In January 2012 we hired a contractor to install hardwood flooring on our 2nd floor and down the stairs. We already had hardwood floors on the 1st floor. This is one of the few projects we have hired out.
A couple of months after I started dating my husband, we discussed moving in together. I was renting at the time, and he owned a beautiful condo on the edge of the Ipswich River, so it was a no brainer in terms of who would move where. Before I moved in, I asked him whether he’d ever considered replacing the ugly, beige, stained carpeting covering the 2nd floor of the condo:
With hardwood to match the first floor, and he said “YES!” So we consulted with a contractor friend of his, who agreed to rip out the carpeting and install the hardwood.
If I’d known more about what I was capable of back then, I’d have ripped out the carpeting myself. My husband and I did rip out the carpeting on the stairs, primarily to see if there was salvageable wood underneath, but we didn’t tackle the bedrooms or hallway. I must admit, ripping out carpeting on stairs is FUN! Start at one end and yank – it all comes off in one long piece making a very satisfying tearing sound! Pulling out the 7 million staples afterwards: not so much fun… I’m still glad we hired a professional to install the hardwood flooring – when you don’t own a truck, a nail gun or a power saw, installing flooring seems as unattainable as building a skyscraper. But I used to consider re-grouting bathroom tile or repairing drywall cracks as equally daunting and look at me now!
We were hoping there would be salvageable hardwood underneath the carpeting, but it was plywood sub-floor. The stairs, however, did have usable wood underneath, in fairly good condition. But there was also a “surprise”: each step was capped with an ugly silver steel & black griptape edge! The contractor said at some point the stairs must have been part of a commercial enterprise, where such a thing would have been required by law. He advised painting the metal & griptape treads versus replacing them with wooden inserts [the grain wouldn’t match]. Or he could replace the treads with new wood, but we wanted to keep the original wood. After sanding, staining and sealing our steps, he painted the metal & griptape treads black with some type of industrial spray paint, then reattached them. They actually don’t look terrible, and come in quite handy when I’m running up and down the stairs in socks 🙂
Here’s what the stairs looked like mid-renovation:
And what they looked like after:
After the contractors left, I primed and painted the stair risers white to match the trim.
Here’s what our 2nd floor looks like now, with beautiful hardwood floors: