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How to Refinish Hardwood Stair Treads - Part 1

People who have experience refinishing a wooden floor may balk at the idea of refinishing wooden stair treads. Some may view it as an inconvenience, but it can be quite easy. First of all, you need to know that stair treads need to be treated a bit differently than floors. It’s also recommended to seek the advice of a professional stair builder. Most stair contractors have years of experience refinishing hardwood stair treads. Here is what you need to do:

Gather your supplies for refinishing hardwood stairs. Preparation is important for the best results. Make sure you have figured out how to keep the staircase area well-ventilated. Think of it as if you’re working on a hot or humid day. Be aware of the fact that you may need more time for any stains or finishes to dry.  You’ll need a variety of old rags, brushes, towels, mineral spirits, paint thinners and sandpaper. Safety goggles are also highly recommended when doing a project like this. A good shop vacuum cleaner is also extremely important.

Always get the right sander and edger for stair treads. You can try renting one at a nearby store, when inquiring about sanders, be sure to ask about the perfect sander and edger for small spaces. Depending on the actual hardwood stair treads, you’ll have to prepare the surface properly.

Remember you are going to refinish hardwood, and the odds are that you aren’t working with unfinished wood. You’ll be working with wood that has been sealed in some way or has old and worn stain or paint on it. You’ll want to sand the wood right down to its original bare state, leaving it porous and ready for stain or paint. This can be somewhat tricky when working with hardwood stair treads. It’s because you’re sanding a small area on an incline.

However, as long as you have the exact size sanders, you will be fine. You can practice on a spare piece of wood first. Don’t focus on minor scratches or cracks, those are very easy to fill in later with a wood filler. Remember to sand each step at least three times, using a different grit of sandpaper for each part of the process as well. Overall, you’ll have to complete the entire staircase with one type of sandpaper before moving on to the next type of sandpaper.