Asked on Oct 23, 2020

How to strip Oak thread stairs ?

Carrie @ Curly Crafty MomMike THolly Lengner - Lost Mom


I want to change the color of my oak stairs in my house, what do I do?

16 answers
  • K. Rupp
    K. Rupp
    on Oct 23, 2020

    Hi Karen,

    Is there a thick finish on your stairs already. If so, you can strip them with Citristrip. If not, you can just go ahead and start sanding. There will be a ton of dust so make sure you have a vacuum ready. Start with a lower number in the 100's grit and work your way up to 220.

    Make sure you vac and tack cloth everything up and the floors are smooth and ready for your next step. What do you plan to do, stain or paint?

  • You will need to remove the old finish first. I agree, Citristrip is a great choice. If you use it, there will be a lot less sanding needed - and less dust.

  • GrandmasHouseDIY
    on Oct 23, 2020

    Hi Karen, if they're painted you can use any type of paint stripper on them to get it off. However, if you're planning on painting them anyway and the current paint is in good shape, you can just skip the arduous task of stripping your stairs and just paint right over it. I would consider using oil based primer and paint though because its a high traffic area.

    If you want them back to wood though you will need to strip them, sand them down to raw wood and then you can stain and seal them.

  • Vimarhonor
    on Oct 23, 2020

    Hello. Polyshades might be a product to consider. You may not need to strip.

    Here’s a link to look over the content and see if it’s a product that will meet your needs. It can be applied over existing existing poly finishes without any stripping or sanding. I find reviews and Q&A’s can often direct me towards the correct purchase. Hope this helps.

  • Kathy Gunter Law
    Kathy Gunter Law
    on Oct 23, 2020

    I would begin with CitriStrip since it is indoors, due to the mild scent. Make sure not to let it dry, it is horrible to remove once dried. Depending on the current finish, you may have to repeat. Then clean and you will be ready to stain the color as you desire.

  • Tere
    on Oct 23, 2020

    Thanks a lot, will try

  • Deb K
    Deb K
    on Oct 23, 2020

    Hi Karen, if you want to keep the wood grain look, you can sand or strip the existing finish, but if you want to paint, just clean them really well and put to or three good coats of paint on them.

  • Morgan McBride
    Morgan McBride
    on Oct 23, 2020

    Sand, stain, seal!

  • Dee
    on Oct 23, 2020

    Sand with a palm sander, make sure you get in the crevice, so that it is not darker or lighter than the stain you want to use. Make sure you clean really well after sanding. Use KrudKutter. Let dry and then apply a wood conditioner, before you re-stain to keep the color even. OR just paint the stairs the color you want to

  • Betsy
    on Oct 23, 2020

    Hi Karen: You can try using Citristrip. I love that stuff! Here are some sites that may help:

    One thing you might want to do is paint them to look like wood. Here are some sites that will help with that:

    Good luck

    • Cynthia H
      Cynthia H
      on Oct 24, 2020

      Hi! When I whitewashed my solid oak table I discovered how different oak is to work with. I stripped and sanded to remove the old finish. It took a couple of tries to get it all off. Plus, it was unbelievable how much grime had been ground into the finish. Once I got the old finish off, I used a sealer to let me put my new finish on, and then sealed it. A lot of work, but, it still looks great! If you are painting them, I would scrub them after vacuuming them. Then I would sand them to scuff the finish, prime and then paint them with a good floor paint. Good luck!

  • Cindy
    on Oct 24, 2020

    If you plan to strip the stairs, I recommend using Citristrip. If you plan to paint or stain the stairs, you will need to sand them. A palm sander would make the job easier. Be sure to clean off all the sanding dust. It's very important to remove all the dust. Then start with a clean surface. It may take 2 or 3 coats of paint. Allow each coat to dry completely before painting on the next coat. Then apply a sealer.

  • I hate chemicals, so I would sand, sand sand and then follow painting/ staining and sealing instructions appropriate for the new finish you choose.

  • Johnavallance82
    on Oct 24, 2020

    Hello Keren,

    You could stain it a darker colour on top of what you have or use a dark Wax or strip and star again.

  • Holly Lengner - Lost Mom
    Holly Lengner - Lost Mom
    on Oct 24, 2020

    Hi Karen, you could check out some of these posts:

  • Mike T
    Mike T
    on Oct 24, 2020

    If you are going darker, give the stairs a rub over with medium sandpaper to break down the top surface of your stairs which will enable your new wood dye to adhere to the stairs. If you are going lighter sand the stairs down to the basic wood and give them two coats of stain and if you you do either, finish of with two coats of clear varnish and they will look fantastic

  • Carrie @ Curly Crafty Mom
    Carrie @ Curly Crafty Mom
    on Oct 24, 2020

    I found this, which has some tips for oak stairs:

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