the wood-fillers would not absorb color as the wood after staining, resulting in the holes being visible.Did you have those issues? It doesnt appear so in the pictures.Did you do anything special to make sure the color is absorbed uniformly?

  9. Lovely.

    …any problems with the stairs being too slippery? In other words, do you every worry about slipping and falling?