Stair Remodel - DIY Renovation

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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 - https://youtu.be/EQGgcZjm4YI

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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    18 Comments

    0
    BillyStuart
    BillyStuart

    21 days ago

    Fantastic job with the project, the instructable, and the video!

    It always annoys me to read the comments section on this site as so many people want to tell you how they’d have done it differently.

    But it’s your home, you put in some sweat, learned a lot along the way, and ended up with a great finished project. Fantastic job!

    0
    jbtech2
    jbtech2

    Tip 7 weeks ago

    Three tips: 1. rather than primer of two coats, one not-thin coat of shellac will dry faster and also seal better on the mdf.
    2. as to patching dry wall that's textured (some call it "knock-down"), get a natural sponge (try art supply houses) and use it to texture wet spackling by gently pressing it into the wet medium/mud, and then pulling off. This leaves a textured surface that you can 'knock down' with a putty knife when semi-dry, if needed.
    3. As to wiring, get a copy of "Wiring Simplified". This paper back is updated every year to current code. It is so practical, it comes with a pre-drilled hole for hanging on a nail! I wired my entire new house using it, including meter box installation. And it's low priced.

    0
    JT Woodworks
    JT Woodworks

    Reply 6 weeks ago

    Some great tips. Thank you!

    0
    ElectroFrank
    ElectroFrank

    7 weeks ago

    Just a thought: isn't the wallpaper on the riser very soon going to be showing kick marks ?
    (Or maybe your family treads very carefully !)

    0
    JT Woodworks
    JT Woodworks

    Reply 6 weeks ago

    No matter how careful you are, they would still get marks but at least the pattern hides them a bit

    0
    tim813087
    tim813087

    6 weeks ago

    May have code issue with the stairs. In our state, minimum thread is 11 inches, maximum riser is 7 inches. Al threads and risers must be identical as measured from bull nose. If 4 or more risers, hand rail required. As a result, we end up with a lot of head knockers as in many cases, you can not get 6'-8" clearance.

    0
    charlessenf-gm
    charlessenf-gm

    6 weeks ago

    Interesting project. Creative use of materials.

    Were those stairs installed by the builder? Or added/modified after the hoe was constructed originally? The stringer was not fastened to the flooring. The treads appear to have been made with 2-by framing lumber - as were the risers.

    The fact that you had conditioned air blowing inside the stairwell cavity is a good indication of a prior (& sloppy) remodel. Did you measure the Rise and Run of the stairs? They look a bit 'steep,' though it could be the angle of the video.

    The dowels were a good idea, but the distance between them may be too great - according to 'code.' A similar concern arises with the first five or so steps because CODE may well require a railing, hand rail and a newel post. Best to find out NOW rather than after you've signed a contract to sell and the BUYERs inspector calls out the violation.

    One trick you might consider for the dowels would be two boards, drilled (at the correct angle) to fit the dowels SNUGLY. One mounted up top, the other below. They serve as trim pieces and allow you to fit the dowels neatly (no gaps) above and below.

    Next to lastly, the wall plate for the relocated switch look for a Midi or a Maxi plate. "Leviton 1-Gang Jumbo Toggle Wall Plate, White Model# R52-88101-00W" Oversized wall plates are 0.75 in. higher and wider than standard wall plates and provide extra coverage for wall irregularities

    When cutting drywall (wall board, sheet rock, etc.) a Box Cutter of similar RAZOR knife/cutter allows you to make cleaner, sharper cuts than a drywall saw. Pattern pieces can be fashioned from Amazon shipping boxes (ask at the appliance store for refrigerator cartons they are about to throw away).

    0
    sigmatechelysium
    sigmatechelysium

    7 weeks ago

    The only thing missing is the LED light down at the stair treads :)

    0
    charlessenf-gm
    charlessenf-gm

    Reply 6 weeks ago

    "pre-drilled hole" "
    What's that, exactly?
    It comes with a hole, right?
    If you must add extraneous adjectives, a post drilled hole would be closer to a correct description of what you found in the electrical guide book.
    Speaking of which, I recommend the 1979 GE Guide for "Do It Yourselfers" as it is a basic straightforward guide to what the (USA) homeowner is likely to find in their walls. As you might be able to tell, it is popular with insects (and mice maybe?)

    GE Wiring Guide.bmp
    0
    JT Woodworks
    JT Woodworks

    Reply 7 weeks ago

    I thought about it. Could always add them in the future

    0
    MimArt
    MimArt

    7 weeks ago

    No secret storage? no drawers hidden in the treads? Seriously, great improvement and nice clean work!

    0
    JT Woodworks
    JT Woodworks

    Reply 7 weeks ago

    I thought about it but there's a couple air ducts under the stairs that didn't allow for it. Thank you though!!

    0
    pbesong
    pbesong

    7 weeks ago

    Nice job! Quite a "step up" from what you had before.

    0
    JT Woodworks
    JT Woodworks

    Reply 7 weeks ago

    Thank you! Glad you like it

    0
    PierreC53
    PierreC53

    7 weeks ago

    How do you figure out if the wall is needed to hold up the next floor?

    0
    JT Woodworks
    JT Woodworks

    Reply 7 weeks ago

    In most cases, the wall is not structural if it runs parallel with the ceiling joists

    0
    bryans workshop
    bryans workshop

    7 weeks ago

    Awesome video! Really fun to watch.

    0
    JT Woodworks
    JT Woodworks

    Reply 7 weeks ago

    Thank you! Glad you enjoyed it