Making a Fancy Dog Step – Installing Trim and Finishing

At this time my little dog, often referred to as my “Little Helper”, was patiently waiting to use her new dog steps. In the two previous posts a base carcass for the steps was built as well as the steps made of reclaimed walnut.
Next part was to add some trim to the carcass, paint everything up and attach the stairs.

All the trim was cut to 1 ½ inches and was made from the same sheet of 1/2 inch mdf as the toe kick. It was all glued and tacked in place with small brads.

Side Trim Installed
Side Trim Installed

The steps were put in place before the small trim on the toe kicks was installed. This was to ensure the trim was above the steps.

Test Fitting the Steps
Test Fitting the Steps

The toe kick trim was made by

  • Splitting the left over ½ inch mdf trim pieces used above
  • Making those split pieces 1 inch in width

At this point I was really running out of that sheet of scrap mdf.

Small Trim Cut
Small Trim Cut

When installing this trim, the step was kept in place while the piece on top of it was being glued and nailed in place.

Test Fitting Trim With Step In Place
Test Fitting Trim With Step In Place

With all the trim installed it was time to get ready to prime and paint the carcass.

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Small Trim Installed On Toe Kicks

One of the last steps was to fill in any gaps and nail holes with wood filler.

Trim Holes and Gaps Filled
Trim Holes and Gaps Filled

Everything was given a quick sanding to level any wood filler from the previous step. I used 120 grit sandpaper because it was aggressive enough to smooth out the filler but didn’t leave a lot of scratches the paint couldn’t fill.

Trim Sanded
Trim Sanded

A primer was used on the raw wood before painting.

This step wasn’t really necessary since the Behr Premium Plus Ultra paint used for the final coats has a primer mixed in it, but I had it lying around.

Two coats of Ultra Pure White semi-gloss were applied. I really like the that white from Behr. It is really clean looking and makes anything next to it really pop.

The walnut was so beautiful it would be a shame to hide that natural beauty with a stain. A danish oil and eventually furniture wax was used to finish the steps.

Dog Stairs Primed and Painted
Dog Stairs Primed and Painted

To install the step, the carcass was flipped upside down while the top step was maneuvered into position. When possible a storage container was used to help hold up the carcass.

Positioning Top Step For Installation
Positioning Top Step For Installation

Once everything was in position a drill was used to drill 6 holes for screws that would hold the step in place.

This was really overkill but you never know if your furniture pieces will be used by the circus and have an elephant step on it.

Pilot holes are necessary so the step wouldn’t split.

Screwing Top Step In Place Through Pilot Holes
Screwing Top Step In Place Through Pilot Holes

Installing the other steps was similar to the first one except the steps were held in place with clamps instead of resting on the floor.

Installing Second Dog Step
Installing Second Dog Step

Finally a coat of furniture wax was applied to add a little bit of protection.

Applying Wax on Dog Steps
Applying Wax on Dog Steps

It might seem that the steps on the dog stairs would be slick, but the natural grain of the walnut seems to be enough grip for my dog to walk up them.

For more anti-slip factor I would use stair tread installation kit along with some custom cut ruminant carpet.

Funny thing is after a month or two of finishing these stairs she got better and was able to jump on things again. At least we have something nice to sit on while getting ready.

If you’ve enjoyed seeing how I’ve made some fancy dog steps for my “Little Helper” please share these post with people on your social network.

Learn To Make Dog Treats

Making a Fancy Dog Step links.

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2 thoughts on “Making a Fancy Dog Step – Installing Trim and Finishing”

  1. Great DIY! I’m no carpenter but I followed your example and the steps turned out great. Really enjoyed building them. Major difference was I screwed the treads from the top and then covered them with trimmed walk-off mats from Home Depot (about $4 for two). Very stable, and my wobbly 85lb bulldog figured it out on he second try.

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