Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Yellow Shmellow

The last time I left you (decades ago) our stairs were had a beautiful railing, and a hideous yellow wall surrounding it.


Our plan was to cover the yellow parts of the walls with board and batten which would connect up to the upstairs hallway board and batten.


The first step I took to installing the board and batten was to attach the top rail.  The top rail was composed of a 3.5" MDF board with a 1.5" MDF board on top as a small shelf all attached using a nail gun.  I measured the length needed to reach the top of the stairs and calculated the angle of the stairs, which the ends would need to be cut to.


The ends were each cut at the same angle the stairs take as well as a compound 45 degree angle so that the ledge wouldn't stick out straight from the door frame creating potential puncture wounds if people took the corner too tightly.


The light was cut out of the 3.5" rail at the same angle as the end of the rail using a jigsaw.  The cut turned out a little off, but with paint it would end up being very unnoticeable. 


I then attached a piece of preprimed pine cove under the rail to add some fancy to the shelf.


One of the dumbest mistakes I made, especially considering I have a math degree, was to cut the top angle of the stair railing at the same angle as the stairs instead of at a 45 degree angle with respect to the board it would be meeting up with.  In the picture below you can see what I mean.  Since I had cut the angled rail at too sharp of an angle the hypotenuse of that board did not match the length of the hypotenuse of the board it would be matching up with.



As you can see I remedied this huge embarrassing failure by cutting a wedge at the angle I would need.  I did not cut a wedge for the top shelf piece since it would be too tiny to cut without losing a finger.  Instead  I ended up just sanding off the part sticking up.

I attached the same size 3.5" MDF boards around the perimeter of the bottom right stair side, only without the 1.5" shelf and cove.  I actually tried to match the angle the existing stair boards were at, which again wasn't very smart... should have matched my angles to get equal sized hypotenuses.


There was also the problem spot at the top of the stairs where the platform causes all kinds of issues along with the railing oval.  So for now, I just stopped here until Titus could work his magic.


I also painted the bottom boards before attaching them to the wall to avoid accidentally painting the floor.  I used Behr Swiss Coffee in semi gloss to match the rest of the board and batten, trim, and balusters all over the trio.


After the 3.5" boards were attached, it was time for the battens.  The battens are 2.5" MDF boards which are of course attached perpendicular to the floor.

I only attached two battens on the side of the stairs because of all the platform/railing oval mumbo jumbo.


When nailing in the battens, and the top and bottom rails for that matter, you need to make sure to nail into the studs, otherwise the nail will just come out and the batten/rail will come off the wall.  So basically you install each batten 16" apart since that is how far studs are apart. To insure the battens were perpendicular to the floor, I held Titus' three foot level against the battens to insure it was level before nailing them in.

The battens along the stairs were cut at a 45 degree angle at the bottom so as to taper into the stair side board thingy, which I apparently took no pictures of.  It was a compound 45 degree angle along with the angle of the actual stairs.


As you can see above the top rail followed the path of the stairs.  In essence, the rail angled up the stairs, went parallel to the platform, and straight up at the carpet to reach the height to match the hallway board and batten.  If you can follow all that.  At the top of the platform, I attached a batten that extended from the platform to the bottom of the upper rail.  The platform rail was then ended at that batten.  You can see what I mean in the above picture and the sneak peak below.  


After the battens were installed, it was time for the dirty work.  Seriously though, this step is annoyingly gross. I first filled all the nail holes with Elmer's wood filler and a spackling knife.  I could have also used spackling.





I then caulked around every single gap with paintable caulk.  You can use pretty much any kind of caulk as long as it's paintable.  That means every spot where the boards sit up against the wall, and at any spot where the boards come together.  I apply caulk by first squirting a strip of caulk along an edge then running my finger along the edge which removed any excess caulk and leaves a smooth rounded edge, and a sticky finger.  Remember that caulk is not sandable, so make sure you get it smooth before it dries.

You can see in the above picture there is a gap between the wall and the board, however, in the below picture the gap has been filled by caulk.


When I finished applying the caulk the wood filler had dried, so I sanded it smooth with some high grit sand paper.  I then used a damp cloth to removed the dust from this sanding.  I let the caulk dry overnight before attempting to paint it.

The next night, after all the holes and gaps had been filled, everything was ready for painting.  The MDF boards were preprimed, so I only needed to prime the edges that had been cut, like near the door and around the light switches.  After, priming I painted everything in Behr Swiss Coffee in semi gloss.


As you can see, while I was working on the board and batten, Titus was working on the flooring on the platform.


After he dominated that installation, I attached the bottom rail and battens above the platform.  We obviously still need to add the bottom rail to the back of the platform, but that is associated with a whole different set of issues we will show you later...

Until then here is the progress that was made:



I told you Jacque lives on the stairs.





And finally a shot of the board and batten matching up with the hallway, along with a little preview of another project.


This has officially ended the reign of the eye piercing yellow paint.  My eyeballs will hereby rest more easily.

A little before and after:






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