DIY – Stair Runner Upgrade

Our first project of the year is complete! After being sick most of January, we finally had enough energy to conquer this project which was a quick 3-hour project with a huge impact. After seeing Peony and Honey’s stair runner makeover, the wheels were spinning, but nothing started to move. It wasn’t until we put our removable stair treads back on our bare wooden steps that I was not loving the look anymore! So I did a little extra research, found some runner options, and pitched the idea to B.

We had a two-tiered staircase with a larger landing with bay windows going up to our second floor. So there was some debate about how to treat the landing – which may still be coming, but for now is going to be bare wood floors. Regardless, we needed to get two runners for our project to account for the two runs. We figured out our length needed by measuring the stair height and tread and then multiplying it by the number of steps to get our total length in feet. Oh! And this is definitely a two-person job if anything to help keep the carpet tight while the other staples in place.

DIY Shopping List:
– Runners according to your measure length – we ordered a 2x10ft and a 2x12ft rug
Electric Staple Gun
Staples
– Pliers
– Exacto Knife

I was honestly hoping this project would be a little more affordable, but we ended up picking out runners that were more expensive, which drove the majority of the budget. The runners are definitely more plush, which was good for hiding the staples. This one couple, which was part of my research did theirs for $100 – so it’s definitely possible to do this on the cheaper end with some more affordable rugs and different nailing tools. This DIY project was around $360 for us.

Before we got started, I vacuumed and washed the steps with Murphy’s Oil Soap to make sure they were super clean (& dry) before we put the runners on. After all of our construction, they definitely needed it! The smaller of the two stairs took us a little over an hour to get the runner on, and then larger steps, closer to 2-hours because it was a little bigger and these are the main stairs you see from the first floor.

Step-by-Step:
1. First you start at the top of your stair, with the flat end of the rug – make sure it’s centered within your stair with equal length on either side before stapling into place. Stapling along the sides of the rug and top is key to getting it secure!
2. Make sure it’s tight, as you work into both back of your stair to fold over top on the stair topper.
3. Once you get to the first ledge, it’s important to fold over and staple along the length to keep it in place and tight! Ours was tricky because it was very plush, so finding the sweet spot in between the plush was crucial to getting a tight and secure staple in.
4. Basically rinse and repeat down your stairs! You definitely get the hang of it after the first couple of stairs.
5. Once you get to the bottom, get an exacto knife to cut your leftover rug. We put a piece of wood underneath as to not damage our flooring and get a good straight cut across. Using heat along the cut edge will help from fraying – I suggest a heat gun. (We ended up cutting a little longer, and folding under to avoid the fraying).
6. Afterwards, I went back and replaced any staples that were super noticeable, or hid them by adjusting the rug with pliers ever so gently. I also went and reinforced any sides and areas that moved more than I liked.

B and I love how this turned out – and it is definitely an upgrade! As I mentioned, we may add a runner to the landing that matches or update the landing rug on the second floor to match this as well for a little more cohesion. I also feel like we need some new curtains for the bay windows… *immediately opens the Target app*.

5 Tips for Dealing with Contractors

It’s that time of the year when contractors start to come out of the woodwork, random projects or emergencies pop-up and we’re at the mercy of depending on someone else coming into our home to help us complete vital projects.  To be honest, we hate working with contractors, they all seem to be the same in one way or the other and try to avoid whenever possible… but at the same time as handy as we are, there are a few projects where we just draw the line. So here are some pro tips for dealing with contractors!
Contractor Tips - the bee life
Ask Questions. It’s important to ask questions before you commit; How much? What is this price inclusive of? Are there any extra material costs? What are payment expectations and timing? How far out are you scheduling, how long will this take? And then it’s important to ask questions during the work; How’s it going? Have you run into any roadblocks? Why are you doing that?

Set Expectations. One of the things we’re often at the mercy of when it comes to projects is times and dates – often being inconvenienced during the work week or the weekend waiting around for untimely workers to show up. So not only it it important to set expectations for the work being done, but also set expectations around schedules. We’ve had contractors stay as late as 9:30PM on a Friday night… which was completely longer than they initially said and we were held captive, but also our faults for not asking or speaking up sooner.

Get It in Writing. This may be a no brainer, but it’s easy when you know someone or have a family friend contractor to want to make a commitment via phone or in person. But! These projects can often lead to unexpected things and it’s not uncommon for extra materials, additional time and added costs to creep in. Having the price, expectations, and deliverables in writing helps for peace of mind and something to point back to if things get shaken up.

Don’t Assume. Sometimes when you’re working with a contractor, they don’t aways do the work but bring in guys who do – it’s important to run through everything with the workers as well, even if the contractor already did. We ran into that with our patio this past year – they were going to completely miss a HUGE portion of the project and I called it out… they totally wouldn’t have done it if I didn’t mention it and then A LOT of rework and probably additional money would’ve been needed.

Create A Dialogue. Don’t be afraid to check-in with these contractors as work is being done, it may even be beneficial to set the president of checking in at the start of the day (What are you planning to accomplish today?) and then before they leave (Did you accomplish X, Y, Z? When will you be back?)  B and I often tip-toe around not wanting to hover or get in the way, but guess what! It’s your house, your money, and you can’t be afraid to offend someone, ask questions, or simply check-in on the process – because at the end of the day you’re living with the end product.

Working with contractors and home renovation projects in general is exhausting, expensive and always seems to take longer than originally planned – so that is why it’s crucial to set up the project with these tips to help with some of the headaches!

Image Sources: Bathroom | Kitchen