A DIY staircase makeover that is quick and easy. Save time and effort with this special trick to fix and update the stair risers on a small budget.
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This is how the stairs started out! See more before pictures of our new to us house here.
I have been dreaming of how to makeover my stairs and stair risers for some time now. I shared my favorite staircase makeover ideas with you a few days ago.
When we got the house, we got rid of the carpet. The stairs had hardwood underneath but it was pretty beaten up and had to be replaced.
We decided to install wood look vinyl to match the kitchen and the entryway. We ended up hiring out all the flooring installation and I talk more about it in this post. This is what we were left with after the installation.
UPDATE – Fast forward 3 years later, the vinyl plank flooring started to come apart. This time, we changed everything ourselves. Check out all the details on how to install vinyl plank flooring including on a staircase.
Nothing a bit of wood putty, caulking and paint couldn’t handle.
Or that’s what I thought… until I spent about 20 minutes filling a million holes and cracks in this little area…
I couldn’t imagine how long it would take to do 14 stairs – some of which looked like below because the hardwood treads had to be cut out.
Quick stair riser update idea
The thought of spending an unknown number of hours fixing all those stairs was just what I needed to keep procrastinating on it…Until… I had an idea!!
I could just cover it all up! I could rip up thin plywood and nail it on – instant smooth stair risers!
Plus I could paint it before attaching it! No need to tape and worry about getting paint on the new stairs! S0 that’s what I did!!
And guess how long it took! 2.5 hours!
That’s right! Two and a half hours TOTAL from start to finish!!! Plus only cost about $15 too! Of course, that is just for the stair risers.
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- 1 sheet of 7/32″ Plywood underlayment.
- WORX BladeRunner X2 or table saw
- Paint color of your choice
- Paint Sprayer – My new favorite is this one.
- Spray Shelter
- Metallic Silver paint pen
- 1 ¼” finish nails
- Brad nailer
How to update the staircase
I have a quick video showing you what I did. Of course, written instructions with more details follow.
Step by step tutorial
Step 1 – Measure and cut
- Measure the height and width of each stair riser.
- Cutt up the underlayment into strips for each riser using a table saw or a BladeRunner X2.
Tip – Number and keep track of each riser so you know exactly where it goes.
Step 2 – Paint the boards
- Prime and paint all the boards in the color of your choice. I used my paint sprayer. for a smooth finish but a roller works as well. Overall it is so much faster and easier than taping and painting the stair risers in place.
Step 3 – Draw the pattern
This is obviously and optional step and you can pick any pattern or color you want to use!
To keep things neutral and simple because the decor in the space is still evolving and I want to see where it goes. So, I ended up channeling my inner Mandy Gubler to draw the stripes with a paint pen 🙂
I used 4 ” spacing between the stripes and a yardstick to make all the marks and draw the lines with a silver sharpie. Since the stair risers were laid out in sequence, it was easy to draw the lines to keep the continuity.
UPDATE – For my new stair risers, I decided to stick with the same pattern but used a black paint pen instead.
Step 4 – Attach
- Once ready, attach them to the stair risers using a brad nailer and 1-¼″ finish nails.
- Fix up the edges and nail holes with caulking and wood putty and touch up with paint where needed.
Clean bright stairs with a hint of personality.
I love the subtle look of the silver lines. They look bold grey in the day and shimmer at different angles as the light changes.
Let’s talk time involved. I didn’t do everything the same day because of drying times etc but the total time for the project was just a bit over 2.5 hours.
Marking and drawing the lines was definitely the most time-consuming process. Everything else was super quick. It took about 30 minutes to rip up the plywood, 30 minutes to paint the stair risers including setup and clean up, about an hour to draw the lines and then another 30 minutes to nail the stairs and apply caulk. I had to do a few paint touch ups later which took about 10 minutes.
Over all it is SO much better than having to fill out all those holes and gaps and tape and paint!!
Before I go, I leave you with a side by side of the before and after –