One partially failed DIY and one gorgeous runner

When we had our floors refinished in the summer, it was going to cost almost the same again to have our stairs refinished as well, just because of the condition they were in. So we decided to do what any person does who’s trying to keep to a budget – we said we’d sand them down and paint them ourselves. There are times when this is absolutely the right decision. There are other times when decisions like this cost more in time, materials and effort and the result isn’t as good. This has turned out to be a bit of both, but we’re very excited about how they will look when everything is finished.

First of all, sanding ten ancient coats of paint off of even more ancient stairs is not easy if you don’t have the right tools. At one point, I took a hammer and screwdriver and just started chipping away layers. The sanding that followed took a very. long. time. and when you’re trying to squeeze this into naptimes and bedtimes, it’s a pain. Once everything was sanded down, I bought floor paint that would be non-slip and supposedly heavy duty. We went for white, as we didn’t want black to show all the dust and cat hair. Three coats later on top of primer, you could still see the shadow where the original runner ran up the stairs. 

We left it for a month. In that month, the paint that I’d put down started to flake off in places – especially towards the front of treads where the boards flex most. Our cats claws also managed to scratch the paint in places where they’d run up and down the stairs. So after all that hard work, we still had a bit of a mess on our hands.

In November, while Freja was at nursery, I managed to squeeze in another four coats and patch up the areas where paint had come off. The stairs finally looked even and white – seven coats later. For a month. Until the paint started flaking again in the areas that get the most wear. I don’t really want to paint stairs every month, so Liam and I decided to look into plan B – adding a runner. After a little bit of hunting around, we dropped into Lordship Flooring and found this gorgeous runner from Roger Oates

Classic herringbone and in a lovely gray. The guys came out and measured our stairs later that week, and we decided to go for it. The runner is out of stock at the moment but now on order and should be installed in March – just enough time for us to get a few cracked treads fixed and for me to do a final few coats of white paint.

While originally I was really hesitant about adding a runner (it felt too traditional for me), I’m feeling really excited about it now. It fixes a problem, and will also add some warmth and character to our hallway, which is feeling a bit stark now that the Christmas decorations are down.

I’ll be back with an update once it’s all installed, and a little note on Roger Oates. We were so impressed with their quality that it was a no-brainer for us. Buy once, buy well.

Has anyone else had a nightmare experience with stairways? What was your solution in the end? Any tips for maintaining runner rugs – especially with cats?

Runner image source: Roger Oates


2 thoughts on “One partially failed DIY and one gorgeous runner

  1. What a gorgeous pattern on the runner. It will be so beautiful against the black railing and white stairs!

    1. Thanks – we think so too! Not too dark, but just enough contrast to bring some character into the space.

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