We ripped up the carpeting on our steps. I pulled up the carpet on the bottom step on the day we closed just to see if they were nice, but didn't really look close enough to see what was really under there.
First, I started at the bottom and loosened the carpeting from the tack strips:
The padding was, for the most part, gone. There was a little bit of cushion on the sides, but the middle part of the step showed the wear.
Then, we took a hammer and a small pry bar and began pulling up the tack strips. Never in my life have I seen so many nails and staples.
Once we got all of the carpet up and all of the tack scrips and staples out, we were left with this:
Look closely and you'll see why I'm a little sad that our stairs will be more of a pain in the butt project than expected. Don't see it? Maybe this will help:
At some point, I'm guessing around the same time the house had a coal furnace, there was either a carpet runner or tread protectors on the steps. The wood looks good in the area covered, but the area outside is dirty and black. I tried cleaning them, but it was a lost cause. We are going to have to refinish the steps. Bummer.
In an effort to make this a little easier on us, we decided to paint the trim and the stair risers, leaving only the tops left to sand and coat with polyurathene. Here are some inspiration pictures for what I have in mind:
Maybe we'll get funky with it and try one of these ideas:
We'll have to rent a sanding edger to do this right. I don't think it will be too bad, but it's just not a project we thought we were going to have to tackle. C'est la vie!