Stairway to Hell

Well, here was an example of a job that almost broke my will to ever renovate anything again. Since we put down the dark hardwood floor in our house my wife insisted that we change the stairs to match. I knew what was involved but I *never* thought it would be as painful as it was. Living in a house with a little guy as well, my time to do any of the heavy work was very limited. This took me roughly 65 hours of work over the course of a month and half. That was working pretty much every night and weekend for that entire stretch.

The first daunting task was sanding everything. I really didn’t want to paint the stairs as it’s a nice oak staircase and I really wanted the grain to peek through so I went to work sanding.


The sanding portion of the job took about 14 hours to finish up every nook and cranny. I used an orbital sander for most of the treads and banister but for all the tight spots I had to use some elbow grease. The next step was taping everything so I could put down my first coat of stain. In hindsight, I didn’t actually need to do the taping because I just primed over everything anyways.


The staining went fairly smooth however because we still needed to use the steps, I was only able to stain every other stair. It was also a bit of a game remembering what steps we could step on each night.


I used a regular polyurethane to cover all the steps and did 2 full coats on each step. For the banister, I used a wiping poly because I found it was a lot easier to apply it and the look was nice without any small bubbles that sometimes happened with the brushable poly.



Once all the stairs and railings were done with their poly it was onto the final pass of work. We picked up a really nice Benjamin Moore Advance paint that was a bit of a hybrid paint. It was latex with Alkyd so it has the finish of an oil base paint but without the smell or cleanup. Amazing product. Before we used the paint, we used a primer called Stix which was AMAZING! This stuff really does stick to anything. We didn’t need to prime any of the spindles or risers and it stuck great. When the paint went on, it was flawless.


2 coats of paint on everything (I HATE painting spindles by the way) and it was ready for action. Really happy how it turned out but I will never do this again. Even though I just saved myself about 4 thousand dollars, I think my time is worth more than that.






One Comment Add yours

  1. Super Ignorant says:

    Looks amazing, man! It sounds like the process was fairly painful but the end product is impressive.

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