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Thread: Stripping/sanding stair treads

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Forest Grove, OR
    Posts
    1,167

    Stripping/sanding stair treads

    I have a set of stairs I want to refinish, with clear fir treads. There was a carpet runner down the center and they painted the sides of it, but the under-carpet part was clear. I want to restore it all back to clear.

    Anybody have a favorite tool? The tricky part is going to be keeping it even- I'm going to have to get around the balusters which is a tight area.

    At least its not lead paint, I have evidence that it was done in 1998 and the lead check pen says no.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Southport, NC
    Posts
    2,928
    Best thing to use is a chemical paint remover and a hand paint scraper. Use a stripper that contains methylene chloride and be sure to follow the directions. Use a paint scraper to work around the balusters. Paint scrapers come in a few widths so you should be able to find ones that will fit your spaces.

    Once you have all the finish off, sand the surfaces first with 100, then 120, 150 and 180 grit paper. Dust and vacuum and then apply a thinned (about 25-30% with mineral spirits) first coat of poly floor finish. Let it dry 24-48 hours and then scuff sand it with 320 paper on a sanding block. Dust and then appy three full strength coats.
    Howie.........

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Greenville, South Carolina
    Posts
    756
    This was discussed elsewhere recently, and the consensus seemed to be use an ROS for the main part and a detail sander for the tight spots. They were using those green and black tools, but I'm sure others would do.
    Cheers,
    Bob

    I measure three times and still mess it up.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Fairfield County, CT
    Posts
    958
    pros use a hand scraper that is razor sharp so you get a scraped finish that usually requires no sanding (tight spots) and edger for field but ROS would work.

    When working, hold a light bulb so the light is cast along the surface (hold bulb at nosing, in same plane as top of tread) and it will show you more highs and lows than you would otherwise see.
    Strive for perfection...Settle for completion

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Los Angeles, Calif.
    Posts
    1,993
    Festool ROTEX 150 for the stair treads (with shop vac--no dust). Using 36, 50 & 80-grits. Also use the Festool Deltex 93 for getting into the corners and other tight spots. Just did this job myself and they came out looking spectacular!

    JW

    Quote Originally Posted by Josiah Bartlett View Post
    I have a set of stairs I want to refinish, with clear fir treads. There was a carpet runner down the center and they painted the sides of it, but the under-carpet part was clear. I want to restore it all back to clear.

    Anybody have a favorite tool? The tricky part is going to be keeping it even- I'm going to have to get around the balusters which is a tight area.

    At least its not lead paint, I have evidence that it was done in 1998 and the lead check pen says no.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Grosse Pointe Farms, MI
    Posts
    143
    I recently stripped stairs that had been painted several times and then had carpet padding glued down for at least 40 years. I stripped the stairs first with a heat gun and a very sharp scraper. I sharpened the scraper frequently. I used a Bosch ROS on all surfaces I could and then a Ryobi detail sander for tight areas. I did not use a natural finish as you plan to do, but with a bit more work probably could have.

    Larry

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