Removing paint on wooden stairs.

Old 06-18-15, 06:18 PM
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Smile Removing paint on wooden stairs.

I decided to refurbish the 11-step staircase going from my basement to the first floor. In the end, I want the staircase to look like with the risers and casing in white gloss and the treads stained and varnished.

Currently, there are three layers of paint on these stairs...some layers are so old that there might even be lead in the paint!

Anyways, I tried sanding one tread with an electric sander, but that took 2 hours and I couldn't even get all of the blue paint off! See here:
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So then I tried to use a paint scraper, but the blade got dull very quickly and I might have even damaged the wood a little. Also, no matter how low of a grit sandpaper I used with the electric sander and no matter how hard I scraped the paint on the treads, I cannot get the treads to look like bare wood—the blue paint does not go away! See here:
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After hours of sanding, scraping, and lead poisoning, this is all I got done:
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I have been trying to avoid using chemicals, such as liquid paint removers, but now that seems like the only way to finish this project....

Do you have any suggestions?

Also, if my only option is to use a Paint Remover, which brand/type do you recommend? Is there one that is effective and not too caustic or noisome?

Thanks in advance!
Old 06-19-15, 03:24 AM
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Welcome to the forums Mark!

What grit sandpaper have you been using? when scraping you are following the grain of the wood, right?
The painter who originally painted the steps probably used the finish paint for the primer by thinning it down 10-15% which would cause the paint to suck deeper into the wood.

Generally the more caustic the stripper is the more effective it is. Have you considered replacing the treads?
Old 06-19-15, 05:04 AM
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Any Soy or Citrus stripper or Peel Away II will work and be safe to use.
You have pine flat sawn treads on there now with a really deep grain, going to take a whole bunch of sanding to get them flat.
After stripping I'd be using my random orbital sander with 40 grit to start with and my ossilating saw with the sanding attachment to get in the corners.
I buy Mirka brand sand paper on Amazon, it's less expencive, does not load up like most papers.

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