The Cost of those Stairs!

Making your home look beautiful definitely has a price tag. Home renovation projects aren’t cheap, especially if they are anything major (I.e.: kitchen, bathroom, etc).

Small changes can have a huge impact, with a relatively low price tag. I have a lot of people ask me the price of the projects I feature on my blog, with many assuming the cost is high. Some of our home renovations do cost a good amount of money, but not all. Recently, I featured the refinishing of our stairs. The entire project cost less than $100.00, but took a significant amount of time. If I had to pay someone to do the work, it would have cost me 10x as much, due to the labour involved. I can assure you that a high price tag on stairs would NEVER fly with my husband… I mean never!

The cost looked something like this…

2 cans of Paint Stripper @ $26.99 each

1 quart of white paint @ $24.00

1 small tin of Gel Stain @ $14.85

Total Cost $92.83

Always keep in mind the price of a project versus the value of your home. You don’t want to put more money into your home than you will get out of it, purely from an aesthetic perspective. Maintaining the structure and mechanics of your home should always be the first priority, making it “pretty” can come later.

Making it “pretty” it the best part though! 😉





Stairway to Heaven?!

My stair project has felt like a lifetime to complete, officially lasting 2 months… unreal! Every time I worked on them I thought of the early 70’s Led Zeppelin song, Stairway to Heaven, a song/project that never seemed to end.

The stairs are finally done. I am thrilled with the results!

A reminder of the before…


And now the after! (Excuse the shine from the flash and light!)


Since the weather has been so terrible, I haven’t had a chance to take a photo that really does the stairs justice.

As mentioned in a previous post, I used an eco friendly paint and stain stripper. The process took significantly longer, but it did not smell. That extremely toxic smell wasn’t something I was interested in exposing my husband or dog to.

This set of stairs lead to our bedrooms and are a “main artery” of our home. There is no other way to get to our top floor, meaning my project needed to be done in steps. (Excuse the pun!)

After finally taking the stair and riser to the raw wood, I sanded each by hand.


If you are looking to stain your step but paint the riser, you need to do your staining first. I used the same colour as the first set I did leading from the foyer to the main level. The type of wood that make up the stairs is different than the flooring and therefore, would not stain the same. I went dark to do a complete contrast but complimentary, the colour matches a lot of our furniture.

I am a huge fan of gel stains, as they are easier to work with and more forgiving. All you need is an old cloth and rubber gloves and you are ready to go!



I needed to do every other stair so we could still use the staircase on a daily basis.


The finished product turned out great! I did a few coats of sealer to ensure the stain is protected. The shine does go down after about a month. Last thing to do… the railing! 🙂



The Never-ending Stairs!

Finally, after 3 solid years the stairs leading from the living room to the bedrooms finally got to me. They had to change.

When we bought the house the stairs had hand painted shapes on them. Since it wasn’t a priority like other jobs around the house, the staircase was left alone. Our home is a side split, meaning the stairs are a focal point in a high traffic area. They look like this…


Sooo…. as you can see not really my style. I like the concept of the raisers being white and the step being stained wood, just the added detail had to go.

Backing up the truck a few months, when we were thinking of selling our house and had it on the market, we had to redo the bottom entry way staircase. Reason being, our dog rips down them and had marked them up very badly. We needed to fix them quickly, which wasn’t easy being a very high traffic area. Since time was of the essence, my husband sanded the step part just so I could re-stain them. With the final result looking like this…


Even though we love our dog to pieces and he is like our child, he isn’t allowed upstairs in the bedrooms. Therefore, the second staircase isn’t as marked up.

First problem- The livingroom floor is a light colored wood. The type of wood on the floor and the staircases are different, meaning the color of stain won’t turn out the same. I discovered this when we did the first set of stairs. Instead of trying to color match I decided to do a complete contrast. We have many piece of furniture with the same color of dark wood, so it flows nicely.

Learning from our first experience, we decided not to sand the stairs with an electric sander. Honestly, it made a complete and utter mess! I am grateful I did not have to sand or clean up the first set of stairs, my husband did it all. So, this second set is all ME!!! 😉

The raisers have been painted a few times. Multiple layers of paint never looks great. I was hoping to strip both the stain and paint. Only thing, paint strippers smell SO bad!!! We didn’t want that in our home for weeks on end. I sourced a paint and stain stripper that was eco-friendly and did not smell. I purchased the remover at Benjamin Moore.

product-smartstripA downfall of the product is it takes significantly longer than a normal paint stripper. The consistency is like a gel and you need to let it sit on the paint or stain for hours. BUT… it does not smell, a trade off I am willing to take!


The project has taken a month with 2 more stairs to go. It is a very slow process but I am hopeful it will be worth the time and effort in the end when the finish is clean and fresh!

Stay tuned for the final result!