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bujaly 05-23-2007 03:59 PM

Help w/ refinishing hardwood stairs...!!!
I renovated one of my mom's bedrooms not to long ago. I tore up all the carpet in the upstairs and that includes the stairs to the main level and uncovered these great looking hardwood stairs that just had a ************ load of staples in them and paint splatter on the edges. I'd like to refinish these. What would the steps be to do so. I do not want to use a industrial grade edger as that thing eats way to much wood way to quick. I don't have a problem using elbow grease with a sander..

Sand grit? 30 80 120...???
Orbital, square, belt or profile sander?
Should i use a stain that are ready has the protectant in it and if not, what do i use after i stain and with what and SO ON AND SON ON... Stuff like this is what I'd like to get answered...

Any suggestions are helpful... <img>

Big Dave 05-23-2007 08:19 PM

An orbital sander will be your best bet. A belt sander is too big and bulky and won't get into the tight spots of course. Start with a rough grit, of course. A 60 grit abrasive should work pretty well. If not then go down one more. A card scraper will get into the tight corners.

After you get the finish material removed then start working back up through the grits up to about 120. I don't like to go any smoother than 120. It starts to close the pores too much then it won't stain properly.

Be sure to completely remove all the scratches. If you don't then your stain will just magnify them.

Let the stain dry for at least 4 hours, I prefer overnight. Then you will want to start to coat with a good oil or water based polyurethane. I've come to like the water based better because you can two coat in one day and walk on it within 6 hours.

bujaly 05-24-2007 06:55 AM

Thanks my friend... One question. What is a card scraper or is there another name for that?

Big Dave 05-24-2007 07:10 AM

It's kinda like a paint scraper without the handle. Here's a link to one.

Minnesota Gal 05-26-2007 12:02 PM

Oh, I'm so glad you asked this question - I'm facing the exact same problem in my house. I've got pink paint slopped all over my stairs (from the former owner) and have been hoping to refinish them as well:)

Big Mackey 05-27-2007 07:05 PM

Just make sure you sand and scrape with the grain of the wood, If you don't, you will have a hell of a time getting all the scratches out.

Also it's best to use a sander with a bag, Take the bag off and tape the hose of a shop-vac to it. You might want to plug the vacuum into a different outlet than the sander so you don't pop a fuse.

Minnesota Gal 05-29-2007 10:47 AM

I spent some time working on my stairs this weekend. I got about 2 partially sanded, with many more to come. One thing I noticed was that the sandpaper tended to get gummed up, and if I didn't switch it out, the gummy stuff transferred to the stairs, and then I needed to sand it off again. Does anyone know why this is happeneing? It's old wood that I'm sanding (80 year old white pine). I noticed this when I was refinishing other trim in my house as well. It ends up meaning that I go through a LOT of sanding pads that have some gumminess on them, I end up tossing them well before it looks like they're worn out. Thoughts? Advice?


Big Dave 05-29-2007 05:53 PM

I've sanded stuff like that before and you get those little bumps of paint here and there. I've taken a knife and picked them off. Takes a little more time but saves on paper.

gshock 05-30-2007 06:51 AM


Originally Posted by Minnesota Gal (Post 46748)
It's old wood that I'm sanding (80 year old white pine). Liz

I did some refinishing on doors once that resulted in the same build up on the sandpaper as you're describing. It sounds like varnish or shellac of somekind. Friction from the sander heats up the old finish and makes it gum up and stick to the sandpaper and the floor. You might want to try a chemical stripper, then just use a finer grit paper for sanding. That way you don't spend too much time sanding and you won't remove as much wood.

Just a thought...

Brik 05-30-2007 11:18 AM

Read this thread and follow my scraper recommendations.

bujaly 06-11-2007 11:20 AM

Alright.. I had to go and rent an edger for these steps. They are solid oak and the finish is on there good. I now have the swirl marks the edger left behind. Do I need to get EVERY LITTLE scatch out, or can there be some small ones left behind?
Also, at the top of the steps, they turn 90 degrees, how do I get in that corner for the step that is at a 45 degree angle?

Big Dave 06-12-2007 08:11 PM

You do not have to get all the scratches out if you are not staining. If you are staining then, yes, you will have to get the scratches out. The stain will make them stand out like a sore thumb.

As far as getting into corners just be creative and try several different techniques that have been described above. The scraper would be the best bet.

bujaly 06-13-2007 07:16 AM

No, I'm not staining. I'm just going to use a water base sealer to bring the natural color then going to poly it.. When applying poly, easier or better to use a brush, or should I just use the lambs wool applicator?

Big Dave 06-13-2007 04:10 PM

I would use a brush.

bujaly 06-14-2007 04:43 PM

Almost Done!!
I went with the Lambs wool app on both. Tomorrow I go back for the final coat. Now, I put 2 coats on today, tomorrow though, do I use a 220 grit and lightly sand and wash dust away before I do the third and final coat? Anymore than 3 coats is just for your own piece of mind right? There will be very light traffic on these steps due to my mom being the only one that will be going up and down on these..

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