Your basement stairs are a hazard, and you've got to do something about them, but you're not sure what to do. You want them to look nice, but they're for a basement, so there's no reason to spend a ton of money. Think about these Unfinished Basement Stairs Ideas and see if any of them will work for your space.
1) Paint Them
Paint is almost always one of the cheapest ways to finish a space. You can transform a room with it or merely make a stairwell look better. Check out this guide to learn how you can paint wooden steps to make them more durable, seal them to keep water or mud from damaging them and make them look nicer at the same time. If you decide that the paint isn't enough, you can always add something else over the paint later on.
2) Porch and Floor Enamel
If you have a walkout basement or use your basement as a garage or workshop, chances are you'll be walking up and down the steps with dirty or wet shoes, and you'll want the stairs to be sealed well enough to protect them from anything. While paint can work well, a porch and floor enamel is designed for outdoor use and designed to be walked on. That means an enamel like this from Amazon should be a durable choice for a workshop or garage basement and still make the stairs look nicer.
3) Wood Treads
If your basement stairs are simple unfinished wood, you don't have to do a lot to make them more durable and waterproof. In this video by Komar Project, you can see how they transformed unfinished steps into a good-looking and useful stairway by staining the steps and painting the kick stops. This left a finished look that might not be perfect for your living room stairs but works well for a cheap basement stair makeover that will endure whatever you put it through.
4) Stair Treads
If your basement steps are slippery, you're probably looking for ways to give them traction without spending a lot of money. After all, it's an unfinished basement, so you don't need to pour any more money than necessary into it, but if you're working downstairs and get dirt, water, or workshop chemicals on your feet, you'll want to be able to use the stairs safely. Stairs treads like these from Amazon are a cheap way to make the steps safe.
5) Carpet Runner
If you're using your basement as a workshop or staging area for projects, your main concern is probably safety. There are a variety of ways to make the stairs safer, but you'll need to figure out which way is best for you. A carpet runner can make the stairs safer since you're less likely to slip and make the stairs look nicer in case you decide to finish the basement or part of it later on. You can use the directions in this article to install a runner if you have concrete stairs or hire somebody to install it.
6) DIY Install Drawers Underneath
If your stairs aren't finished, they probably just have empty space under them. Maybe you've stored a bunch of tools and other odd things under them, but it's not the most efficient storage space. You can use this video by Neil Lovegrove to make that space more efficient by adding drawers to hold tools, nails, supplies, or whatever makes the most sense in your unfinished basement, This way, you're using all the space instead of wasting it.
7) DIY Waterproofing
If your basement has outdoor access, one of the most important things will be to waterproof it so that it doesn't get destroyed by the elements and become hazardous. There are a lot of ways to do that, but if you're just trying to make the stairs functional, try using a waterproof coating like this. It's a cheap and easy fix that will last a long time without wasting a lot of your time. You can also look for anti-slip coatings if you're worried about tracking water in and slipping on the steps.
What's your unique basement stair problem, and how can you fix it? Did any of these suggestions give you an idea? Please let us know in the comments below.