How to Refinish Pine Stairs


Since the staircase in your house is generally one of the first things people see, it's important to maintain the look of your stairs to make a good first impression on visitors. Although it requires a some time and effort, refinishing your stairs is a rewarding project that will keep the overall look of your home elegant and beautiful.

Things You'll Need

  • Drop cloth
  • Soft brushes
  • Chemical paint stripper
  • Plastic putty knife
  • Sandpaper (120-grit)
  • Soft cloth
  • Stain
  • Varnish

How to Refinish Pine Stairs

  • Place the drop cloth around your work area. Chemicals like stain and paint stripper will damage unprotected surfaces like floors and carpets.

  • Apply a thin coat of paint stripper to the stairs with a clean brush. Allow the stripper to sit for approximately 20 minutes.

  • Remove the original stain finish with the plastic putty knife. Scrape the surface of the stairs until all the old stain has been removed. Don't use a metal scraper, since it will damage the wood's surface.

  • Wipe the surface of the stairs with a soft, damp cloth to remove any excess chemicals. Wait until the surface is completely dry.

  • Sand the stairs with 120-grit sandpaper. Make sure that you sand with the grain until the surface is smooth and clean of the original stain finish.

  • Apply a thin, even coat of stain to the stairs with a clean brush. Wait until the first coat is dry before applying further coats. Continue to apply further coats until the new finish achieves the desired depth and darkness. Allow the stain to dry completely.

  • Apply at least one coat of varnish to the stairs with a clean brush. Apply several more coats if the stairs will remain uncovered to ensure they remain protected.

Tips & Warnings

  • Gel stains work best for pine since pine is a soft wood.
  • Work in a well-ventilated area when using chemicals like paint stripper and stains. Wear gloves when working with caustic chemicals.


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