Attack of the Stink Stairs

Our basement stairs, if you couldn’t guess by the post title, stink. From what we understand the room, which is finished, originally had wall to wall carpet and then at some point the sump pump broke and overflowed so the carpet had to be ripped up. For some reason the stairs carpet was not removed. It always had a weird odor to it and with the high temperatures of the past week it really came out, and after our  foster dog threw up all over it within hours of arriving at our house (poor little guy) it really got pungent.

Long story short, the stink stairs have got to GO.  I was able to peek under a tiny corner section at the bottom to see that there were wood stairs (not cement, like the floor) so I knew that whatever the looked like I would be able to fix them.

They were carpeted all the way to the bottom, and after about two and a half hours of serious heavy labor in 94* weather they look as follows:

Try not to be too jealous.

To start I just gathered some tools I thought would be helpful and went to town. No googling or research here, just angry stink induced demolition. I am woman! Hear me roar!



The hammer helped to pull up the death sticks on the front and back of each stair (which I will share a picture of in a later post), the crowbar assisted in death stick removal as well. The utility knife cut the carpet and padding, and the screwdriver and pliers removed the staples. So many staples. Overall it wasn’t necessary a hard to figure out job, just a frustrating and energy consuming one. Staple removal is what made for such a slow going process, there were about fifteen in each step and many were tricky to get out.

Throughout the week I plan to remove the rest of the carpet, then over the weekend get them at least spackled and primed. I have leftover grey paint from the living room that will be the final color, as well as plans to stencil the front of each stair.


So tell me, any tips for carpet removal? Do you have a stink stair problem as well?



4 thoughts on “Attack of the Stink Stairs

  1. Pingback: Attack of the Stink Stairs: Part II | Sandpaper & Glue

  2. I have a lot to say on this! my parents have been renovating their house (actually the house my dad grew up in!) since we moved in in 2000. my mom redid a lot of the house herself (what else would a woman do while her husband is stationed overseas?) including a TON of carpet removal. the last time that house was updated (before my parents bought it from my grandpa) was in the 70s, so you can just imagine the shag carpet than ran rampant. but since the house was built in the mid-1800’s, the wood underneath was really nice (in most places, like the bedrooms and foyer). the stairs however were not so nice because they had always been carpeted of some form. my mom did the entire job herself. I assume she did the removal like you did, although I wasn’t there for it, but I don’t believe there were as many staples as you had. what she did do differently, though, was sand down the entire stairway before painting it. the primer you use might not call for that necessarily, but if someone wants to change it in the future, it won’t be 172 layers thick with paint. it takes a long time (even with an electric sander) but you might get a better finish that way and less work in the future if something were to change.

    also! “No googling or research here, just angry stink induced demolition. I am woman! Hear me roar!” you are amazing. definitely LOLed at my desk 🙂

    • oh I wonder if one of Matt’s friends has an electric sander we can borrow- I should definitely sand it, if nothing else then to get rid of all the staple indents. Thank goodness there’s only 9 steps and not a full set because man, this process is awful. haha

      • yeah I remember my mom’s stair project best because she was really good at complaining about it. she also did the entire front porch too. sanded and repainted it. crazy.

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