Introduction: Stair Remodel - DIY Renovation

About: My name is Johnny and I am a woodworker in NYC. Check out my Instagram to see what I'm currently working on @jtwoodworks and you can visit my YouTube channel to see videos on these Instructables and other proj…

This is the entrance to our house and it's a bit tight so I want to open up the space to bring this area more up to date. I removed a wall, added shiplap, wallpaper, and so much more!

Step 1: Remove the Sheetrock

This is the entrance to our house and it's a bit tight so I want to open up the space to bring this area more up to date.

I know I’ll need to use some drywall later on in this project so I want to be careful removing it and try to keep them in large sections. I used a magnet to find the screws, then I removed them and used a drywall jab saw to cut out the drywall.

I’m only removing what I know will need to go from this side. Once I remove the drywall from the stairs side of the wall, I can mark where I need to cut the drywall. I put the saw in the inside corners of the steps and poked the saw through the drywall. Then connected those dots, removed the screws and took this out as one piece

Step 2: Remove the Studs and Frame the Wall

The studs are pretty quick to take out with a sledgehammer but I do need to open the door to have enough room to take them out. I took out the first three and the rest of them will get cut at the same angle as the stairs.

To make that easier to mark, I put a 2x4 on the steps and used a square on top of the 2x4 to mark both sides of the stud and connected those on the front. Marking it this way means the wall will be a little taller than the steps, which is what I want.

Step 3: Moving the Light Switch

I had a light switch in the wall that I removed and I need to relocate it. I'm not an electrician so I won't give advice on this step. I spoke with an electrician and he guided me through this process.

Step 4: Remove, Refinish, and Install the Steps

The stairs are painted white and the wall will change a bit but will stay white. I want to add warm colors to this area so I started sanding the steps back to bare wood. This is very difficult! The Paint is very thick and there are a lot of dents and cracks trapping the paint. The quicker way to do this is remove the steps and flip them upside down.

The stairs are nailed in so they’re a little difficult to remove but this was the simplest way that I figured out. I first hit the steps up and then back down. This usually lifted all the nails enough to pry them out and I used the handle of the mallet to get a little more height to make it easier.

Next I sanded all the treads and added a clear coat. Once that dried, I reinstalled them using a framing nailer.

Step 5: Add Drywall

With the stairs back in, I can tackle the drywall. I thought to use the piece that was originally here since it was already cut out for the stairs but it wasn’t cut very accurately and there was a big gap at the bottom. The new piece was pretty simple to figure out and cut with the drywall saw. My cuts definitely aren’t perfect but it’s better than what was here before.

I also screwed on blocks to support the bottom corner of the drywall and screwed that in. Now I can add the rest of the sheetrock and start mudding and taping. This is not my favorite part and not something I'm very good with. If you have any tips, please let me know in the comments and I’ll keep them in mind for the next project.

Step 6: Shiplap Paneling on the Wall

Now I can move on to the shiplap and rather than using actual shiplap boards, I’m ripping down ⅛” MDF strips. This turned out to be significantly cheaper and wasn’t that much more work.

I cut these strips to match the height of the risers and treads when I add a ¼” spacer. Doing it this way means I don’t need to notch every piece around the steps. I thought about using an adhesive for these panels but a brad nailer turned out to be more than enough to hold everything securely to the wall.

Next up was paint and I’m using a brush to get the gaps and sides of the panels and then I roll on the rest. The MDF soaks up a lot and it helps a lot to add a primer first. I did two coats of primer and two coats of white paint.

Step 7: Wallpaper on the Risers

There’s one more thing to do the steps and Chasing Paper was kind enough to provide wallpaper for the stair risers. This is peel and stick wallpaper which is so easy to apply. I peeled the backing and lined it up against the wall, stuck it to the riser, and cut off the excess. The roll isn’t wide enough for the entire step so I cut smaller sections to finish the pattern.

Step 8: Trim and Dowels on the Diagonal Wall

Back in the shop I cut this board to make a wide C channel to fit over the diagonal wall as a trim piece. I know some of you aren’t happy that I’m painting this piece of maple but, my house, my rules.

Then I screwed in the vertical trim from behind the stud. And the one on top I screwed through the face and counterbored the holes so the screws sit below the surface.

The screws will be covered with dowels and I was thinking of a few different ways to attach them. I ended up drilling a hole in the ceiling through the drywall and into the wood behind it. I added glue to both ends of the dowel, made sure it was level and sat centered to the bottom piece and tacked it in with the brad nailer. I was very surprised with how solid these turned out.

Step 9: Final Touches

The last couple of things to do are add the handrail which I painted black and add the trim which I painted white.

Step 10: It's All Done!

The goal of this project was to add more space to our entryway to make it feel more open and to bring it more up to date. And I couldn’t be happier with how this turned out.

Watch the full renovation video here -

If you’re new to my channel, I usually build smaller furniture pieces and home renovation isn’t my normal content but there’s more to come. So be sure to subscribe and hit the bell so you don’t miss future videos. Thanks!

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