Painted Wood Stair Remodel

A stair remodel is such a breathtaking way to make a difference in your entry. When I see a good stair remodel, I love to share with you! Today our guest is sharing how she and her husband tore up the carpet on their stairs and recovered the wood treads to get this:


Some other Remodelaholic stair remodels:

stair remodel, SAS Interiors on RemodelaholicCarpet to Wood Stairs | SAS Interiors on Remodelaholic

wood stair remodel under $100, Cleverly Inspired on RemodelaholicCarpeted Stair to Wooden Tread Makeover | Cleverly Inspired on Remodelaholic

open stair remodel, The Henry Family Adventures on RemodelaholicOpening up a Staircase | The Henry Family Adventures on Remodelaholic

And, of course, my very favorite…

Remodelaholic stair remodel with custom newell posts…our remodeled wood staircase with custom newel posts.

And now, I’ll turn you over to Jennifer for the details of her stair remodel.  

Painted Wood Stair Remodel

by Jennifer of Classic Style Home

I’m Jennifer from Classic Style Home and I’m so excited to share my DIY wood stair remodel with you!



I have always loved interior design, but DIY remodeling has become my passion. I never set out to do an entire house remodel because I did not think our budget or skills would make it possible. My husband and I started with a few projects like hanging crown moulding and adding bookcases next to our fireplace. I couldn’t believe the difference a little woodwork made to our builder grade home. As I gained confidence in my designs and my husband in his woodworking skills, our projects got bigger and bigger.

We did a total kitchen makeover that had all of our neighbors knocking on our door. This is about the time I decided to start my blog since word of mouth had people wanting to see pictures and details. Our biggest project was converting an unused formal living room to a home office. You can read more about these projects and others here. We have hired professionals for jobs we did not feel comfortable doing ourselves, like building two 17 foot walls for the home office. But, we have always done the majority of the work ourselves to save money and to preserve my design plan since my style is completely different from what’s popular in this area of the country. Contractors have tried to talk me out of ideas in the past, but once they see it finished they love it and take pictures to show future clients. There’s not a better compliment!

Our stair remodel is one of our latest and most popular projects. Here is the before.

carpeted stairs before the painted stair remodel, Classic Style Home on Remodelaholic

Not only do wood stairs fit the aesthetic of my home, but I knew if we put down new carpet on the stairs it wouldn’t last a year between three boys and a new puppy. The contractor we used in the past gave us a $2000 estimate. It was not in the budget at the time since we had just completed the office, but I could not stand to have that old carpet in our house one more day. Two days before Christmas, I turned to my husband and asked if he wanted to rip up the carpet and try to do it ourselves. We didn’t have anything to lose because the carpet was on it’s way out no matter what.

stair remodel, tearing up the carpet

Unfortunately, we did not have nice wood under the carpet. I figured as much, but I think my husband was holding out hope the wood could be stained or painted. My plan was to cover up the wood stairs with new treads (the step) and risers (the facing), so we bought a couple of unfinished pieces to try and figure out how it would work. I knew it was too simple because other people would have done this before. The problem is the original tread sticks out 3/4″ in front of the riser causing a lip. I couldn’t cover the riser because of it. My husband gave up and said there’s no way to make the pieces come together correctly. I kept playing with it and realized we just needed shims. These two boards act as the shims under the tread and there are also shims behind the riser.

use wood shims for stair remodel

On the landing, we used wood the same width as our downstairs flooring and even tried to copy the pattern.

stair remodel landing

My husband came up with a great solution for getting weird corners perfect when he was laying this floor down. Place a piece of wood along the edge of the wall with the weird angle.

measuring angle for wooden tread stair remodel

Then draw a line behind the board, which is where you will cut. Pretty nifty, eh?

measuring cut angle for wooden tread stair remodel

The view from the top of the stairs.

wooden stair remodel



The riser is supposed to rest on top of the tread, which is how we initially built it. The steps just felt too narrow this way because the shims behind the riser takes up a couple of inches of tread space. But, no one would ever notice that detail!

Not including the painting, it took about two days to complete. We spent about $500 on the lumber, which we bought at Home Depot. I do not mind two days of hard work if it saves us $1500!

The next step was to paint or stain the stairs. I debated between painting the stairs black and white to match the railing or staining them a dark color to match the floors. I tested out a few stains, but they looked blotchy despite sanding so the only option was to paint. I have to admit I was nervous about painting the stairs because of peeling and scratches so I tried to do the best painting job possible. I know from experience to use oil based paint for best results on wood. Don’t listen to the salesmen that try to tell you latex is just as good now. It’s not! I have used Sherwin Williams oil based paint in the past and it’s amazing. It was a no brainer that I would use it for the stairs. Here it is finished!



My plan was to immediately buy a runner for the stairs to protect the paint, but we are not able to have rugs right now because our new puppy isn’t completely housebroken. But, I am so pleasantly surprised by this paint. After months of very heavy use we still don’t have any scratches! I can’t believe the amount of dirt that collects on these stairs every few days, but it comes clean. That’s the best part of this remodel!

Great job, Jennifer! See what else Jennifer has been doing to beautify her home over at Classic Style Home

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Lorene has been behind the scenes here at Remodelaholic for more than a decade! She believes that planning projects and actually completing them are two different hobbies, but that doesn't stop her from planning at least a dozen projects at any given time. She spends her free time creating memories with her husband and 5 kids, traveling as far as she can afford, and partaking of books in any form available.

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  1. Hi I love this project, however im a newbie and dont know much so I would love to know what kind of wood you bought from HD (name and measures) , and please share the color or stain used for the steps /landing and rails. Much appreciated, thanks!

  2. Ive lived in a town home for 13 years and have slowly remodeled floors-tile and wood, walls-moldings and some beadboard, and gutted both bathrooms and painted the kitchen cabinets, added tile back splash, and new counters. But the stairs just were awful carpet. I so wanted wood stairs! My projects had all been completed with help of gifts of materials and labor from my parents. DIY style! So about 5 years ago they gave me stair treds! I LOVE THEM! We painted the risers and finished the stairs a honey oak. They do wear well and are so much nicer to walk on!

  3. Your stairs look fantastic! What kind of wood did you use for the treads and risers. (It almost looks like unfinished hardwood flooring.)

  4. Hello, I love your stairway remodel but I especially love paint color on your walls! Do you know what color that is? Looks like a bluish/grayish color of some sort. If you can can you please email me and let me knwo what color that is? Thanks!


    1. Beautiful job on the stairs! Also getting ready to remodel are stairway, but wondering what color are on the walls? matches perfect,. thank you!

  5. Really nice job on the stairs. I’m trying to redo my raised ranch (vintage 1977) kitchen, stairs etc. and came across your remodel. Can you tell me how to overcome going down the stairs and not being able to see the edge. Scared peripheral vision may be off and won’t be able to see the edge. Want to use the powder blue, black white, chrome color scheme in the kitchen and can’t seem to find any good kitchen remodel suggestions without raising roof. Any thoughts?

  6. Great minds think alike! I’m in the process of doing the same thing to my stairs. Looks like we even used the same laminate flooring- handscraped canyon grenadillo from home depot and almost identical chandeliers in the dining area. My color scheme is different- Valspar macadamia with ultra white crown moulding and trim and Olympic dark granite for the stair treads with ultranwhite risers. Your gorgeous remodel gave me confidence that I’m on the right track.

  7. Beautiful job on the stairs and I love your wall paint color. I’d love to know the color and brand you used. 🙂

    1. Hi Lauren! I’m not sure if Jennifer if still monitoring the comments here, but you can click over to her site (linked at the top and bottom of the post) and ask there for sure. Thanks!

  8. Great job. Your stairs look great. We are in the process of doing something with our stairs wood stairs. They are a mess because of our dog- he has scratched them up so badly. Thanks for the tips!