Want to refinish stairs in house

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by RORY12553, Nov 12, 2012.

  1. RORY12553

    RORY12553
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    Minister of Fire

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    Have oak stairs in a bilevel home that have lost there shine and have some scratches. Any advice? Belt sander and corner sander do the job? What grit sandpaper do I use to start? Use a natural polyutherane on it to finish?
     
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  2. Tramontana

    Tramontana
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    Burning Hunk

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    I have had good results using citrus based stripping gels such as Citristrip. Start out in a small inconspicuous area. Sand only as coarse as you have to in order to smooth the deepest scratches, then step up a grit at a time. Myself I would take it through at least 320 grit.

    I like a 50/50 mix of polyurethane and paint thinner. Wipe on with a microfiber towel in several thin coats. Sand lightly with 400 grit between coats and wipe down with a clean rag dipped in denatured alcohol.

    Tool wise, a belt sander can be very unforgiving in tight areas, but good for getting work done quickly. I might recommend a small mouse type detail sander.
     
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  3. Tramontana

    Tramontana
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    Burning Hunk

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    And one important safety note; wear proper PPE. Nitrile gloves and a good particulate mask or respirator are a MUST in my book.

    Cheers and good luck.
     
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  4. RORY12553

    RORY12553
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    Unforgiving meaning moves to quick in the tight area? Guy at home cheapo said the palm sander is like painting a bedroom with a toothbrush! Dont mind taking the extra time with the palm sander but don't want it to take that much longer!
     
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  5. Tramontana

    Tramontana
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    Burning Hunk

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    My caution with the belt sander is that it can take a LOT of wood in a hurry. They aren't hard to use, and it is a good tool for what you plan, just be careful. You don't want to run into trim or risers with it.

    And yes using a mouse type sander is slow going. Use it for the corners and ends where the belt sander can't reach.

    Also, if you are buying new tools for this, look for tools that have good adapter connectors to attach to a shop vac.

    And don't forget the mask/respirator when sanding and cleaning up.

    Cheers!
     
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  6. Tramontana

    Tramontana
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    Burning Hunk

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    Another thought that just occurred to me is to be very careful about combustible fumes. Floor finishes will give off quite high amounts of vapor that don't play well with pilot lights and wood stoves.
     
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  7. semipro

    semipro
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    Do you know what kind of finish is on there currently? If water based poly then you need only scuff the good spots and feather out the scratches then reapply a water based poly.

    I would not recommend a belt sander for this. You'd almost certainly create very visible gouges. I'd recommend a random orbit or jitterbug sander. You've got to be careful with the corner sanders as you can sand against the grain resulting in very visible sanding marks.
     
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  8. Retired Guy

    Retired Guy
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    I wouldn't use a belt sander, rather a random orbit sander. I wouldn't re-coat after scuffing if the treads have ever been waxed.
     
  9. Gary_602z

    Gary_602z
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    Remember that shine = slippery! We have oak stairs that had a center carpet runner for years and then took the carpet out and refinished the steps, I have almost fell on my butt 3-4 times coming down with socks on! Never again!

    Gary
     

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