I’m starting a project and have hit the first road block, or maybe it’s just a speed bump. I’m hoping someone here might have some better suggestions than what I have come up with so far. have a half-flight, interior staircase that is open. There are no riser plates between the stair treads. So as you walk up the stairs, from the landing, you can see through the steps, into the room below.

I would like to enclose the back of the open staircase with either a sheet of plywood, drywall or some other material. I would also like to be able to easily remove this backing in the future for cleaning or in case I want to make this a more permanent and elegant solution. Since the top of the backing would meet the ceiling of the room below I would also like to try to match the ceiling texture between that ceiling and the stair backing. The downstairs ceiling is a sand paint base.

So, I was thinking that drywall would not be the best choice since it might be difficult to easily remove in the future, and I wouldn’t be able to tape the joints where it meets the wall and ceiling. I guess I could add a piece of wood trim along the edges, but it would stand out. And if I used plywood, I’m worried that the wood grain will show through the paint. I guess the wall and ceiling joints are going to be a problem with whatever material I use. Given some of my past handyman experiences, I don’t want this to look half-assed.

Any other material that might work as the backing? Or since this a small piece of backing, could I just skim coat the plywood, lightly sand smooth, and then apply the sand paint? Any other ideas?

I suggest plywood, perhaps V board (Boxcar siding) like the old ceilings on porches were made of. This would be decorative and could be painted or stained a different finish than the rest of the room for an accent. This way it doesn’t need to be blended in to match. Different is aesthetically pleasing rather than it being all alike and monotonous (uninteresting). As far as removable, why? It will be like a wall. You do not clean inside a wall. You will, however, need to close up the front side of the steps.

If you do not want to install risers, close up the back of the stairs with what ever would look good in the spot. drywall would be fine im sure. just leave the bottom 8-10 inches open, say the back of the first riser opening. that way you can sweep the steps and it will all slide down to that open part and you can vacuum what falls out.

I would probably use plywood with screws from above (through the step). If you use a sealer on the plywood before painting there shouldn’t be any wood grain showing through. Shelac is a good sealer if applied over a smooth sanded surface.

Another problem you’ll need to address is that while any blanking material you use follows the slope of the staircase, the back of the treds do not.You can create a cleaning problem by not filling the space with a piece of molding prior toscribe fitting a piece of MDF, both sides of which are easily cleaned.

You could skim coat the plywood with joint compound and them sand it and attach with screws going into the bottom corner of the steps. Another material choice would be MDF which can be bought in 1/2 inch thickness. This has a naturally smooth surface takes paint well and cuts easily. You would attach it the same.