Stair Tread Finishing
LESLIE: Well, if you’re thinking about removing carpet, you’d be like our friend Larry in West Virginia. How can we help you with the project?
LARRY: Hi, guys. I love the show.
TOM: Thank you.
LARRY: Try to catch you every weekend.
TOM: Thank you very much.
LARRY: I had a problem. I had a tree fall in the house and I had an extensive remodeling going on. I put hardwood floors downstairs but the stairs going to my upper level are carpeted and I’d really like to take that carpet off and do all this myself. But I’m wondering what’s under that carpet? Am I going to have to replace the treads or is it one piece of wood or …?
TOM: Are the stairs completely covered, Larry?
LARRY: Yes, I have no way of knowing what could be under there.
TOM: OK. Well, first of all, how old is this house?
LARRY: About 25 years.
TOM: Chances are that the stairs are paint-grade – in other words, they were never designed to be really exposed; so that’s something you should be aware of. When you get the carpet off, you’re going to have an unfinished tread there and you’re going to have to decide if you want to paint it, stain it, whatever.
LESLIE: And if it’s paint-grade, it’s not going to look right with stain.
LARRY: Oh, it is – oh.
TOM: No. No. Now, when you take the carpet off, I will tell you that it’s going to be a really messy job. Having pulled carpet off stairs, there’s a gazillion staples and you have all of those years of dirt in there and you’ll end up sneezing up a storm or getting an allergy attack or something like that; so it’s kind of a nasty, dirty job. Lots of ventilation; dust mask; pull them off; lots of patience.
Then you’re going to have to evaluate what you’ve got. I mean worse comes to worse, you can always recarpet. But remember, underneath that is probably not going to be a finished step.
LARRY: Well, OK. That’s what I was aiming for. I’d like to have maybe not finished but at least wood that I could finish myself.
TOM: Alright, well certainly you could do that with a lot of patience. OK, Larry? (Leslie chuckles)
LARRY: Yep. Alright, thank you.
TOM: Alright, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.