Refinishing the Stairs- Step by Step

Hope this helps.
This is the AFTER. The finally.
This brown wood part of the skirting was removed, painted white, and eventually re-installed. It was attached with screws covered with little mushroom caps. Handrail was removed by taking out screws. The balusters had to be cut, twisted and yanked out. They were nailed in with at least three on each end. Ugh.
In order to replace the balusters, we pulled out old ones that were not destroyed in the process, and used them to make this temporary makeshift handrail while we retro-fitted the old handrail with the new iron balusters. You can see where hubby is trying to sketch out where the wainscot will go.
Our landing is that particle board stuff (OSB). We used leftover flooring to cover this section and had to buy “stair nose” to get the rounded edge. The stair treads had a nice rounded edge already. Yea! But also builders paint, staples and tack strips. And 20 years of dirt.
This is after sanding the treads and risers. We added wood filler to smooth out really rough spots and deep holes. Then sanded again. Then we painted white….for freaking-EVER! Be VERY careful not to get primer on the treads where you are going to stain.
During staining process, we did every-other stair so we could still use them. We used foam applicators (worked great!)
After staining came three coats of poly. Several hours of dry time in between. I went with a satin finish, so it wasn't too shiny but also not too dull.
After the poly came more white paint on the risers. You can see why we needed to use cove molding in the finish work. Hard to acheive perfectly straight lines.
Here, the flooring is going on the landing. You can also see the cove molding that has been installed where the treads meet the risers, covering a lot of sins and looks great!
Finished landing. I think we did pretty good here matching the stain on the nose peice with existing floor color which is called "Saddle" by Bruce.
Close-up of the base: 4" MDF next to 5-1/4" MDF baseboards, then 1/2 shoe molding.
Close up of cap (kind of looks cropped out on this pic): We used 1x2 MDF with cove molding. Lots of caulk & paint.
Upstairs wainscot. Again-we used all 4" peices of MDF. Inside of boxes is just the drywall- painted to match.

Frequently asked questions

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  1 question
  • Carol Carol on Jul 31, 2017
    Is there a certain polyurethane to use so stairs are not slippery?

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