DIY Home Improvement Forum banner
1 - 20 of 22 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone,

Very new to woodwork. I recently ripped out carpet on my old curved staircase and the stairs are looking a little rough. I am thinking of tackling a refinishing job. Attached are two photos.

My first question is what do I do with those nails? Are they holding the tread to the stringer, or is it from the carpet tacks? I am not sure whether to try and pull it out, or whether to just cut them. The nails are all along the back edge of the steps.

My second question is what product to use to fill the holes afterwards if I try to pull the nail out.

Brown Stairs Wood Rectangle Beige
Brown Wood Flooring Floor Plank


Thank you very much!

Jon
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14,010 Posts
I suspect the nails were for the carpet tack strips. If you fill the holes after, don't use a putty filler; those won't take stain the same as the wood would (assuming you're staining and not painting). You can stain, and then use a color matched wax filler (like filling a hole with a crayon).

If a catspaw won't work to pull the nails you can use vise grips with some leverage.
 

·
In a little over my head
Joined
·
1,551 Posts
Those look more like carpet tacks than structural nails. Pull 'em. Buy a couple nail pullers. Pick up a trim bar with a cats paw at one end and a mini Wonder Bar. Go slow. If a nail is long and looks like a structural nail, set it below the surface with a nail set.
Tool Font Metal Titanium Fashion accessory

Office supplies Writing implement Font Office instrument Tool


Sand the rough edges and splinters.

Personally, I wouldn't even fill the holes.

When we pulled up the carpet in our 1958 built hardwood floors, we found dozens of common nails driven through the oak, presumably to fix squeaks. We pulled them as carefully as we could and had the floors sanded and refinished (poly.)

People seem to think old wood needs to look perfect. It doesn't, IMO. Nothing wrong with honest wear and patina. In the 20 years since we refinished the floors, NO ONE has ever noticed or mentioned the imperfections in the floor.

When I see a nail hole or imperfection, I figure it's part of the life and living the house has seen.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks. This is all very helpful. I did manage to get nearly all of the nails out with the pry bar. Bought a nail set for some where the nail was super tight and it broke off so I will just drive it deeper.

Can someone help me with the steps now?

Do I now sand it down (I'm going to buy an affordable orbital sander) and then stain, and then poly? I read that I should send with a 60 first, then a 120?

Thanks again everyone. This seems like a rough/tough job but I am eager to try (and to save from having a contractor do it).
 

·
In a little over my head
Joined
·
1,551 Posts
....Do I now sand it down (I'm going to buy an affordable orbital sander) and then stain, and then poly? I read that I should send with a 60 first, then a 120?....
Congrats on the nails. That plan sounds right. My advice? Don't buy a sander that's too affordable. Unlike a saw or drill, once you turn a sander on, it doesn't get much of a break. Buy a decent one. You'll find plenty of opportunity to use it again.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,406 Posts
We are not carpenters, but woodworking is our hobby. We make a lot of things with recycled wood and have to fill in a lot of holes. We use sawdust mixed with carpenters glue to fill in the holes. It takes the stain beautifully. So save your saw dust from your sanding and
put it to use. After filling the holes sand them and proceed with your staining. You won’t notice the filled in holes at all.
 

·
retired painter
Joined
·
13,140 Posts
Sanded it will all look like fresh wood. Going over the initial rough sanding with a finer grit helps to eliminate sanding scratches. ANY cross grain sanding scratches will show once you apply stain!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,406 Posts
We used both an orbital sander, and a belt sander and a flat sander ( the name escapes me)
At the end use a fine grit sandpaper. Your stairs look to be in good condition. Don‘t worry, it will come out good. Are you staining it?
 

·
retired painter
Joined
·
13,140 Posts
Cross sanding is where the sand paper is run across the grain which highlights sanding scratches, The grain helps to hide the scratches when sanded with the direction of the grain. An orbital sander usually doesn't leave cross grain scratches. Often you need a little scraper to get into the corners.

I like to apply the stain with a brush but the excess is always wiped off with a rag.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,406 Posts
Yes. I'm going to stain it for sure. I've seen videos where a paint brush was used to apply the stain, and others where a cloth was used. Any sage advice there?
I do all the finishing around here and like using a cloth, more control.
I like water based stains (not gel stains) I’ve had good luck with Minwax stains.
I used a mix of special walnut with some English chestnut mixed in.
Are you trying to match your floors? That’s what we did.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thank you everyone for the advice. Very thankful.

I would like to match the floors but worry that is too advanced for me. If I can rejuvenate the stairs, I'd be more than happy already!

In terms of the scraper for the corners, is something like this sufficient?


I also have a 5 in 1 paint type tool. Maybe that will work?

I have some pliers so will try to pull out some of those nails without the heads!
 

·
Registered
Way to many to list.
Joined
·
248 Posts
We are not carpenters, but woodworking is our hobby. We make a lot of things with recycled wood and have to fill in a lot of holes. We use sawdust mixed with carpenters glue to fill in the holes. It takes the stain beautifully. So save your saw dust from your sanding and
put it to use. After filling the holes sand them and proceed with your staining. You won’t notice the filled in holes at all.
+1 on sawdust and glue. Make it look like peanut butter.

Good luck...Don
 
1 - 20 of 22 Posts
Top