I love to hear old-timers tell stories. At a JLC Live stair building seminar taught by Jed Dixon, I talked with Jed and Don Jackson (editor of JLC) about installing skirt boards and how I was taught to install the treads and risers first, and then scribe the skirts over the top of them.
Don told me that they had a guy who taught that method in one of their Live events. Pre-built stairs were set up on stage with the treads and risers butting against the drywall on the closed side. The instructor told the audience that he was going to scribe the skirt over the in-place stairs.
During one of the sessions, an audience member raised his hand and said: “I’m sure it can be done, but for the time it’s going to take, and with the fit you’re going to end up with, it’s much better to install the skirt first!”
The instructor then asked the fellow if he had a $20 bill. The guy pulled one out of his wallet and the instructor pulled one out of his wallet. The instructor then asked the skeptic if he was willing to risk his $20 bill. The deal was that if, after the skirt board was installed, the skeptic could slip the $20 bill into any of the joints, he’d win the $20. If he couldn’t, he’d lose it. Game on!
In approximately 30 minutes, the skirt board was cut and installed while the step-by-step method was explained. The instructor left the event $20 richer.
This story fascinated me, and I asked Don Jackson what the instructor’s name was. “Don Zepp,” he replied. It brought back nostalgic memories. Don Zepp (who passed away recently) taught me the same method 30 years before, at the Williamson Free School of Mechanical Trades in Media, PA, 15 miles west of Philadelphia. At the time Don (“Boss” to his students) was 36 years old and, after graduating from Williamson himself in 1953, went to work for a large millwork company. Shortly thereafter he started Reliable Stair Company. In the following years, prior to teaching at Williamson beginning in 1964 (which he did for 27 years), his company site-built and installed over 7,000 flights of stairs, most of which had scribed skirt boards. I’ve had many good teachers over the years, some in the classroom and some on the job. Don Zepp was the best.
I moved to South Carolina fourteen years ago from Pennsylvania. In Southeast PA., I lived and worked for 25 years building new homes and renovating old ones. The standard in PA was to pre-order the stairs once the total rise from finish floor to finish floor was known. Typically, within a week, a great looking set of finished stairs would arrive on the job. They could have open risers on one or both sides, with bullnosed bottom treads, could accommodate any wall thickness, and be any width and species of wood that you specified. I literally installed hundreds of these stairs.
The job required four guys (minimum) with strong backs, one of whom could swing a 20-oz. framing hammer. The width of the opening that the stairs fits into is the width of the stairs plus the thickness of the finished wall material on both sides of the opening. In SC, the standard, by-and-large, has been: site-built stairs with strings installed by the framer, and the finish stairs installed by the trim carpenter or stair builder who comes in after the fact. I’m sure there are variations of these methods and procedures across the country.
A finished skirt board on a flight of stairs is one of those tasks in finish carpentry that remains in prominent view, always open to critique. It’s critical that the workmanship is of the highest caliber. There are several ways to accomplish the task when pre-fabrication in a shop is not an option. Given the choice, the tools, and the right situation, I would prefer to rout the risers and treads into the finished skirt, then glue, wedge, and fasten them from the underside. However, that’s not always an option.
Most often, in new construction, the site-built stairs I’ve seen have skirt boards installed with the treads and risers butting into the skirt. It is most efficient (and cost effective) to assemble the components by gluing and fastening the ends of the treads and risers from the back side of the skirt (when possible).
In years gone by, the finish stairs were often one of the last tasks to be performed, after the finish wall materials were already in place, making it impossible to get to the back side of the skirt. At Williamson Free School in PA, I learned how to install the finish treads and risers and then scribe the skirt over them. Over the years, this has been a great technique to know!
A few years back, I had to completely rebuild six half-flights of stairs in some high-end condos that had riser differences of up to one inch! The rough stringers were cut and installed from sub-floor to landing, and, after the fact, over an inch of Gyp-Crete was installed on the first floor, with a thin laminate on the landings. The carpets, cabinets, appliances, and all finish walls were installed before the problem was discovered. It wasn’t an option to tear out the finish walls to get to the closed end of the risers and treads where they butted the wall. I opted to re-frame the lower set of stringers, install the treads and risers, and scribe the skirts over the top. The stairs were stain-grade yellow pine, so putty and paint wasn’t an option.
Although I spend most of my time running jobs, and hadn’t built a finish set of steps in years, I believe I would have kept my $20 on all six sets.
Scribing the skirt board
To scribe skirt board over installed risers and treads, start with a straight skirt board laid on top of the points of the treads with the bottom corner against the finish or sub-floor, and the top corner above and beyond the top tread nosing. Finish nail this piece to the wall (leave the nail heads and part of the nail shank exposed for easy removal) and mark two registration lines on the wall, on the top of the skirt—one above the bottom tread and one above the top tread.
(Click any image to enlarge. Hit your browser's "back" button to return to this article.)
|Using an oak stick for a scriber (with a slightly rounded bottom, so it contacts the treads and risers like the point of a standard scriber)…|
…mark the height of the rise, or slightly more (use the highest riser if there’s a variance) and put a sharpened nail or brad through the stick with the point protruding slightly.
Next, scribe the level line of each tread (it’s important that you hold the scribe stick plumb), starting at the bottom and finishing at the upper landing tread.
Now, take the skirt board off the wall, cut the bottom scribe mark, and slide the skirt board down the wall until it rests on the floor. Make sure the top of the skirt is lined up with the registration marks you put on the wall. Finish nail the skirt to the wall again, leaving the nails proud for easy removal.
Next, change the brad point from the riser to the unit run dimension (or a little more).
Scribe from each riser face moving up the stair from the bottom. Again, it’s important to hold the scriber level as you work your way up the flight.
While using the same scribe setup, mark the projection of each stair nosing.
Next, remove the skirt from the wall and, using a sample tread block and a sharp pencil, draw the nosing, using the slight arc you previously scribed from the tip of the nosing as your reference point.
It’s time to start cutting. Start on the first riser line and cut every riser on the plumb line, working up the flight. Next, cut the treads on the level lines, starting at the top and working your way down. Remove the triangular piece as you go. Use a coping saw or jig saw to cut out the nosings.
TIP: When cutting, hold the saw at a slight angle to achieve an undercut, except for the top and bottom plumb cuts that the base will die into.
Once you’re finished cutting out for the treads and risers, slide the skirt into place and check for the “$20 fit” (a $1 bill will do, in a pinch). I like to have just enough material left above the nosing to allow some flexibility in the skirt, and also enough to receive a carpeted edge, if it’s not a finish set of stairs. Usually 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 in. is good. Depending on the rise/run and size of the original board, you may have to rip some material off the top edge.
Next, use a level to mark a plumb line on the skirt board at the top and bottom that matches the height of the flat portion of your baseboard. These lines will mark the vertical cuts for the skirt-to-baseboard transitions.
After cutting the base transitions, it’s time to nail the skirt in place. Nailing through the skirt at the nosing will draw it up tight. I also pre-drill each section of the skirt where it fits against the tread, close to the riser, and install a 4d finish nail.
Finish up by adding the base, base cap, and cove moldings. You’re done!
One advantage that I’ve found in scribing the skirt over the treads and risers is that the joint between the skirt and the finish stairs is not staring you in the face as you walk up the steps. It’s the same principle as starting the base or crown at the far end of the room and fitting to it.
The installation time is reduced with this method, since only the skirt board will need to be cut accurately. The time-consuming process of scribing and fitting each individual tread and riser is eliminated.
If it’s your first time, it might be a good idea to start with a set that will get carpeted, or with a painted skirt. It will give you the opportunity to practice before you try this method on a stained skirt board. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll get quick and accurate.
It’s not the perfect method for every installation, but for some jobs, it’s efficient and workmanlike!
(Drawings by Wm. Todd Murdock)
• • •
After graduating as a carpentry major from Williamson Free School in 1969, Norm spent 13 years working as an architectural draftsman, framer, finish carpenter, framing foreman, and superintendent for a production homebuilder.
For the next 13 years he was self-employed in residential and light commercial construction, building additions, homes and whatever came along. They did everything from the footings to the roof, excluding the utilities. Norm had a great partner, and they worked together for 25 years.
In 1996 Norm moved to SC to teach drafting and carpentry for 3 years at Bob Jones University.
In 1999 he started working part-time as a construction inspector, and full-time as a commercial superintendent for a contractor building churches, retail spaces, multi-family dwellings, and schools.
Looking for a change of pace, in August 2010 Norm went into business at age 61. The first project of the new business was to completely finish his present house. It’s the 8th house he’s built and lived in, not including the 3 renovations before the first house. He has the ambition and energy to do one more, but Sherry, his wife of 38 years, has given him a choice of another house or another wife—facetiously, he hopes!
For enjoyment, Norm works on his home, does smaller construction jobs, serves in his local church, reads, and works on the homes of his three daughters.
Norm is pictured here with Sophie, one of his 7 grandchildren.
Submitted by Ana White on Mon, 09/23/2013 - 10:09
Well, here's a first.
I'm going to show you how a carpenter makes a skirt.
And yes, it's a pretty skirt.
Step 1 Diagram
To be worn by the stairs.
Step 2 Diagram
Step 2 Instructions
So why do stairs need a skirt?
Well they don't really - you could run your baseboard down each riser, over each tread, mitering each corner, cursing any bullnoses.
But it would be a ton of extra work and look really busy.
So our solution is to cut a skirt that will slide between the wall and the stairs, that has a straight edge on top. That way our baseboard can just continue from the upstairs, right down the top of the skirt, around the landing, down the second flight of stairs, and on to the lower level.
Step 3 Diagram
Step 3 Instructions
Since the skirt is part of the trimming, we want to go from finished floor to finished floor heights. So we floored the landing area - the same as the upstairs.
Step 4 Diagram
Step 4 Instructions
Then we took a 1x12 board, a few feet longer than the flight, and rested it on top of the stairs.
Step 5 Diagram
Step 5 Instructions
Notice the board is resting on top of the leading edge of each of the treads, and brought down to touch the landing floor.
Step 6 Diagram
Step 6 Instructions
Then we determined how far we want the skirt to go past the stairs. I choose 4" for our stairs. Enough to give an even reveal of the skirt around the stairs, and still leave enough room for the baseboard to make the end corner.
So from this distance, use a level to mark a straight line vertically near the bottom end of the skirt board. This line gets cut with a circular saw.
Step 7 Diagram
Step 7 Instructions
The top meets the top landing and for us, it worked out flush to the wall. Again, a level is used to mark the top and this mark is cut off with a circular saw.
Step 8 Diagram
Step 8 Instructions
With the top and bottoms cut, this allows the skirt to drop down between the stairs and the wall.
But for us, it doesn't drop down enough, and a tiny corner of wall shows at the inside corner of each stair. What to do?
Step 9 Diagram
Step 9 Instructions
We trim the bottom edge of the skirt, square to the level end cut off, to bring the entire skirt down.
It looks like the skirt needs to be brought down more in this photo, but that's just the angle of this photo.
Step 10 Diagram
Step 10 Instructions
Once we were happy with the height of the skirt, we then need to go back and trim the top edge of the skirt off flush with the finished upstairs floor to allow the baseboard to make the corner from the hallway and down the skirt.
This gets marked with a level, and cut off with a circular saw.
Step 11 Diagram
That's one skirt done!
Step 12 Diagram
And you can see, our baseboard will now just run from the upstairs, around the corner, down the skirt, then around the landing and continue on. (I'll show you how we do that in a later post).
Step 13 Diagram
With the skirts cut just right, we then removed them and sanded and painted them on sawhorses. Much easier.
Step 14 Diagram
And then repositioned the skirt between the stairs and the wall and nailed it in place to studs in the wall.
Step 15 Diagram
And that's how carpenters make skirts!
Recently I noticed a set of stairs at a friend’s house that looked busy – he used his regular baseboard trim to trim the entire staircase. I wondered if there was a better option and realized that while completing a set of stairs on your own is challenging, dressing them up and making them look finished with a stair skirt board is much easier.
A skirt board on your stairs is a long, unbroken piece of trim just for your stairs. It either stands alone against the wall along the closed-end of your stairs, or you can run your regular baseboard along the top of it to create an unbroken line of trim from floor to floor. Either way, a stair skirt board negates the need for individually trimming around each step.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the variety of ways you can use a stair skirt on your stairs. There are myriad methods for skirting a set of stairs, which means there are also a ton of different looks you can achieve with a stair skirt. We’ll also investigate alternatives to stair skirts for those looking for a non-traditional finished stair appearance.
Contents (Jump to Topic)
What is a Stair Skirt Board?
A stair skirt board is an unbroken piece of trim for your stairs. If you have stairs with a closed-end – against a wall – then you more than likely have a stair skirt board. Stairs with two closed ends will have a stair skirt board on both walls.
The reason stair skirts exist is to simplify the finished look of a set of stairs. Rather than using your regular baseboard trim around each stair, it is easier to run a single piece of material diagonal along the length of the stairs. By doing so, you can connect the trim at the top of your stairs to the bottom.
Stair skirt boards are used wherever a set of stairs has a side abutting a wall. They are used to create a finished look in a home that features baseboards, unifying the different levels of a house.
Finally, a stair skirt board shouldn’t be confused with a stair apron – they are not the same. An apron is the trim piece beneath a balustrade and is horizontal to the flooring. A skirt board is specifically for stairs.
Do I Need a Skirt Board on Stairs?
You do not need a skirt board on stairs. If you don’t have baseboards in your house, then you don’t need skirting for your stairs. You might want stair skirting if you have baseboards in your house, as skirting will serve to connect, esthetically, baseboards on either ends of the step.
An instance when you would want a skirt board will be if your home has the same baseboard trim throughout the house. It would stand to reason that you’d want that same trim along the length of your stairs, too.
In that case, you would have a skirt board terminating at the top landing and allow your trim to run on top of the skirt board, down to the bottom of the stairs. You could also make your skirt board higher and use the skirt as the trim, connecting to the trim at the top and bottom of your stairs.
If you don’t have baseboard trim in your house, but want a finished look on the closed end of your stairs, then you’ll still want a skirt board. Trimming out each stair is time-consuming and will look extremely busy. One long, unbroken board is much more visually appealing.
When Not to Use Stair Skirt Boards
There are several instances when stair skirt boards just don’t make sense.
- Floating steps. Skirt boards only work when there is a wall to attach them to, so a set of floating steps is not able to accommodate a skirting board unless they are attached to the closed end of a wall.
- Your house doesn’t have trim. If you don’t use baseboard trim in your house, then it might look strange to skirt your stairs. A nice finished hardwood stair tread can also look nice against finished drywall, so it is possible to keep the aesthetics of a set of stairs without a skirt board.
- If your stairs cannot be removed, then consider avoiding installing a skirting board yourself unless you are very confident in your carpentry skills. Fitting a skirt board over an existing set of stairs requires decent craftsmanship. Not sure? Hire a contractor who specializes in stairs – they’ll have one done for you in less than an hour.
Stair Skirt Board Size
If you are ready to embark on a stair skirt board, your next question will be what size lumber to use.
Typical stair skirtboard size is 9-1/2” wide and a minimum of 5/8″ thick. The dimensions should be no less than 9-1/2” wide because the skirt must sit at least 1-1/2” above the nosing of the stairs. The length depends on how long the staircase is, and the thickness also depends on your existing baseboard thickness – but never less than 5/8”.
You can also run your baseboard trim over the skirt, which will create a nice, finished look if both the trim and skirt are the same thickness.
Most large home reno stores will have MDF, hardwood, and other types of softwood with thicknesses of ⅝” and greater in stock of common lengths – i.e.8, 10, or 12’. If you need an extra-long piece, then you’ll have to contact a lumberyard.
If opting for softwood lumber as your stair skirting, it will likely be pine or another softwood species that is commonly found in the framing lumber that is local to your area.
Stair Skirt Board Material
Stair skirt board material should be ½” to ¾” MDF, hardwood, or softwood. MDF and softwood are ideal for painting, while hardwood can be finished to match hardwood stair treads. Other pressed board, such as plywood, also works when the veneer is used on the exposed edge.
If you do not plan to paint your board and want it to match your hardwood treads, then you’ll have to contact a local lumberyard. Some home reno stores offer oak project pieces, but it’s doubtful you’ll find a piece of hardwood skirting that will be long enough for your stairs. And once you do find one, expect to pay a pretty penny for it.
You can also use plywood as stair skirting. This is useful if you need a narrower width for your skirting, such as 5/8” or 1/2″. Plywood resembles a pine board after a few coats of paint and is easy to cut and manipulate. Even very rough plywood can be sanded lightly and painted for a finished look.
One of the benefits of plywood for stair skirting is that you can purchase birch, oak, or maple plywood and stain it instead of painting. In that way, you can match the finish of certain stair treads to achieve a different look.
Last, consider using an MDF board for stair skirting. It is a type of fiberboard that is already white and comes in a variety of dimensions. It has finished edges, making it better suited for stair skirting than plywood since it is already white and doesn’t need a piece of trim on top of it to hide the unfinished thickness of the skirt.
MDF is easy to cut and is widely available at most big box home reno stores. However, it may be difficult to find a wide piece of MDF board for stair skirting, so you may have to order it and wait.
Where Do I Attach a Stair Skirt Board?
Attach the stair skirt board before the stairs are fully installed. This is by far the easiest and most accurate way to install a stair skirt board. Why? Because you don’t have to cut a piece of skirting around stair nosing and multiple rises and runs. Rather, you simply measure, cut each end, and nail to the finished wall.
Since a skirt is a finish piece, once you measure and cut your stair skirt, you use a finishing nailer or finish nails to attach the skirting board into the studs behind the drywall or paneling behind the skirt. Then you can fully install your stairs.
You can install your stairs first, then put the skirt board on after. This is more difficult for several reasons. First, you’ll have to precisely measure the rise, run and stair nosing cuts for each stair. Then, you’ll have to make the cuts – and a simple skill saw won’t be enough. You’ll need a router or have a steady hand with a coping saw to make it look nice.
While a skilled carpenter can install a skirt board after stairs have been installed with relative ease, it is far easier to install the skirt board first, and then the stairs. If the stairs are unfinished, see if you can detach them from the wall far enough to slide a skirt board behind. Otherwise, you’ll have to fit the skirt board around the stairs, which is harder.
Many people will find that removing their existing stairs to install a skirting board isn’t an option, in which case you’ll have to attach it over the existing stairs. If you are not comfortable doing this job yourself, hire a carpenter who will do it for you in the morning.
How Do I Attach a Stair Skirt Board
Installing a stair skirt board before the stairs are installed is the recommended method for installation. It is the easiest and you avoid making a ton of rise/run cuts to fit over the stairs. It also ensures that your stairs will fit flush up against the skirt without any gaps, resulting in a perfect finish every time.
To install a skirt board before the stairs, follow these steps:
- Having your stairs already assembled helps when installing a skirt board. This will allow for more accurate measurement when installing the skirting board. You can even install your stairs fully as long as you leave a 3/4” gap between the stairs and wall, which makes for an even easier install.
However, that isn’t always an option for stairs with two closed ends. At the very least, you can measure and outline the stair risers and treads against your wall, which will allow you to install skirt boards accurately.
- Once you’ve outlined your steps along your wall – which will be covered up by the skirt board – you can go ahead and attach your 1x material to the wall.
Place the skirtboard against the wall so that the bottom is against the outer edge of each stair tread. Ensure that you have at least 4” protruding on either end. Fasten lightly with two finish nails – don’t nail them all the way in, as you’ll be removing them later.
- Make a horizontal line from the top of the bottom tread across your skirt then remove the skirt from the wall.
- Cut the bottom line using a circular saw.
- Place the skirt against the wall, with the cut end flush against the floor. Re-attach it lightly with two finish nails just as before. The skirt board should be about 1 ½” above the tip of each stair nosing, vertically.
- The last two cuts depend on the height of your baseboard trim. The skirt projecting above your top step should be cut vertically to match the height of your existing trim if that is the look you’d like.
If you want your trim to go over the top of the skirting board, then you’ll cut the top of your skirt board to be flush with the top of the top tread or landing.
- Cut the bottom of your skirt board to achieve the desired look and height, depending on how you want to transition your trim from the skirting board to the landing.
Stair Skirt Board Alternative
If you don’t prefer the look of a stair skirt, or you have a non-traditional stairway, then you have a handful of other options.
You can go with no skirting at all. If you have nice, finished hardwood treads, for example, you may be able to get away with no trim if there isn’t a discernible gap between the stairs and the wall.
If you opt for no skirting, you run the risk of an awkward transition between your existing home baseboard trim on either end of the stairs.
Quarter round trim is an option instead of using trim or a skirt to finish your stairs. It has a far less busy look than using trim to frame around each step and is easy to work with.
Placing the quarter round around the entire profile of the stairs is difficult as you’d have to make awkward cuts around the tread nosing. Instead, place the quarter round under the tread lip down the riser and on the tread.
Baseboard trim around each step is another common alternative to a stair skirt. Some may disapprove of the busy look it creates, although if you have plain baseboard trim, it may not stand out as much as a decorative trim.
Decorative Molding or Trim
If stairs already in place, use a 1/2” decorative molding or trim several inches above steps and then apply a different paint over the molding and space below it. This allows you to avoid cutting around existing stairs while giving the appearance of a skirt, but without an actual skirtboard.
In that way, you are using the paint and narrow molding piece to fool the viewer into the appearance of a stair skirt.
A stair skirt is a finish piece of carpentry. That means you don’t want to mess it up because you’ll be seeing the flaws in your work for many years to come, along with anyone else who spends time in your house.
Therefore, if you aren’t able to remove your existing stairs and aren’t confident in your ability to cut a skirt around your stairs, then hire a carpenter. If you can remove the existing stairs or are doing a new build, then put the skirt on before the stairs. You’ll achieve a fantastic, gap-free look for your stairs.
If you have any other stair skirting alternatives or differing versions about how to install a stair skirt, then I’d love to hear them. Drop me a line or comment below!
Stair Trim-Out (3)—Prefinished Plywood Skirt Boards
The top of the skirt needed to miter into the horizontal skirt covering the stair landing. This joint was 30 degrees, so the miter angle was 15 degrees on each side.
Translate the treads and risers onto the skirt
I used a compass designed for scribing to scribe a line where each tread and riser would meet the skirt, making sure that my marks were at least 1/32 inch in front of the risers and above the treads to assure a tight fit.
I removed the skirt and put it on a pair of sawhorses with the marked side up, set stair gauges on a framing square to the rise and run of the stringers, checked the straightness of the scribe marks.
Using a utility knife, made new marks that were straight, square, and slightly more than flush with the treads and risers.
I made the riser cuts with my glide saw, but the angle of the tread cuts was so steep that I needed to use a 4-1/2 in. trim saw and a homemade saw guide.
Where the two cuts met I used a small pull saw and a rasp to clean the corner.
Stair skirt trimming
DIY Stair Trim – How to Add a Faux Stair Skirt
Sharing is caring!
Adding your own DIY stair trim is easier than you many think. Follow this tutorial to add a “faux” stair skirt board to your steps.
DIY Stair Trim – My stairs look 100% better with this “faux” stair skirt board added, since adding traditional trim wasn’t an option.
When we first moved into our new house, I knew the first thing that needed to be addressed was the steps leading upstairs. We had the upstairs floors professionally re-finished, leaving just the stairs for me to handle. Aside from painting the stairs green, I knew this issue of baseboard trim or a “stair skirting board” needed to be addressed.
The Problem: These Stairs took a Beating
As you can see, the walls around the stairs were in pretty rough shape. We just didn’t have it in our budget to rip out these stairs and re-do everything. So, I had to get creative. For less than $50 in supplies, I was able to add my own DIY trim and fake the look of a stair skirt board.
This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.
The Supplies: What I Used for this Stair Trim
**Please read the full tutorial below. I used extra supplies since I was also patching the plaster along the stairs. You may not need everything on this list!**
Tutorial: How I Rehabbed these Stairs and Added a Faux Stair Skirt
1 – Patch where needed
The key here is that you need the wall right above your stairs to be perfectly smooth. In my case, this was a tall order. This involved using drywall tape, patch (putty), and an electric sander (wear a mask!!!) to smooth out the walls. Here we are during the patching process:
2 – Cut trim and secure
Once you have a smooth wall surface and have filled any gaps between the stairs and the wall with caulk, then you can get started with the trim. I purchased this ornamental moulding from Home Depot. I used about three pieces, so this part of the project only set me back about $15.
Use a hand saw and miter box to cut the moulding at an appropriate angle to match the trim at the top/bottom of your stairs. In my case, I was working with a door frame at the bottom, so I cut a simple 45-degree angle.
Since the moulding is so light, you can just tape it right to the wall. Then go back with your brad nailer, and secure with small brads every 12-18 inches.
If any of the nails stick out, carefully set them with a nail setting tool. Then use wood filler to fill in the nail holes. Lightly sand, and you’re ready for paint.
3 – Don’t forget the details
Don’t forget to cut the moulding at the right angle to meet with whatever trim or door frame you may have at the top/bottom of the stairs.
** I also used DAP latex caulk along the edge of all of the stairs, since I had significant cracks and gaps.
4 – Prime and Paint
Tape off a line above the moulding. Then prime and paint the moulding along with the wall below the moulding. Once everything is painted the same color, if will give the effect of being a solid piece of solid wood trim.
This DIY stair trim project was part of a larger project – Re-Finishing and Painting our Stairs. It all turned out so much better than I expected with our measly $100 budget, and you can read more about that here.
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