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Old 05-14-2007, 07:24 AM   #1
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Can I paint my MDF treads?


Hi!! I've removed the carpet of my staircase and I've discovered an awful MDF underneath. Can I cover it with and oil-based primer? If so, can I paint it an varnish it afterwards? Is it going to be slippery??
Help!!!

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Old 05-14-2007, 09:16 AM   #2
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Can I paint my MDF treads?


Yes you can paint it or Varnish it. If painting 1 coat oil based primer and 2 top coats of a Mat,Flat,Lowluster high quality paint. If your talking varnish I would use Polyurethane of the same sheen I just mentioned.

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Old 05-15-2007, 04:35 AM   #3
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Can I paint my MDF treads?


Many thanks Darylh. Just one more question. If I go for the varnish, I don't need to apply the oil based primer before, do I?
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Old 05-15-2007, 06:47 AM   #4
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Can I paint my MDF treads?


I wouldn't varnish MDF
If you really want a see-through finish, I'd use a floor polyurethane (oil-based)

Off-hand I think that would look a little odd with MDF, but there's no other reason I can think of not too

For a solid color, go with oil based primer, and a porch/floor enamel (can be water-based)
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Old 05-15-2007, 10:44 PM   #5
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Can I paint my MDF treads?


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Originally Posted by v62calpa View Post
Hi!! I've removed the carpet of my staircase and I've discovered an awful MDF underneath. Can I cover it with and oil-based primer? If so, can I paint it an varnish it afterwards? Is it going to be slippery??
Help!!!
MDF treads...the only thing I would do with them is cover them again or replace them with wood. There is no way the edge of a mdf stair tread is not going to begin chipping off .
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Old 05-16-2007, 08:40 AM   #6
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Can I paint my MDF treads?


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MDF treads...the only thing I would do with them is cover them again or replace them with wood. There is no way the edge of a mdf stair tread is not going to begin chipping off .

Agreed. You either have to replace them or carpet them again IMO. MDF was used for treads as a cheap alternative STRICTLY for carpeting purposes and was never intended for finished wood application. Aside from possible chipping you will face other problems - MDF likes to swell and warp. Without sealing them 100%, even everyday spills and cleaning are likely to eventually swell your steps. MDF's arch enemy is moisture, not a good quality for a stair tread material... Also, without thick carpeting, MDF tends to creak a lot as well. Lastly, no matter what you do, as the others have elluded to, it will not look very good as a finished wood.
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Old 05-17-2007, 01:35 PM   #7
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Can I paint my MDF treads?


I agree with the others. Cover or replace. You might want to prime them top and bottom before recovering.
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Old 05-17-2007, 01:58 PM   #8
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Can I paint my MDF treads?


replacing tread is like rebuilding the whole stairs... probably put solid wood on top of the exising tread/riser and make the wood support each other... and using the tread as a moulding for the build rather than true support... then you will end up have a true wood stairs...
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Old 05-17-2007, 02:13 PM   #9
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Can I paint my MDF treads?


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replacing tread is like rebuilding the whole stairs... probably put solid wood on top of the exising tread/riser and make the wood support each other... and using the tread as a moulding for the build rather than true support... then you will end up have a true wood stairs...
You know, it probably wouldn't be feasable to replace the treads. If the treads are mdf, the risers are probably mdf too.

sounds like the only option is to re-cover them. On the other hand, don't the treads go on last? Wouldn't it be fairly simple to take them off and replace them? Adding wood to the top would change the height and then you have to think about bullnose to go with that.
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Old 05-17-2007, 02:20 PM   #10
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Can I paint my MDF treads?


There shouldn't be any height changes except the first step... which will be shorter than before by the width of the wood tread... because all steps increase by the same height....

the key is to find support for the tread ... of course take out the existing MDF treads/riser is the best... but that could mean a lot of work....

a compromise approach is just cover the MDF tread/riser up with true wood...

if it is me... I will cover them up without any nose... then buid hardwood on them ... as I just done mine like that and I like the result.. a lot of work and cost (approx $50 /step)... but result is excellant.....
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Old 05-17-2007, 03:48 PM   #11
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Can I paint my MDF treads?


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Originally Posted by KUI****G View Post
There shouldn't be any height changes except the first step... which will be shorter than before by the width of the wood tread... because all steps increase by the same height....

the key is to find support for the tread ... of course take out the existing MDF treads/riser is the best... but that could mean a lot of work....

a compromise approach is just cover the MDF tread/riser up with true wood...

if it is me... I will cover them up without any nose... then buid hardwood on them ... as I just done mine like that and I like the result.. a lot of work and cost (approx $50 /step)... but result is excellant.....
I'm just trying to understand what you're saying. what support? The stringers are the support. Either one on each side or one on each side and one in the middle. Remove the mdf treads and replace with bullnose oak treads. NO?
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Old 05-17-2007, 03:57 PM   #12
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Can I paint my MDF treads?


you probably right... I just thinking if someone try to be lazy... just lay the new wood on existing tread and probably angle some finish nails on the side of the stringers... replacing is the proper way I totally agree... I just think it would be difficult... as I never done that before... may be it is not that difficult...
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Old 05-18-2007, 01:24 AM   #13
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Can I paint my MDF treads?


OK, I see now. Sort of a veneer.
Thanks
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Old 05-18-2007, 08:28 AM   #14
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Can I paint my MDF treads?


I think laying down oak over the MDF is only going to muffle a squeek. I think its thick carpet or total replacement.

Joe - good point about the risers.. they may or may not be MDF. We'll have to see what the OP says. IF they are, it may be time to replace it all.

There are ways to save money, but I don't agree with this one. This is an example of builders not considering future use of a home, build for the now. Its one of those things that tries to save money and ends up costing money - great to lower the costs at first, but then when either the house is sold or the homeowner changes their mind about having carpet, they have to change out the stairs when ordinarily the stairs would have been good for many more years if oak was used in the first place.
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Old 05-18-2007, 10:54 PM   #15
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Can I paint my MDF treads?


Quote:
Originally Posted by KUI****G View Post
replacing tread is like rebuilding the whole stairs... probably put solid wood on top of the exising tread/riser and make the wood support each other... and using the tread as a moulding for the build rather than true support... then you will end up have a true wood stairs...
BEWARE.. doing this is going to make the bottom riser height too high and the top riser too small, by the difference of whatever thickness the new material is. This creates a serious tripping problem, and if the stairs are being done in conjunction with other work involving inspection, they will be turned down.

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