Staircase MakeOver

My front curved staircase is the first thing you see when entering my home.  The staircase was the reason I fell in love with my house initially but keeping carpeted stairs cleaned and vacuumed was a giant frustration.  After looking into replacing with wood, I decided on tile.  A hardwood replacement would have been far more expensive and required additional tools.  I wanted to create a statement look and love Spanish tile detail.  There are a lot of options for tile, but in the end I didn’t want to spend thousands of dollars on high end tile for the stairs.  I ended up buying my black and white tiles from Lowe’s for $1.29 per tile and the larger tiles ran about $30 per tile from Home Depot.

Before Pic (stairs with carpet):


Step 1

Prep the stairs/Remove carpet/clean surface

Remove all staples and hammer in remaining nails.  The carpet can easily be removed by using a small crowbar or flat head screw driver to get a corner of the carpet up and then easily pull the rest up.

Carpet removed



Step 2

Decide on type of tile and how best to position the tiles.  I wanted the top of each step to match the new flooring we installed upstairs, which was a walnut color.  So I chose a tile that was long enough to fill the full width of each stairs ( 48 inches long).  This way there would only be one grout line for the large steps and none on the smaller standard width.  I chose a detailed tile for the face because I wanted a statement look.  If this style is too bold for you, consider using the same large wood looking tile for the face of each stairs.


Step 3

Start by applying mortar with a trowel to the top side of stair.

Apply mortar


Step 4

Install schluter edge and tile.  This step is much easier if you have a partner who is measuring and cutting the tiles with a wet saw, while someone else installs.



You will need to make sure the schluter edge and the tile stay about 3/8 of an inch over the step, to cover the black and white tile that will cover the face of each stairs.  We improvised by making a small cheater guide with wood, cut to the correct distance.  This was easier than measuring each step.

Step 5

Grout – see my last grouting project for specific instructions.



Step 6

Finishing Touches

I used a white caulk on the face (edges only) and a dark/wood colored caulk on the steps.  I ended up painting the banister black and the final stair a similar walnut color as the wood colored tile.  We will refinish the lighter hardwoods on the first floor eventually but for now I don’t mind the difference.  Overall, I’m super happy with my new staircase, which is beautiful and very easy to clean!

Final Stairs


2 thoughts on “Staircase MakeOver

    1. The tiles have some texture and not a shiny surface, so they are really easy to navigate and not slippery at all.

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