Reconditioning or refinishing wood staircase

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We removed carpet from these stairs and will be installing a runner. The runner will cover most of the area where the old rug was, however, I would like to clean up the stairs before putting a new runner on them. What would be the best (easiest) way to do this?
q reconditioning or refinishing wood staircase, foyer, painting, stairs, woodworking projects
  20 answers
  • Edward Cogan Edward Cogan on Sep 21, 2014
    V - I am in the process of doing this, except that I will be re-staining the treads, will paint the risers and stringers white, and will not put a runner down. Your steps look to be in good condition, but you may still need to do some light sanding and re-staining of the portion of the treads and risers that will show. Good luck!
    • See 4 previous
    • Sharon Sharon on Sep 23, 2014
      @Jeanette S My risers are white (I've just repainted, again) what would you use for paint to go darker? My treads are a tad darker than V's above.
  • Lori Jackson Lori Jackson on Sep 21, 2014
    I agree--paint the risers and refinish the treads. Even if you go with the runner, they will be beautiful.
  • Dianne Methner Dianne Methner on Sep 23, 2014
    We removed glued on carpet. We scraped off the glue hand sanded the floor and put polyurethane on the backs and steps. Lightly sand between each coat. We didn't put a runner on but your stairs will be beautiful if you put in the time and effort they need. Another option is lightly sand and paint with a floor paint. Good luck and have fun!
  • Susan Cryor Susan Cryor on Sep 23, 2014
    Don't paint. Wood is beautiful. Match the color of wood with stain, lightly sand the stairs, lightly, hand is good, mix stain color with watch Danish oil and apply according to directions on can. Totally restored, beautiful shine, NOT SLIPPERY like Polly, easy clean up,
    • V Valencia V Valencia on Sep 23, 2014
      @Susan Cryor Thank you for your suggestion. You mention "watch Danish oil"? Yes, I like no slip and easy clean up. Your stairs look great!
  • Ellen Hilliard Ellen Hilliard on Sep 23, 2014
    Susan, great tip!
  • Martha Martha on Sep 23, 2014
    My only bit of advice is: If you use wood filler for tack holes, go a bit darker than your wood rather than lighter. I made a mistake with light wood filler one time. The next time I used dark, and it blends in really well with the grain of the wood.
  • Susan Cryor Susan Cryor on Sep 23, 2014
    Sorry all. It is WATCO DANISH OIL. not watch... It can be reapplied fir nicks and dings....NO sanding needed. Absorbs into wood, nourishes the wood and is wonderful
    • See 1 previous
    • V Valencia V Valencia on Sep 23, 2014
      @Susan Cryor Very helpful! thank you!
  • I've used a homemade mixture to revive old wood made of mayo, olive oil, and lemon juice. I've used it on our wooden bathroom vanity that was dried out and did a post here on Hometalk on a little wooden table that I revived with it too. Here's the link. It might be worth a try! http://www.hometalk.com/4714019/wood-water-spots-removing-mayonnaise
    • See 3 previous
    • Joanna Joanna on Sep 24, 2014
      @Bev @ The Make Your Own Zone nice tip,I will certainly give that a go, Thanks
  • Nancy Jenkins Nancy Jenkins on Sep 23, 2014
    I hope after I take old lino of stairs to basement they will looks close to your photo. Winter project. Might need a hand sander, I will see.
  • Susan Gullham Susan Gullham on Sep 23, 2014
    I just did this to my stairs and they turned out great (first time I had stained anything since a craft project when I was a kid)! My treds are oak and risers pine. The treds were in pretty good shape so I sanded all, spot stained, and a new coat of poly. The lower risers were a mess so I completely stripped them and used a gel stain plus pre-stain conditioner and spar urethane. The higher risers I sanded, spot stained, and spar urethane. Nice thing about the gel stain is you can treat it like a paint, a glaze, or a stain (wipe off).
  • Myrna Engle Myrna Engle on Sep 23, 2014
    I"d take a bucket of hot sudsy water and SCRUB them thoroughly. Then use a paint brush to apply wax that's used for hardwood floors. It lasts for years and it covers a multitude of imperfections. Should they need more some time in the future you can put on another coat.
  • Enrique Barrera Enrique Barrera on Sep 23, 2014
    Use a good chemical paint remover, clean the wood really really good, then sand it, then apply wood filler slightly darker than the wood, stain it and finally apply varnish. It will revive 100%.
  • A good sanding and refinishing will make them look great again. Here is a few photos of one we did not to long ago that looked exactly like yours before we started. The photos were taken before we painted the final coat on the risers and stringers on the side. This job was done because the owner had just moved in and the movers damaged the bottom post so we had to replace it and secure the railing. While we had it apart we figured might as well do the entire project.
    • V Valencia V Valencia on Sep 24, 2014
      @Woodbridge Environmental Tiptophouse.com Thank you, yes, these stairs and railing look like mine. I have wood floors at the top of the stairs too. My house was built in the early '60s and these are the original stairs. I was trying not to go through the mess and all of heavy sanding and/or chemical paint removal. I am getting a lot of good tips on Hometalk! ;)
  • Janie Luke-Smith Burks Janie Luke-Smith Burks on Sep 24, 2014
    Mix 1/2 cup of olive oil & 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar. Dip cloth & clean wood, no need to rinse or dry. The wood is cleaned & amazingly the scratches seem to disappear.
  • Bea F Bea F on Sep 24, 2014
    I did the same thing that Janie Luke-Smith Burks did on my floors, and it worked perfectly. I had just removed the carpet to.
  • Jodi Jodi on Oct 21, 2014
    Does this work on hard wood floors? I have scratches in mine and my really don't want to sand them. Lazy!
    • Janie Luke-Smith Burks Janie Luke-Smith Burks on Oct 23, 2014
      Since Susan didn't have positive results on an old basement door, try it on an inconspicuous place first. I hope it works for you.
  • Susan Cryor Susan Cryor on Oct 21, 2014
    I did the olive oil cider on basement door VERY STICKY might be the varnish they used back in 1975?
    • Janie Luke-Smith Burks Janie Luke-Smith Burks on Oct 23, 2014
      I'm sorry it didn't work as you had hoped. Could it be it was cleaning layers of gunk? Since going that far, think I might continue cleaning on a small area to see what happens. If you do, would you please update us? Thanks for sharing your results.
  • Neloh Neloh on Dec 22, 2014
    Ladies, I have wood stairs to clean as well. Just removed the runner and that area is bare wood. House is 100 yr old so was thinking Murphy's Oil Soap. Your thots?
  • Nancy Jenkins Nancy Jenkins on Dec 23, 2014
    I removed vinyl but may have compromised myself cause not checking to see if it is asbestos base. It is gone so now I need to clean off steps. I heard the glue could be of asbestos base too so all of you ripping up floors, walls and stairs have the job checked before you do for your health's sake.
  • Vivian  Puca Vivian Puca on Jul 12, 2017
    I am tored of the rug on my stairs
    I am going to show this to my husbaand do it will inspire him. We can do it together.
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