Home generalGrind the stairs - instructions with tips on tools and costs

Grind the stairs - instructions with tips on tools and costs

  • Materials and tools
  • Grind the stairs: a guide
  • Alternative: Roughen the surface
  • Sand the stairs: costs

If you have a wooden staircase in your own four walls, you will not be surprised that after years of use it does not look as fresh as it was on the first day or even completely worn away. If new carpets are to be laid on the steps or if repairs are to be carried out with subsequent varnishing, you must sand the stairs. This gives the stairs new shine.

Stairs are among the substrates in the house that are heavily and frequently used. Above all, wooden stairs suffer greatly from the constant rise and fall or in the case of children, the up and down. Over time, the paint is removed, it comes to cracks in the wood and the stairs just does not look appealing. Sanding a staircase is hard work and requires the right tools and the right procedure to make the wood shine again. The renovation of the wooden staircase preserves the wood and ensures a good look, which harmoniously integrates into the image of your four walls.

Materials and tools

Before you can lend a hand, you need to make some preparations in terms of materials and tools to make the process as simple and effective as possible. You need the following:

  • orbital sander
  • Delta sanding machine or corner sanding machine
  • Eccentric sander for fine grinding
  • Abrasives for the machine in the grits 24, 40, 80, 100 or 120, 240 (depending on the intended use)
  • heat gun
  • spatula
  • robust gloves
  • Protection for mouth and eyes
  • Hearing protection for you or your children
  • vacuum cleaner
  • lint-free cleaning cloths
  • Wood Repair Filler
  • Wooden wedges to repair creases
  • wood filler

If you have the necessary materials and tools at hand, you must now choose a period in which you can sand down the stairs. Since sanding is a noisy affair, you should never grind at lunchtime, at night or on Sunday. If your neighbors have toddlers, it is advisable to inform them about the work beforehand.

Tip: If you do not have grinders yourself, you can borrow them at most hardware stores. The cost for this is about ten euros for four hours, although some companies even offer the tool for a lower daily fee.

Grind the stairs: a guide

Step 1: Before you can begin sanding, you must first clear the stairs of coarse residues. This includes:

  • Carpet or flooring leftovers
  • Nails and screws
  • Klebereste
  • putty

This step is necessary for the grinder to perform its function without obstacles. It also protects the machine from possible damage by foreign bodies. Heat the remains with the hot air bottle and remove the remains with the spatula. Take particular care here and be careful not to burn yourself. Loosen screws and nails with appropriate tools.

Step 2: After you have prepared the stairs, the stairs are thoroughly cleaned so that dust and dirt do not complicate the work.

Step 3: Place a 24 grit abrasive in the orbital sander and put on your work gloves and protective clothing. Now you can start grinding the tread of each step. Go over it in circular movements over the wood and use it for some strength. Likewise, the edges and podiums are ground. Make sure not to sand too much. Only as much as necessary!

Step 4: Then string the corner or delta sander and take care of the corners. With these you need to be extra careful, as they are often a little harder to reach.

Step 5: Suck in between the wood dust and sanding dust, which arises during the process. This increases the performance of the grinder and makes the job more accurate. Some grinders have an attachment that can be connected to the vacuum cleaner and, when sanding down the stairs, immediately wicks away the resulting dust. Such a model can save you a lot of work

Step 6: Once the coarse sanding has been completed, the first fine sanding follows. For this, put a 40 grit abrasive into the machine and repeat the entire process. As a result, further layers are removed, which increasingly lead to the necessary smoothness, the hoped final state.

Step 7: Vacuum the stairs and repeat the process again, now with an 80 grit. Here you will notice that the surfaces of the wooden staircase look smoother and fresher thanks to the tool. Nevertheless, the work is far from finished, because so far only the worst has been removed. Of course, do not forget the corners during the individual grinding processes!

Step 8: Suck again and wipe the steps once with a lint-free cloth. Subsequently, necessary improvements are made:

  • Repair scratches with wood putty
  • repair larger cracks, holes and dents with a wood repair spatula
  • Wooden wedges of the appropriate size are driven into the interstices of the planks with a hammer
  • then the protruding wedges are shortened and ground
  • Fill gaps with wood putty

By following these steps you will improve the wooden staircase so that it not only looks like new, but also feels like it. In addition, it is necessary for the upcoming finishing touch, which is required so that the stairs can be painted or treated with oil.

9th step: Now it's time to do the fine work, so that the individual steps seem appealing and new. For this work step, choose a grinding material that has a grain size of 100 or 120 and use it to equip your grinding machines. You have to assume that this step will take a long time, because only by a thorough implementation of the necessary smooth surface is created, which is suitable for painting or oiling.

Step 10: Gently sand the entire surface and edges with the sander, just like the corners. Be careful not to move the sander too fast, so you will not create circular scratches.

Step 11: You can also use an orbital sander for step 10. This offers itself particularly well for this task, since it generates by its course of motion no grooves, which can often arise with normal orbital sanders. This will make sanding the stairs easier and the end result more beautiful.

Step 12: Sand until the surface is smooth and even. If the grain does not seem to work, you can still use an even finer than 200 to achieve the desired results.

Step 13: If scoring occurs during this process, turn off the machine and pick up a little sandpaper with a slightly finer grain size. Gently work the grooves and make sure you get an even image. Always wear work gloves, as the fine dust can be harmful to your skin.

Step 14: After you have finished the finishing touch, you can, if you want to paint, apply the primer and let it dry. After the primer has dried, use a 240 grit abrasive and smooth the primer. This eliminates possible bumps that would interfere with the final painting.

The fine sanding is also applied without primer, as soon as you want to preserve the natural look of the wooden staircase by oil. Before applying, however, you should wipe the fine dust after the fine sanding with a damp, lint-free cloth and let the wood dry.

Alternative: Roughen the surface

If you just want to re-paint your staircase and there are no damages or visible defects, you should just roughen the surface. To do this, clean and clear the wooden stairs of residues and use an abrasive with an 80 grit. You can do this either by hand or with the oscillating and corner grinder. Just walk over the surface a few times until the entire step is roughened, soak in the sanding dust and voila, you have a staircase ready to paint.

Sand the stairs: costs

Of course, you can have the stairs sanded off and treated by a specialist. If you do not want to get the right tool, can not handle it properly, or have little home improvement experience, it is often worthwhile leaving this work to a specialist. The pros and cons are presented as follows:

  • professional work
  • Risk of possible damage is lower
  • Renovation is often faster and completed
  • Purchase of tools or materials is not necessary
  • therefore you do not have to store them yourself after grinding
  • much higher costs
  • difficult to perform for inexperienced hands
  • requires a lot of patience and concentration, so that no damage to the stairs arise
  • Seniors may have trouble grinding due to the effort involved

The costs of sanding the wooden staircase are determined by the following values:

  • Number of steps
  • Number of bends, if any
  • Podiums, if available
  • Material and tool costs
  • working hours

Usually, inexpensive packages are offered for classic stairs with 13 to 15 steps without bends and pedestals, as this is the most common stairway in Germany. These are sized as follows:

  • Grind 13 to 15 steps: 200 Euro - 400 Euro
  • Bends: 50 Euro - 80 Euro per bend
  • Podium: 25 euros - 50 euros per podium
  • each additional level: 15 euros - 30 euros
  • Repairs of scratches or damage: up to 500 euros

Usually only little to no cost is required for the sealing and painting, but this step can be done easily by itself.

Tip: If you have the work carried out by a staircase contractor, the costs will settle within a reasonable range of about 200 euros. Joinery and carpentry companies usually demand twice as much.

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