Design Tip for the Week: Painting Stair Risers

This is an oldie but a goodie. If you are lucky enough to have stained wood risers – I applaud you!  Don’t ever paint them! As for the rest of us  – we know that there is not enough Magic Eraser in the world to remove those scuffs…


If you’re fed up and thinking about painting your risers, do so and know that it’s still a bit of a trendy choice but once that is quickly becoming accepted into the mainstream. Choose a dark color (it does not have to be black) to hide the marks. Make sure to pick a paint designed for wood (different from wall paint) and a finish like satin that allows you to wipe off dirt. You’ll want to give your risers a good cleaning and a nice sanding before applying the paint. Then you’ll need to decide if you want to keep your stringers the same color as your trim (white as in picture two below) or paint them to match your risers (black as in photo three). Paint one or two first, stand back and see if you like the look. If you don’t, you can always go back to your original color.


You can even add a decal if you’d like, but make sure it’s dark enough to hide the dirt, and also select one that doesn’t make you dizzy going up and down the stairs:

Mudroom floor is complete

The floor is complete. It came out great.



It’s a ceramic tile that will be easy to clean in the winter.



Update to mudroom: 2.1

As I mentioned before, I do enjoy the archaeological aspect to remodeling. The subfloor was in such bad shape that we had to take it down to the joists:

IMG_6558IMG_6572Unfortunately no bags of money were found. No Jimmy Hoffa either (several of you asked).

What was discovered (fortunately, though now I am thinking about what the hell is under the rest of the floors in my house) was that several joists were not attached. To anything. Certainly not the house. The only thing holding them up was sheer luck. Or bubble gum, as my seven year old suggested.

IMG_6579So with that little issue exposed we had to sister a bunch of new joists. Now my mudroom/dog’s room will have the nicest, sturdiest floor in the house. Somehow this doesn’t seem quite right, but there you are.

So now we’re up to a sturdy, safe, level floor. And insulation! Did I mention that it gets a bit chilly here in Chicago in the winter? Having floors insulated is very much appreciated.


Tomorrow cement board, and then the tile!

Mudroom flooring

I live in a modest four square with a “winterized” porch off the back that serves as a mudroom, office, and most recently, dog den. The house computer sits here, wires and all, taunting our six month puppy and his insatiable chewing habit. The office came first, after my husband and I spent a night into the wee hours cutting, laying down and adhering together wall to wall carpet squares and setting up an old desk and computer. The carpet served to cover a not so pleasant existing laminate glue down floor. Think Brady Bunch brick. Replacing/cleaning dirty carpet squares would be so much easier than cleaning/replacing an entire floor of carpeting, we reasoned as we headed into our fifth hour of slicing and sticking.

Over the years and having a child morphed the office into a repository for shoes, keys, coats and stuff to go out to the garage on the next exit, a place to kick off boots, hang wet snow and swim suits, wipe feet/hands/whatever before heading into the kitchen.  Hence it became The Mudroom. With a Computer. A muduter. The carpet squares? Never replaced. Nary a one. I did have a professional cleaner come by once and after spending an hour on the floor proclaimed that they were better than before, but that he wasn’t “a miracle worker.”

Now on to the puppy. I thought the muduter would be a great place to house a pup while he learned that the indoors was not his open toilet. But the carpet squares took a beating like nothing before. I learned that my sweet puppy could devour a carpet square in a minute flat, fiber, rubber backing, sticky tape and all. The carpet seemed to absorb all smells and transfer them to random parts of the house, no matter how much of the world’s greatest carpet cleaner I used.

So the nasty carpet squares were finally ripped up and thrown out. Which now leaves the brick glue down floor. I am going to replace it with another glue down floor because I need something easy to clean and not something the puppy can easily dig at and pull up. To make the new floor lay as flat and tight as possible I need to pull up all the old laminate and get down to the plywood floor. So this is where I’m at today: