Anyone out there remember our back stairway? The one that looked like this?
I’m well overdue for an update on this space. DH and I are excited that this paneling and dated linoleum-clad eyesore is starting to finally feel lighter and, well, nicer. The last time I posted about this heavily trafficked corridor (which is our main entrance for the house since it is close to the garage) we had new drywall in, had painted the door, and had added some much-needed light with the addition of some sleek sconces:
The new paint really highlighted how worn and tattered the old linoleum was. DH and I had bought vinyl peel-and-stick tiles to refinish the space shortly after we bought the house (we’re talking fall of 2012 here people) and just never got around to installing them. All I got to in that first year and a half was removing the aluminum stair nosings (which took a huge amount of arm power, let me tell you!). The pretty new vinyl tiles just sat in the basement collecting dust. Womp womp.
So over the holidays DH and I decided it was time to get this project done, especially because so many of our other projects on our list involved a lot of painting, which isn’t a great idea when you can’t open up windows because it is -20 degrees outside. Once we got set up and started, it didn’t take us too long to get the first set of stairs done. My first step was to clean the heck of out the stairs since they were dirty with years of grime, plus still pretty filthy from all the construction in the bathroom. We cleaned them from time to time since moving in, but never a super deep clean. Once that was done, we started marking the cuts with a pen and ruler, and then cut the tiles to size using a straight edge razor. Then we just peeled off the backs, and stuck the tiles down. One. By. One. Here’s what we got to during our first session:
It definitely got easier as we worked our way down. We had to make a ton of cuts since the squares are 12″ x 12″ and the stairs are quite a bit narrower. But we got into a groove and soon we had a much nicer looking set of stairs.
Until you look at that landing of course. Womp womp. The reason we didn’t get to that yet is because we know we need to do more than just install vinyl tiles over the existing linoleum. That back door doesn’t have enough clearance to open properly, so we’re going to need to remove the plywood beneath the linoleum and install the tiles on top of the layer beneath that so that our door can open completely. But in the meantime, if we look so that all we see are the newly covered steps, the view is definitely much improved!
We’ll still need to install new stair nosings to add some traction. The vinyl tiles actually have some nice texture to them that the linoleum didn’t have, but we know that the nosings would add quite a lot of extra traction which would be great with the slushy snow we bring in on our boots in the winter.
In this closer-up shot you can see better where the stair nosings are lacking–that unfinished edge on the very front of the stair:
One thing to note if you want to try something similar is that although most of the tiles stuck with no problem, some of the vertical ones fell down a few days after we installed them. A bit of gorilla glue fixed the issue easily though (whew!).
DH and I are excited to go back and finish this project now that we’ve gotten the hang of the vinyl tiles and can’t wait to finally have this back stairway’s transformation complete. More soon!