Hello, I've taken the 20 yr old carpet off of our stairs. I planned to just recarpet but thought after seeing the unfinished wood underneath to fix up the wood and do a runner. I'm very novice but enjoy doing things myself. Our banister is wobbly too so I plan to paint the spindles and re-stian the rail(top part) to match the stairs, then have someone come and re-glue it or whatever it is they do to stop the wobble.
The main issue (to make a long story short) is how to go about the stair treads. I see some gouges in the treads but most of them would be covered with the runner. There are nails in the side where they will be seen. Should I hammer them in deeper and fill with wood filler? I'll be using a palm sander(because that what I have) . I plan to use an 80 grit, then a 120 or 150. I've been told not to go higher than that. I don't know what kind of wood it is. My questions I guess is first off: do you think a novice like myself could do this?
And is there any way to cut down on the dust?
And if I go ahead with this I've be told to stain them the same color as my floor which is like a medium cherry wood? I've be told the dark you stain the easier it is to see your flaws.. or should I go lighter (My walls are yellow with white trim) And then do a (don't cringe) meduim brown carpet runner that would match my hardwood floor?
I'm feeling alittle out of my elements here and need a few tips and trick to make me feel a little more confident.
thanks in advance
80 grit is fine for stripping top coats but overkill for what you are doing. I would go 100, 120, and 150 for the intended application. If you have to strip your balustrade then go 80, 100, 120, 150, 180, 200. The top coat will only feel as "sooth" or "soft" as the wood underneath so on the balustrade expect to do more sanding for a nicer finish. You will have to do the majority of the balustrade by hand. Make sure you have plenty of sand paper on hand. You can attach a small shop vac to your orbital (palm sander) if it is so set up to catch the majority of the dust. You will have to vacuum as you go for the rest. You can search zip wall and see if that may be an option for you as well.
Typically you do finish the treads and risers to match the floor (sometimes risers are painted instead). Usually you would want to replace the treads and risers with same species of wood the floor is. The flooring manufacturer can tell you what stain and top coat to apply for matching the current wood floor (keep in mind you will most likely not get an exact match due to the different wood types and may have to play on some scrap wood to get it close). Make sure you wipe everything down with mineral spirits after sanding and between coats. Also make sure you sand or "rub" between the top coats with steel wool and wipe down with mineral spirits in between coats. Wear gloves when working with mineral spirits, stains, and top coats. I prefer neoprene gloves (the blue ones not the thick black ones) as they are not as prone to ripping as latex or vinyl. Also make sure there is plenty of ventilation when working with the finishing materials.
You can do this yourself once you have someone make the repairs to stabilize things for you if you are not comfortable tackling that part of things.
The advice so far is good and sound. I would add that you should get a drywall filter for the shopvac though as the sawdust is really fine. I rube goldberged PVC fittings and duct tape to adapt my sanders to shopvacs and tubing extensions I bought and this works great. You will still get some dust but most will be captured.
I bought a contour sander to adapt to shapes and things and it was well worth it. But I do a fair amount of this sort of thing.
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