LESLIE: Dan in Illinois needs some help with hardwood flooring. What can we do for you?
DAN: I live in a bi-level house.
DAN: We have carpeting on the stairs and we want to get rid of it. And I’d like to put a hard wood and I’d like to know what material I should use; whether I should use regular hardwood flooring that they put in bedrooms and hallways or …
TOM: To replace the stair treads?
DAN: Just to – not to replace them but to replace the carpeting.
TOM: Hmm. It’s difficult to add hardwoods to a staircase. There is a type of sort of end cap – if it’s a half-open stair – where you could have sort of – you cut off the old nosing at the edge of the stair and you put like an end cap so it looks like it’s a hardwood floor there. But you have to have carpet for the rest of it. You’ll still need sort of a carpet runner in the middle. But it’s not easy. Yeah, it’s not easy to put hardwood on top of stairs just because of the way the tread is shaped.
Is it a pine staircase?
TOM: OK. And have you thought about just finishing the pine? Because I mean I did that in my house; it looked pretty good.
DAN: Yeah, this is not very good-looking wood.
TOM: Well, you can stain it and you can fill in the gaps and things like that; try to get the color even. You could paint the railing. You could paint the balusters for some two-tone look and put a nice, rich runner down the middle of it. There’s not much wood left when you do that. And you know, I took a 100-year-old staircase that had about 14 coats of paint on it; got down to the real wood; stained it back to the natural finish; painted the balusters and stained the railing and it looked great.
DAN: Well, I’m really trying to get away from the carpeting.
LESLIE: I mean you could paint a runner instead of carpeting.
DAN: Oh, that’s a thought.
LESLIE: And that actually can look really pretty and allow you to be super-duper-duper creative. I’ve seen many times, in design magazines, a great carpet application but then I’ve seen it painted sort of as a knockoff where there’s a sort of variegated-sized stripe that runs the length of the stairs – as if it were going down the staircase – in a fun mix of colors – sort of like a gold-y-yellow or red or Robin’s Egg blue, some black, some green, some orange – at assorted sizes. Sort of – there’s a designer, Paul Smith, who does that sort of striping on all of his packaging and it’s almost a knockoff of that. And you can paint that right down the step itself and it looks really fun and kind of beachy and fresh.
DAN: Well, that really sounds like it would take some creativity, alright.
LESLIE: Well, and it could be a good day’s project.
DAN: I’m sure. OK, thank you.
TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.