When we moved into our house, everything was painted grey. I mean EVERYTHING. Our bedroom was charcoal. The office was a weird blue-grey. The spare bedroom was dark blue and grey. The bathroom was purple-grey. The stairs were painted grey. Yes, the innocent, original hardwood stairs were painted grey. Why? I'll never know. All that I knew was that the paint had to go. And thus began our DIY Staircase makeover!
After we painted a couple of the upstairs rooms, the staircase remodel was the first "big" project on our to-do list. When you walk in the front door, the stairs are the first thing you see. And they were NOT cute. We knew that the stairs had likely been painted several times and someone had even added some kind of grit/grip to the paint for traction – it was not going to be an easy task. But, with a few steps and some elbow grease, we pulled off the staircase makeover of my dreams! Below is a step-by-step guide to stripping painted stairs, prepping them for stain, and finishing them.
How to Do a DIY Staircase Remodel
- Purchase/round up your supplies. You'll need the following: paint stripper, paint scraper, 2 paintbrushes, trash can, dust pan, small bucket, old cloths/rags, frog tape, palm sander, stain, and varnish. Products are linked below!
- Clean stairs before you begin. Sweep and then clean stairs. I typically fill a small bucket with warm soapy water and use an old cloth for this. Wet the cloth and squeeze out all excess water. You do not want to saturate the wood – just simply wipe it clean.
- Use a brush to apply paint stripper. Coat all of the painted areas thoroughly. Allow the stripper to set for the specified amount of time.
- Use the scraper to remove the paint from the stairs. Discard old paint in the trashcan.
- Once all paint is removed, wash the stairs again with warm water and allow to dry.
- At this point, it is likely you will need to sand your stairs to get them smooth enough for applying stain. We used a palm sander for this step. Gently sand the stairs until they are smooth to the touch. Sweep up all of the excess dust and debris from sanding, then give the stairs another wipe down with warm water.
- Select a small section to test your stain. Once you're sure the color is correct, start staining! Evenly stain your staircase, repeating the process for a second coat if necessary. Once stain is finished and dried, add a final coat of varnish if desired.
- Allow to dry, and then enjoy the beautiful new staircase that you remodeled ALL BY YOURSELF!
Here are links to the products we used and recommend!
There you have it – our process for removing paint from stairs and doing a staircase remodel! It may seem like a lot of work, but we are super pleased with the results. And we saved so much money! Hiring a contractor to do this project would've likely cost upwards of $1,000. Instead, we gave our staircase a makeover for the cost of a few hours of work and less than $100.
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