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Old 02-17-2012, 11:56 AM   #1
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Finishing 20yr old pine stairs


Recently moved into a new house that is 20 years old. The stairs (pine) in the house are unfinished and have never had any floor coverings, stain, varnish or anything on them. So the stairs are bare wood just 20 yrs old with 20 yrs of use. The previous owners walked on these stairs for 20 years so they are pretty smooth. My plan is to stain the treads and paint the risers. My overall plan is to:
- Clean the stairs
- Fill the nail holes
- Sand with 120, clean dust
- Sand with 220, clean dust
- Apply wood conditioner
- Stain
- Wait and stain again
- Poly, wait, light sand (x3)
My questions are:
1. Is my above plan okay?
2. What grit sandpapers should I use to sand the stairs? Using a mouse electric sander. My plan was to sand once with 120 then sand again with 220. Is that okay?
3. As you can see in the attached picture he used about 10-12 16 penny nails per tread. I set all the nails. Is it okay to fill the holes with a stainable wood filler? I've heard wood filler pops out of soft wood after 1-2 years.
4. Is a damp cloth okay to clean sander dust or do I need a tack cloth?

I will try to post more pictures when I get home. Thanks for the help.
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Finishing 20yr old pine stairs-dsc02786.jpg  

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Old 02-17-2012, 12:04 PM   #2
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Finishing 20yr old pine stairs


Those look like constrution treads not finished treads from that angle, your also missing a skirt on one side.
Is the nosing rounded over on the front of the treads?
Your also missing a landing tread at the top of the stairs.

If there just rough pine treads I'd install the skirt on the side and install all new treads after removing the ones you have now.
What's on there for risers? How about a picture looking up the stairs.

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Last edited by joecaption; 02-17-2012 at 12:08 PM.
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Old 02-17-2012, 02:01 PM   #3
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Finishing 20yr old pine stairs


Quote:
Originally Posted by joecaption View Post
Those look like constrution treads not finished treads from that angle, your also missing a skirt on one side.
Is the nosing rounded over on the front of the treads?
Your also missing a landing tread at the top of the stairs.

If there just rough pine treads I'd install the skirt on the side and install all new treads after removing the ones you have now.
What's on there for risers? How about a picture looking up the stairs.
I'm aware of the missing skirt. Everything you see is his doing and has also been that way for 20yrs (also his decorating). The previous owner started many projects without finishing any of them.
There is about a 1" tread nosing. It's not rounded. I've attached a couple pictures (only ones available to me here at work) but will post better ones this evening when I get home.
I've never heard of construction treads vs finished treads? Could you explain?
I would like to keep the current treads in place. Removing the old would mean I have to remove the banister and railing which I would really like to avoid.
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Finishing 20yr old pine stairs-dsc02797.jpg   Finishing 20yr old pine stairs-dsc02765.jpg  
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Old 02-17-2012, 06:44 PM   #4
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Finishing 20yr old pine stairs


Here's a few more pictures
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Finishing 20yr old pine stairs-dsc03512.jpg   Finishing 20yr old pine stairs-dsc03513.jpg   Finishing 20yr old pine stairs-dsc03514.jpg   Finishing 20yr old pine stairs-dsc03517.jpg  
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Old 02-17-2012, 07:26 PM   #5
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Finishing 20yr old pine stairs


I don't know about the wood filler popping, but the rest of the plan seems reasonable. Depending on the amount of dents and scrapes you want to remove, you mint want to start gently with an 80 grit to really blend and smooth your wood.

On a separate note, what the hell was this guy thinking? Maybe he was planning on painting or carpeting but that many nails is in-excusable. Before I looked at the pictures I was going to suggest new high quality oak treads on top of the pine, or a facing of some other sort, but the spindles pose a significant challenge.

Perhaps you could drive the nails down and put a small wood plug above them? Less filler and more actual wood...good luck.
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Old 02-17-2012, 07:34 PM   #6
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Finishing 20yr old pine stairs


Constrution treads are what the builder puts in place temperaraly so they can go up and down the stairs.
A real tread would have a rounded front edge, no knots and would look 100% times better then the ones you have now. Those just look like grade 2 building lumber. If your going for the rustic, still under constrution look there fine.
Also your railing is illegal. A railing needs to be gripable. not more then
2-1/4 wide I believe. Someone just cheap out and used a 2 X 4.
http://www.woodsthebest.com/Stairs/building-codeUS.htm
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Old 02-17-2012, 08:12 PM   #7
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Finishing 20yr old pine stairs


Thanks Zanfirico. Funny thing was he's a contractor and he built the house. I just found this chatroom and I will be posting numerous questions on here. For example there is no deck on the house. Ledger boards attached to the house, patio door off the dining room that opens to a 10 foot drop where the deck is supposed to be but nothing there. He was different.
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Old 02-17-2012, 08:34 PM   #8
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Finishing 20yr old pine stairs


Do check the run and rise on the steps--and give us the depth of the pine treads---the stairs look rather steep in the picture--and the treads a bit narrow---there are two or three stair masters as members and that info will help--

As to sanding and staining---go for it--but lets see if the tread size is good first----
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Old 02-17-2012, 11:15 PM   #9
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Finishing 20yr old pine stairs


rise - 7 5/8 (top of tread to top of tread)
run - 10 5/8 (depth of treads)
1" nosing overhang

10' 8" total rise
8' 11" total run

14 steps (number 14 is 2nd story floor)

Went ahead and sanded one stair with 120 grit, cleaned, sanded with 220, cleaned, applied wood conditioner, then one coat of stain. The boss (wife) is pleased so I plan on sanding the rest tomorrow. It definitely has character but so does the rest of the house. I wonder how the stain would've taken if I had not sanded at all...
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Old 02-18-2012, 06:51 AM   #10
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Finishing 20yr old pine stairs


7 5/8 rise---9 5/8 run---10 5/8 tread---a bit steep --someone with code knowledge will check in soon--But I think you are okay---I'm not a stair guy,but I've built a few---

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