The stair renovation was by far the most difficult project we did in our house. In hindsight, we maybe should have gotten a contractor to sand and stain our upstairs floors and the stairs, but I guess our attitude is “why would we hire someone when we can do it ourselves?”.


The stairs were all clear oak and were very orangey, and they were scratched and very dirty. Also, there were only two newel posts on the whole staircase – one at the very top and one at the very bottom. As a result the railing was very shaky and we could almost pull the whole thing off. The picture below is the stairs going down into the basement.


And this picture is looking up into the hallway where the bedrooms are. See how there is no newel post on the corner?


We decided to redo the stairs in several stages. First I lightly sanded all the spindles, did a coat of primer and then a coat of paint. The paint I used was Benjamin Moore Simply White in semi-gloss.  This is the same paint I used for all the trim and doors in the house.


The we took down the handrail so Tony could sand the stair treads. We moved out of our house at this point and moved into my in-laws house for a week. We didn’t want any of the kids falling down the stairs, and we also didn’t want to live in the house while it was so dusty and smelly.

Tony  rented a sander from Home Depot and used three different sandpaper grits. He sanded everything in one day, but it was a very long day for him. After everything was sanded, he used Minwax stain in Jacobean to stain everything.


Meanwhile, I worked on sanding the handrail in the garage. Once the stairs were stained and Tony did three coats of polyurethane, we were able to put everything back together. Once the handrail was installed we were able to move back into our house. Tony installed a new newel post on the corner and made this banister super solid.


Then I did a coat of primer and three coats of paint on the risers and stringers, and did a final coat of paint on the spindles. Tony still has attach a wood moulding under every stair tread, and there’s a few spots I need to touch-up the white paint, but this is what the stairs look like right now.





We also replaced the light that was hanging in the stairwell. Before it was a gold chandelier with plastic crystals. The only thing going for it was that it was really bright. Tony replaced it with this one.  This is the Allen and Roth Vallymede 3 light pendant in aged bronze from Lowes. I really love it so far, it’s nice and bright for this space and I love the look of the simple pendants.



5 thoughts on “Oak Staircase Makeover”

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