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mark2741 11-10-2012 10:49 PM

How to finish basement stairs
Short/to the point version:
Was thinking of installing carpet tiles in my basement (concrete floor) but what would I do with the unfinished, hideous stairs? I'm assuming you can't use carpet tiles on the stairs, and it wouldn't look right to have carpet tiles of one style on the floor but a different, normal carpet of a different make/color on the stairs.

Long version:
My DIY basement finish is about 90% complete. I have another coat of paint to put on the walls tomorrow, then install baseboard and door/window casing, paint those, and then flooring is the final step. I had originally planned to just have a carpet company come in and install carpet on both the stairs and floor, but the price is more than I expected (double what I expected, and I checked with a few places).

While walking through HD tonight I noticed they had carpet tiles and, to my surprise, the one color/style they had was really nice. Plus, even though my basement is dry and no moisture issues, it's still a basement and I'm concerned about spending so much on pro installed carpet only to have to remove it due to an accident/flood.

So I'm considering alternatives. I've installed plenty of laminate wood flooring in my life and am open to that with area rugs over top, but then the question is: what about the unfinished stairs? The stairs are hideous and, because they were some creaky, custom-made onsite job from when the house was built in the 50's, I bolstered them up by adding stabilizing boards and also extended the treads out an inch or so. The result is rock-solid, comfortable/safe to walk up/down stairs but they are too ugly to simply paint.

I'm open to any type of flooring but am partial to carpet because of the rest of my house is hardwood floors and I'd like one room to have a comfy carpet the kids can roll around on while playing games/watching TV. But I guess plush area rugs would work too. But the stairs...

joecaption 11-11-2012 07:49 AM

Got a picture of those stairs?
Kind of hard to suggest something would work without knowing what it looks like.

mark2741 11-11-2012 08:36 AM

Here's a pic:

EDIT: for some reason the image tag isn't working with Flickr, so here is direct URL to the photo:

The stairs either have to be replaced or covered over. I do not want to replace them as that would be ~$400 to $500+ in hardwood treads/risers, not to mention the work involved (and precision cutting is not my specialty : ( )

joecaption 11-11-2012 09:28 AM

Seem to be missing a skirt and hand rails.
I'd just remove the treads and risers, add a skirt, reinstall the shortened risers that have been sanded pre primed and painted two coats and add real wood treads.
If you want to cheap out sand and paint the treads you have now and just use a stair runner.

cleveman 11-11-2012 08:04 PM

Tile the bsmt floor. Tile the staircase.

Dantro 11-11-2012 08:05 PM

1 Attachment(s)
installing a closed set of treads and risers, can be done diy.
they have stair tools help measure any angles or out of square .start @ the top,
cut nosings off flush with riser, install first two riser's first, then install top tread, work your way down.
fairly easy with white stringers any slight gaps can be caulked and painted

Dantro 11-11-2012 08:09 PM

2 Attachment(s)

Dantro 11-11-2012 08:17 PM

as far as basement flooring ,mannington has a line of aduar plank vinyl flooring, with a laminate style locking system, very popular in the northeast for the past 3 years, if you get water in your basement, take it apart, dry out and put back together. right around 4-5$ sf. nice stuff, user friendly

mark2741 11-11-2012 08:20 PM

Hi Dantro,

Thanks for the pics - very helpful.

I'd love wood stairs but my concern is cost. I did a quick check at HD and the treads are pretty pricey. I have 12 steps to do so it would add up when you also consider the cost of the flooring for the rest of the basement. That said, I'm going to look again and consider it as, in terms of looks, I think it's by far the best option.


tacomahardwood. 11-13-2012 12:09 AM

Those appear to be hem fir 2x12 treads , Just get a vibe sande r ,toss the fake dust collection and hook the shop vac hose to it and hit it with 40 grit 60 bgrit then 80 then 120 , stain them . you have to use a hardwood scraper for the corners , and paint the risers , othher otion is the fake woodfinish look with that fo finish

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