Saturday, March 19, 2011

Those Pesky OSB Stairs

For years now I have seen many beautiful stair redos. People rip up the carpet and find pine stairs or mfd or oak. They cheer and say we can stain them! Or We can paint them! Then there are the other people like me who rip up the carpets and find OSB. As you know OSB should not be stairs. For one it gives you slivers and the other is it ugly.

So I researched and pondered and gnashed my teeth until I figured out what we were going to do! I did not want carpet on them. We live on a giant sand dune so I didn't want sandy carpets.

When you move into a new home that needs a lot of fixing asap you tend to get more daring and rip stuff up without too much though.

Yes that is a stair tread

We figured we could replace it and be fine (no one was harmed in this redo). Luckily the closest store to us is Lowes and they are well stocked with pre-cut stair treads with the rounded edge. We went to Lowes and looked at the options for replacing treads. We ended up buying some of the MFD pre-fabricated stair treads. All we had to do was cut them to length. They were $8 each and we had 14 treads to do.

We chose MFD because I wanted painted stairs. If you want stained stairs the oak treads are $15 each and staining is time consuming but not difficult. I originally wanted black treads but our floors are fireside oak so I needed them to go together more. I chose to use Valspar floor paint and chose a very dark brown, like chocolate. This paint is only $28 a gallon and I still have a half gallon left. We ended up putting 3 coats of paint on them, 2 before we put them in

I put these on cans. Just regular old cans from the pantry

and 1 after. I am glad we put 3 coats on because they are much more durable and easier to clean.

After that it was time to go to work. Once Daniel (the laborer, just kidding) got the hang of ripping out the OSB treads, the demolition didn't take as long as we thought it would.

The process of ripping up the old treads and putting in the new ones took 2 days, one day for each set of stairs (upper and lower). We then measured the length of each tread then use the table saw to cut. Make sure you do this for each one because there can be slight differences in length. We glued them in using hard as nails but I would use any construction adhesive for this. We used screws instead of nails because we didn't want any squeaks. We counter sunk the screws and then filled the hole with hard as nails and then put a precut wooden dowel in there and made it flush then wiped away the excess glue. Touching up the screw holes was time consuming because we used oil based paint (24 hours to dry).

When we touched up the screw holes we had to paint the ones on the sides first, let those dry overnight, then paint the ones in the middle and let those dry overnight. (It probably would have been easier if we didn't have little ones running up and down the stairs) After we painted the screw holes with 2 coats, we put one final layer on each tread to hide the screw holes better. Its a good idea to go out of town right after you do the last coat of pain unless you don't have to go upstairs for 24 hours. (we had a downstairs sleepover with mattresses and then a zoo day)

The next step was the trim work. We put the smallest piece of floor trim we could find at Lowes and ran it above the stair treads on either side.

White trim to the left, no trim yet to the right

After the trim was up we painted the area below white. Make sure to tape it all off first, use frog tape and not the regular blue tape! We had major leakage. (the white paint came off the treads really easily with baby wipes!)

If you plan on doing this project do the beadboard risers before the white trim on the sides!!

So here we are so far
Next comes the bead board on the risers. Once again cut these to each stair because you might find small differences. For the tread cutting and the bead board cutting we used a table saw borrowed from a friend. They sell blades specific for mfd so buy it (just ask your home improvement store where they are)! It will save your regular blade. Put the beadboard right on top of the OSB. We tried gluing them in but they kept popping off so we used finishing nails instead. If you have a nail gun USE IT.

The final step was finishing the laminate wood flooring on the landing. Daniel finished it up and we bought a special stair nose piece from lumber liquidators (we just matched it to the flooring) We glued the stair nosing on with wood glue but hard as nails would have worked. Don't use gorilla glue because it just makes a big mess and doesn't work.

It took 30 minutes for the glue to set and we didn't have any weights or clamps to hold the stair nose on so Daniel sat on it while I brought him bowls of cereal.

So this is what all that hard work got us:

However we are still were not done :( there were many spaces that the beadboard cutting and tread cutting left as you can see at the bottom of the stair above. So I got to caulking. Here are the small differences caulking makes:

no caulk (there is a gap on the side)


no caulk


caulking doesn't take too long and it just makes it look more finished. Big tip here is use baby wipes!! The white shows up pretty strongly on the brown so you need to make sure its all gone with a fresh clean swipe every time. The baby wipes were perfect because they were already wet and you could just throw them away and not ruin your rags.

Cost breakdown:
This project was time consuming but relatively inexpensive.

Bead Board-$55
Floor Paint-$28
Stair Nose-$29.00
Laminate Flooring (for the landing)-$30

After doing this project here are some tips:
  • If you can get this done before you move in it will be much quicker because the most time consuming thing is having to space out all the dry times because you need to actually use the stairs
  • Use a table saw and a mitre saw
  • Use foam rollers ($2.67 for two pack at LOWES) for the oil based paint, no paint brush lines and you can just throw it away and use a new one each time so less clean up
  • Do all the wall and trim painting very last or you will have to repaint anyway
  • start on the tread that will be least seen because you get better after each one so you want your best work to be seen, not your worst
and thats it!

We love them and the cleaning is so easy just a wet rag!!! So even OSB stairs can get some special treatment.

Oh and these stairs were featured here on BetterAfter. On my family blog though :)

For more awesome projects visit these great blogs:

Funky Junk's Sat Nite Special

Stuff and Nonsense

The DIY Show Off


My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia


  1. What an incredible transformation, Miriam! All of your - and your husband's- very hard work paid off. You gave really great tips and I liked reading the reasons why you chose the materials and colors you did. I love your beadboard risers. I'm following now.

  2. This is amazing! We have actual wood stairs under our carpet but they're in bad shape and look more like your OSB. We've been thinking about fixing them up and this info will be really helpful!

  3. Stunning!! So well done. I love it! Following via RSS feed. Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment on my painted upholstery post!! It means a lot - I'm very new to this.

  4. {Swoon} Stunning!! Love love love! Great job.

  5. Looks great! Soooo much better than they were!

  6. Oh gorgeous!! I'm tempted to show this to my husband b/c I would love these but I already know he won't go for it!! But you did fabulous! Really beautiful!!

  7. Fantastic transformation! Love the bead board!


  8. Your stairs look absolutely fantastic! Love the bead board risers - they give your stairs a really unique look :-)

    I can just imagine how much time and patience this project took, but I'd say it was so worth it in the end!

  9. it's gorgeous. i would love it if you shared this at my party. it runs tues-thurs. thanks!

  10. these look amazing! what a difference

  11. Looks fabulous! We have pine stair treads in really rough shape, but I can work with them. The risers however are cheap, ugly panels my husband got from work. I love the beadboard idea!

  12. that looks fantastic-i love the dark wood and the bead board! i would love to do something 2 toned on our stairs, but the boyfriend is very against painting the oak. gah!

  13. Wow - awesome job! That looks amazing!

  14. That IS BEAUTIFUl! Great tutorial. I'm jealous. I am featuring this tonight at Grab my "featured" button.

  15. Amazing! I love the beadboard on the risers! Beautiful! I feel your pain. We re-did our staircase in our old house similar to this. Invest in some mr clean magic erasers. They are amazing at taking off scuff marks on the white parts.

  16. Hoy cow! This is AMAZING!!! I just moved into a new house and have carpet on my stairs. They are in my front entry though and I know they will look bad in a year or so with the wear and tear on the I am bookmarking this to help me re-do my stairs one day! love it!


  17. Love your stairway makeover. It looks so much better.

  18. My compliments, indeed!
    We did our stairs after living in the house over a year... sigh. My husband patterned out all the treads from scraps linoleum from our floring, and used rubbers anti-slips on the front sides. It looked wonderful! Then we had our floors isolated with foam... And the stair started working again, drying up... And now still look good but when we walk on them we feel all kinds of airloops and bubbles. The thought of peeling it of (with risk of damaging the linoleum which we haven't got extra of anymore)is too much for my poor DIY DH. So.. airy it is. For the next house (if any) we have learned a lesson. First isolate, then finish stairs..

  19. i am so jealous as i am living with a perpetually unfinished the color you chose for the treads and the beadboard risers set the brown off nicely too...thanks for sharing at fridays unfolded!


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  20. AMAZING!!! Now come do mine! :) I love how it turned out

  21. Awesome job! This gets me totally motivated to rip up all the carpet on my stairs!

  22. I lOOOOVE the final....So beautiful and way to do it yourself

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  23. thanks so much for sharing this at my party!! i just love how these turned out! great job.

  24. Beautiful! What a great idea! I have pine risers and oak treads. Very old home so the risers are pretty dinged up.

    I've been thinking about painting them but I love beadboard!

    Thanks for sharing!

  25. Amazing transformation, thanks for the tutorial!

  26. What a transformation! I absolutely LOVE the new stairs, great work!!

  27. Absolutely fabulous.
    Will feature you next week!


  28. I just convinced my husband to let me rip the carpet off our stairs and I fear we have nasty wood underneath as well. I'm so bummed. I love your transformation and thanks for sharing all the tips.

  29. Amazing! I love the beadboard idea!!!

  30. WOW what a great job!!!
    Love it!!
    I wish I had stairs, I would so do what you did!

  31. BLESS YOU!!!! Finally, someone else who has the OSB stairs! We too, ripped up the disgusting carpet on the stairs and found the the dreaded OSB. I have been searching for months for something to do with them that we could do ourselves. I am *so* encouraged by your post, and I can't wait to show my husband your amazing stairs! Thanks so much for sharing!

  32. This is EXACTLY what I want to do on my stairs! I found you via Pinterest. Thanks for warning me how much work this will REALLY be! Are your stairs slippery, or do your kids do okay on them? Did you just buy prepainted beadboard or did you paint that too?


  33. Just found you via a Pinterest pin. Really gorgeous - kudos! By mfd do you mean medium-density fiberboard? I've never seen stair treads made from mdf, so I guess I need to check out our Lowe's more closely. Thanks for the tip and the great step-by-step instructions.


  34. I would never have had the courage to rip off the ugly linoleum on our stairs if I hadn't seen this. We were lucky that our treads were solid wood. still a ton of work to get the glue off, but it turned out very well. Such an improvement over what was there! Thanks for your post.

  35. I don't know how to say this other than you are my HERO!!! We just moved into a house and ripped up some carpet on some stairs to find ugliness underneath them! They have been that way for about a month now. Trying to figure out how we can fix our situation I came across your blog! THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!

  36. I'm doing this project now and it's kicking my butt, but I know they'll come out great once I'm finished! I like your idea of putting bead board for the risers, however, I'm putting mosaic square tiles as my risers so they won't look as dirty. Out of all the other sites out there about carpet to wood stair transformations, I always come back to this blog because it shows us step by step instructions about what REALLY goes on when doing this project. Thanks!

  37. We are planning on ripping up our carpet, and I'm interested to see what we will find! Probably the same as yours. What color did you paint your walls?

  38. Great job. A tip for future caulking work: blue tape the area next to where you are caulking and when you are done pull up tape right away, there will be a clean line. ;)

  39. A whole replacement is needed. Just to get rid of those useless parts.

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  40. I did the exact same thing to our basement stairs last year. Same colors and beadboard combo. We did not remove the old treads, but just put the boards on top. I still get compliments from every signal person who enters the house. It is by far the best project!! If you'd like you can check out my stairs at:

    Enjoy your new stairs!!


  41. I've pinned this because it's great!

  42. That came out BEAUTIFULLY! I love it.

  43. How did you do the white trim up the sides of the wall?

    1. Its kind of an optical illusion, I just bought some shoe nose trim (I think thats what its called) its about a half inch and nailed them on the sides and then painted the wall under it white, I know its cheating but I couldn't figure out any other way to gt the look.

  44. Hi Miriam,
    I am a Realtor in Central Illinois and I write a lifestyle and real estate blog for my community. Today I mentioned your blog and this project. Take a look at it on and please let me know if you want me to remove it. I linked to your site and used a photo from your tutorial.It will be shared across all my social media sites and of course Pinterest (where I originally found the project). My blog features DIY once a week and is meant to list places where people can go for something different - not just the usual HGTV and LOWES project ideas.
    Thank you for your time!
    Mary Borth

  45. How is the brown paint holding up to the foot traffic? We have three cats and 5 people and we all use our steps daily. A lot. My biggest worry is that the paint will chip.

    1. Its held up really well. I just wipe them down with a rag to clean them. No chipping yet. I still really love them although I think I might have to repaint them in two years or so just for up keep but we will see.

  46. Thanks for providing such useful information. I am very much impressed with your article and I am happy that I am associated with your site.thanks
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  47. Sorry...after trying too long....hate the font and it wasn't worth the effort. Good luck to you and yours.

  48. Yours looks great but you should have invested in wood. Those of us with OSB only keep it if wr have a closed routed staircase that doesn't allow it to be replaced. OSB will crumble in time.

    1. we replaced the osb with mfd, because the osb was crumbling when we ripped off the carpets. They have help us so far with no wear.

  49. Thanks so much for sharing this! I have been really interested in finding out more about staircase remodeling... I think this is something I'm going to have to do!

  50. Keep it up!! You have done the nice job having provided the latest information. Carpet Cleaning Norwich

  51. These look amazing! I've been reading a few blogs about staircase remodeling so I can get a good idea of what I want to do with our staircase.

  52. I have been searching all over google for websites featuring stair remodeling type blogs.

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  53. What a great transformation. It really looks great. I really love it. And it complements well with your floor.

  54. Upstairs are looking brand new. I am really impressed with your work on stairs.
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  55. What paint color did you use? Was it satin or gloss? I'm doing a similar project...

  56. Hi - I'm currently redoing my stairs and I googled 'painted stairs' for some inspiration for a paint color. I like your color - I know you used Valspar but do you remember the color? It looks like a high gloss?? Is it slippery?

    1. I don't remember the color name, we chose it from the few floor paints valspar had, A dark brown oil based and it is shiny but we had them mix in some kind of slip resistant thing, that could be added to the floor paints.

  57. Hi there, LOVE the stairs -- how did you do the transition from the top floor landing to the stairs? We are trying to figure out how to work that. If you have pictures, that would be great! Thanks!

    1. we were actually able to pick up a piece from the wood flooring store that wrapped under the wooden landing if that makes sense, we didn't have it pop out

    2. we were actually able to pick up a piece from the wood flooring store that wrapped under the wooden landing if that makes sense, we didn't have it pop out

  58. Very nice post, impressive. its quite different from other posts. Thanks for sharing.

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  59. These are very nice! I am wondering if it would be easier though to do the risers first for say a stair or two, then add treads. I think it would be easier to put on front first then add top rather than trying to fit front after top has been added, no?

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    Honestly, very good work. The stairs look great.

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  63. Where did you buy the threads?

  64. Where did you buy the threads?

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  67. I ordered a pine staircase. This is a cheap and quite good option.

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