Stair Progress | The Plan

It may be tax season… but we are going to tackle the staircase reno (and by we I mean mostly Jake and me cheering loudly for moral support).   So, I talked with you before about my considerations, and the various ways we could finish the stairway.

As per typical me fashion, we are going with a totally different decision than my original sway.  So, fasten your seatbelts as I take you through the thought process of a wiffle-waffler and how we ultimately made our decision.

Brief recap:  I was thinking we would attempt to salvage the construction treads  and sand, caulk and paint them in an effort to save money on buying all new treads.  Then, to hide the fact that they were construction risers, I wanted to put a nice runner down the middle.

Jake usually brings grounded-ness to our decision-making and suggested that if we’re going to do this stair renovation, we should do it right and have wood treads.  (Cue the the dolla signs in my head….)  But, after some research we found these treads that were only $10 a piece!

Ok, so with these pine treads, the cost becomes bearable again.  But, Jake had concerns about the quality/hardness of pine and it holding up over time.  So, I suggested we put a runner over the pine treads as extra protection (which, I know, costs more money).  In the end this is the plan we agreed on, and I think it will be the best bang for our buck.

These are my top picks for runners at the moment.  This one is probably front runner in my mind.  I don’t know why but I just love the pattern and how it marries geometric and chic into one adorable runner!  I’ve never been an orange person, but lately I’ve really been craving more orange (strange, I know).  My concerns with this one are that it’s accent color is ‘bone’, will that clash with our hallway if I paint it white?  And what if the pattern is too large with the stairs?

This was a last minute addition, and on one hand I love it so much, and on the other I keep asking myself if it’s true to ‘me’ and my style vision for the home.  I think it’s adorable, whimsical, colorful, and fun, but… I had been picturing a bright geometric runner.  What color would I even choose? And another part of me thinks this is safer choice (gotta think about resale sometimes people).  So which do you prefer?

Marina Indoor/Outdoor Rug

We’re hoping to still finish the stairway in under $400 (including paint, stain, poly, rug runner, new treads, and new risers).  It hurts to spend so much on stairs, but in the long run, I believe this investment will pay back and then some in resale value.


Now, building codes in Illinois state that the maximum variance of rise between steps cannot exceed 3/8″.  Because we originally had carpet on the stairs and landing, and laminate on the first floor, our heights varied up to 3/4″.

So, to fix that and make sure our stairs don’t cause anyone to trip, we are decreasing the bottom stair rise to bring our variance down to 3/8″.  To do that, we’ll remove the plywood construction tread and replace it with a slightly thinner version.

The other night Jake started trimming the nose off the construction treads.  Soon we’ll be replacing the first plywood tread, sanding the trim (might as well do all the messy stuff at the same time!), and making a Home Depot trip for our new treads!


  1. We have the Ballard runners in our kitchen which are great for hiding crumbs etc… My only complaint is that the edges that get a lot of traffic across them have frade some…more than I’d like. So is hate to think how they would react on stairs. :-/

    1. Oh wow! Thanks so much for sharing, or I never would have known. Yeah, stairs are definitely used and abused and I wouldn’t want any fraying. Sounds like another vote for my burnt orange geometric runner 😉

  2. i wasnt impressed with ballard runners either.. they frayed.. and there are only 2 adults in the house.. cant imagine someone having them with kids.

    1. Wow, two votes against the Ballard runner, now I’m wondering how the other one will hold up… Thanks for the advice 🙂

  3. Hello, have you posted an update to your staircase remodel? We are doing that very thing with two staircases at the moment, and I’m considering a runner on one of them. I adore the grey & cream runner you show and am sad it is from the UK. So did you finish the stairs? What did you do? Is there an update I can’t find? Thanks!

    1. Hi Nancy, thank you for your interest in my stairs 🙂 I really need to post an update… but in the meantime, we ended up replacing the treads and using the pine ones shown above. We then painted them a light gray ‘porch/floor’ paint. I think they are beautiful, but they were a lot of work to cut correctly, and they get dirty very easily. I think we will do a runner a few years down the road after we finish some other renovation projects. Hope this helps!

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