Monday, September 5, 2011

Stairs Wars...Empire Carpets Strikes Back.

Here's how my stairs started out:

Humiliating though it may be, you can really see the ickiness of the stairs in the last pic. This is why it was a no brainer for me to attempt this DIY project. I needed to replace the carpet anyway. In the end, if I mucked it all up I wouldn't be destroying good carpet.

So, I started tearing out the carpet. Little by little. This was by no means a difficult project just time consuming. And not all that time consuming really. I was just lazy and took my time. So what I did in 3 weeks time could probably be accomplished in 3-4 hours. I just did a small patch (about an hour) every weekend. Nothing exhausting. Still I was pretty disheartened by what I uncovered. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

To take out the carpet I only needed a few tools.

1.) A mini crow bar
2.) box knife (only for starting the cut of the carpet)
3.) Needle nose pliers
4.) a small plastic cup I could put nails, staples, tacks, etc in

That's it. And the elbow grease. It was simple work just yanking up the carpet. Just ripped it out of staples and off the tack strips.
 Ewww for lurking stains.
I rolled the carpet up as I went. It was nice that they didn't use 1 big piece but cut the carpet into increments of about 4 stairs per section of carpet so I never used the box knife except at the beginning.
I rolled up each padding too.

And the staples weren't bad (I've heard some horror stories about staple after staple after staple taking hours to get every single one out).And no glue so that was good too.
Though I did have a nice surprise on the landing. They left a little present under the carpet. Oh for the shoddy work of builders.
 Yep. They left a razor blade underneath. Guess it wasn't that important to pickup after themselves.
And this shoddy workmanship is what is sooooo frustrating. Cuz when I started on the longest part of my stairs (the "down" part of the stairs after the landing) I found this:

(and this is a pic of a pic off my iphone so yeah. Deal.)

A nice wide gap. About 1/2 an inch to an inch wide. I was a little scared at that point but I soldiered on. And I wasn't rewarded because here's what they all looked like after all the carpet was up:

*Le sigh* I don't know what I expected. I mean, I guess it was too much to hope that they could cut the appropriate F-ing measurement to each riser right? That simple mathematical step was just for. Who knew?

So, now I'm left with some options.
Trim, trim, trim is my best friend. I can cover it with quarter round trim butting up again them like so:
I'm gonna have to get trim anyhow because of the gaps in the side remember? Obviously not in that Gawd awful Honey Oak. I'd just get plain white so I could paint over them.

My other option is a facade. I've talked to a few guys at work and they suggested just getting a 1/4 inch piece of wood cut to the length I need and glue it to the stair's riser. Then it's ready to paint. I like this idea for the seamlessness of it but there are a few problems.
1) Cost (cuz I'm cheap-I'm pretty sure quarter round will be cheaper than a few sheets of wood)
2) Cuts. I would have to make a bajillion cuts to achieve the exact measurement of each and every riser which is about 15 stairs and lets just say 3 cuts per riser = 45 cuts. And I don't have a circular saw or any nifty power tools that can bust this out in 10 min. This would be an old fashioned hack saw with a lot of pencil markings on the wood. Of course, I've heard HD will make cuts for you so....maybe it's still an option. But if any of them are even slightly off this could really f-up my day if I have to trim something back, or it's too small or whatever. I realize that, with a 90 degree angle of stairs, each riser should be equa-distant  but...*cough* shoddy builders *cough, cough*. Do I wanna take a chance?

Okay, I know I'm thinking out loud with you guys so forgive the run on sentences above.
But that's where I'm at with my stairs. Plus, I still have to sand the bejeezus outta them so that'll take awhile (ugh, sanding!).
Wish me luck.

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