Yep. I’m not even going to build up to it, we’re just going to dive right in and start this party with a blister. And let me just say this, for as much questionable shit as I do with my tools, I very rarely sustain an injury from them… much less some sissy repetitive-motion style injury like a blister. Wait. I’m sorry, not a blister. Two blisters. On the same finger. Tell me this isn’t karma for flipping off bad drivers?
What happened was that the people who installed the carpeting on my stairs used about 300 industrial strength staples per square inch of carpet.
Right? That is me trying to remove the runner when I first moved in. Really successfully, I might add.
So there was a little bit of staple-removing I had yet to do, which is how I began my staircase refinishing journey this weekend. I also taunted Sarah with my remarkable progress…
I’m pretty sure I felt her roll her eyes at me all the way from Atlanta.
This pile of stuff looks unremarkable, given how long it took me to produce. And here’s how ridiculous I am… at some point while I’m doing this, my hand starts to feel a little wet and sticky and the first thing that goes through my head is, “oh, I must have gotten paint on my hand.”
I’m removing staples from a staircase, but at this point in my life it’s just so natural for me to have paint all over myself that I don’t even question the fact that a.) I’m not painting anything, and b.) there isn’t an open paint can within a twenty-foot radius.
So you can imagine my surprise when I realized it was not, in-fact, paint, but something oozing out of the torn skin on my finger. Did you just faint? Sorry. But for real, that sucked.
The good news is that the skin has hardened into some kind of super-callus now, and I can continue to yank out staples with wild abandon.
The other good news is that I actually got more done this weekend than yanking staples or complaining about blisters. I also took the stairs from this…
(I’m blaming the extra crappy iPhone photography on my injury. Don’t judge.)
So, let’s have a serious moment about projects and processes. In the grand scheme of this project, does it make sense that I went through and primed the handrail and risers before sanding down the treads? Eh. Maybe, maybe not. There are two reasons I chose to do this first though.
As far as painting (and painting trim) goes, I’m a bit of a disaster. I just don’t have the patience, and I figured at least doing a coat of primer first when I don’t have to be as careful would save me some time down the road. But it also serves a larger purpose–and this is something I’ve found to be key on these marathon projects– visible progress.
It might sound a little strange, but I’ve been doing this for almost a decade now, and I know how my brain operates. If I’ve made enough progress on something that it immediately triggers an image of the end-result when I walk by? That’s my sweet-spot for staying motivated. (The other trick is making sure to go from “looks in-progress” to “is actually finished” in one fell swoop, because if it looks finished but isn’t? That’s how I end up without trim on one side of my bathroom door for five years.)
And I will tell you what, it works… every single time I’ve walked down the stairs in the last two days, I’ve been seized with a sudden urge to put a real coat (or three) of paint on the damn thing. However, before I actually paint anything I do need to sand down those treads. I did the first one over the weekend just to get a feel for how long it will take.
This was about 30 minutes with the sanders. So, ah… I’ve got some work to do.
I put about 4 hours in on the staircase this weekend, so I’d say I’m realistically about 15% done. But hey, progress is progress. You can check in on how Sarah is doing here.
We also had a few other
crazy people friends jump in on this Dueling DIY challenge, and you can check out their progress here:
- Micha @ Little Old House has a lot of stripping in her future (Um. Paint stripping. Obviously.)
- Christine @ Little House on the Corner has a head start, and is already working on a few final coats of paint… she’s currently the person to beat, if any of us can catch up to her.
- Ann @ Our Handmade Home looks to be about where I’m at, with slightly less sanding (but no less painting) to get her staircase complete.
If anyone else wants to get in on this fun (or if I missed a link to your site) leave me a comment and let me know. And to everyone joining in or cheering along from the sidelines? So far, you’ve made this project way more fun than it has any right to be!