stair sanding


Old 10-15-02, 06:51 AM
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stair sanding

I am refinishing my hardwood stairs and am wondering what type of sander would be best for this. It doesn't seem like the drum sander would work here...a bit big. Any help would be appreciated greatly.
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Old 10-16-02, 09:22 AM
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The floor sanding edger, available by renting, is the machine to use. Keep the wheels on the stair as much as possible. You will still have to deal with the corners and nosings with scraper and file, or hand sanding. Trust your going with natural finish. Any way you look at it stairs are work! God bless!
Old 10-16-02, 06:30 PM
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work it is....

Thats what I figured.....looks to be hard work. Do I use the edger on the face as well...or do I have to hand sand that? Thanks for the back to work.
Old 10-16-02, 08:20 PM
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Concerning the face as you call it, that is, the riser; unless it is about the right color and you can just clean it up, hand sand, and recoat it--- paint it white.
Old 10-17-02, 10:56 AM
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Nice to know what its actually called....proof I'm an amatuer. When you say paint it white, will that still look nice if the rest is wood finish...I never thought of that as an option. Or did you mean paint the whole thing? Thanks agian.
Old 10-18-02, 08:53 AM
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The colonial look, which is very nice whether done voluntarily or involuntarily, puts the the following 3 things in white: spindles, risers, and stringers( the sides of the stairs). Normally, if you paint the risers, you will paint the stringers as well. Just remember to prep thoroughly or it will chip and show dark underneath.
Old 10-20-02, 03:24 PM
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Since we are on the topic of stairs....

I have decided to remove the carpet on my stairs and put in hardwood treads. My stairs are contained by walls thus the treads will be between 2 walls.

It is possible to get a tight fit in this case or would I have to use some type of molding to cover any gap between the tread and wall?
I'm aware of the tread jigs.

Also, I assume that I will have to remove the existing treads. Hopefully these treads were installed after the walls/drywall was put in. If not they will have to be cut in place to remove them.

Are hardwood treads usually screwed through the face? I have put in hardwood floor borders before using countersunk screws with plugs and I liked the effect. Of course this means that the treads woud have to be finished in place.

I can get treads and nosing pieces etc at a full service lumber yard, correct?


PS. Originally I wanted to remove the walls surrounding the stairs (they are not load bearing, only about 4 feet high in place of railings) but the wife doesn't trust me and I'm not sure I blame her. I would replace the walls with a balustrade.

What I'm not totally clear on is when I remove the walls down to the tread level, I would end up with the ends of framing 2x4's, correct? Hopefully then I could nail the outside stair stringer to these 2x4's through the drywall then put in longer hardwood treads to overlap the stringer.

My concern is that normally the outside stringer is not a structural element and is mostly for appearances. Since the walls are about 6 inches thick, the treads would be extended at least this amount and would be partially supported by the outside stringer. Ideally I suppose a new structural stringer should be put in as close to the outside wall as possible?

Anyway this is probably beyond my abilities so I'll stick to plan A but I appreciate any comments.

Last edited by AlexH; 10-21-02 at 01:45 PM.
Old 10-22-02, 08:06 AM
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I just finished doing exactly what youre asking, and Im a true to heart amateur floor installer. Let me prep my scenario

House build in 1997. 5 stairs up, landing, landing, 6 stairs up, hallway originally covered in carpet. Pine treads/risers that were face nailed, and nailed through the sides and back of each tred/riser (my guess was that the stair case was a kit, then installed at the house).

I wanted to do the colonial look, oak treads and white risers, but

How I removed the old. Unfortunately, the risers were routed into my treads, so I had to destroy the risers to get the treads out. No biggie, I just replaced them with oak risers. So, I pulled the carpet (BE VERY CAREFUL OF THE STAPLES!) and then went from a top-down approach. I pulled all the nails (go get a Bear Claw Puller from Home Depot best puller in the world!) and then the fun part. I cut about 3 away from each stringer using a jig-saw, from the front of the tread all the way to the stringer. Then, I used a recip-saw and finished the cut. I removed the center piece (it was nailed from the back, so it had to be pulled), then tapped out the two left over tread pieces. From there, I used a Dremel and cut out all the left over nails. Patched up the stringers, sanded the patch and left over glue, and boom Im done.

Installing is easy. I did some trials cutting treads that were wall-to-wall fit, and some that had a bit of space around them. The ones that were wall-to-wall squeaked, so I ended up taking a bit more material off of them. Worked perfectly. Im going to use a bit of quarter-round to cover the gaps (plus my wife and I like the look of the quarter-round on the treads, something custom I guess). I used 3 screws through the oak treads and then bought the 3/8 oak caps that you glue in and sand flush. I used two screws per side, then screwed the middle tread into the riser. Before all this, however, I used Liquid Nails For Floors (it stays flexible) as my glue.

I ended up getting all my materials at Home Depot. They were the cheapest for me, and the quality was perfect. Again, Im just a homeowner and I dont have any contracts with any local flooring supplier or anything.

Hope this helps, and if you want to see some pictures let me know and Ill send them off to you.

Old 10-22-02, 08:23 AM
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Stair riser painting

Thanks PWestBerg, I was just about to cover my stairs in new carpet I had installed on my upper floor. I was going to upholster them wrapping around the front. The procedure produces nice looking stairs. Now however, I remeber seeing exactly what you suggested to Rockaceone on one of the home shows. Fantastic look, especialy in an older home like mine, 90 years old. Also makes it easier, as you don't have to sand nearly as much as you would need to for a good natural finish. Paint, and wood filler cover many imperfections, then again you may want that used look in an old house. Thanks again Tom
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