How to Refinish Stairs That Were Carpeted

Many people who live in apartments or condos with carpeted stairs don’t know what to do when it comes to replace their carpets. The easiest way is to remove the old carpet and refinish the stairs, but it cannot be easy if you’re not used to this type of work. This blog post will show you how to refinish stairs that were carpeted! 

How to Refinish Stairs That Were Carpeted

Carpeting the stairs is one way to make them easier for people who are elderly or have mobility issues, but it’s not always an easy decision. We’ll walk you through the process of refinishing carpeted stairs with paint and show you how to prep your staircase before painting!

Materials and Supplies Needed:

  • Electric sander with different grit sandpaper
  • Hammer, Pry Bar, Scraper
  • Hand-held or orbital sander
  • Drill and 1/8 inch masonry bit
  • Putty Knife or 3-in-1 Tool
  • Boiled Linseed Oil, Tung Oil, Polyurethane, Tool Lubricant
  • Screwdriver

Five Reasons Why You Should Refinish Stairs That Were Carpeted:

  1. When you refinish your stairs, you not only improve their appearance but also increase your home’s resale value! Stairs are high-traffic areas and need to be durable, so sanding and refinishing them is the best way to keep them looking their best.
  2. When you refinish a carpeted staircase, your stairs will not only look beautiful again, but they will also be safe from further damage from heavy foot traffic. If you have pets, the new paint or varnish on your stairs will last longer than carpeting ever could! When you have pets, you should refinish your stairs so that the paint or varnish can wear away instead of being ripped up by sharp claws.
  3. Refinishing stairs is a very quick process! If you’re in a hurry to finish the project, then refinishing carpeted stairs is exactly what you need to do. You can have them looking brand new in only a matter of days.
  4. When you refinish carpeted stairs, you can choose the type of paint or varnish that goes on there. This means that you can match your stair risers to your banisters or simply have fun choosing different colors!
  5. There are always construction workers who would appreciate a home with finished stairs. If you refinish your carpeted stairs, the next people who live there will be more likely to have their personal preference of paint or varnish on their stairs.

You Can Check It Out to Install Laminate on Stairs With White Risers

Step by Step Guide: How to Refinish Stairs That Were Carpeted 

Step 1: Sand Down the Stairs

Before you can begin refinishing your stairs, they will need to be sanded. Get out your power sander and grind away all of the old varnish, paint, or other finish on your stairs. Be sure to wear protective eyewear during this step as bits of sanding remain may fling up at your face and eyes.

Step 2: Prime and Paint the Stairs

After your stairs are completely clean, begin to prime them. You can use a primer made for unfinished wood or mix up your paint-on primer using a latex primer and some sawdust from the same type of wood that makes up your stairs. Try to fill any holes in your stairs with the sawdust-latex mixture. Then, paint your stairs using a roller or a paintbrush. Allow the primer to dry completely overnight before you move on.

Step 3: Seal Using Polyurethane

Using polyurethane, seal your entire staircase using several thin coats rather than one heavy coat. Apply two coats going in opposite directions and allowing a couple of hours to dry after each coat. When applying polyurethane, you can use a foam brush or a short-bristled nylon brush.

Apply a Thin Layer of Paste  Wax to Your Stairs Using a Clean,

Polyurethane dries fast, so make sure that you work from one end of your staircase to the other without stopping, or you will find that you cannot reach the other end and will have to begin your work all over again.

Step 4: Polish Your Stairs

After the final coat of polyurethane dries (this usually takes overnight), apply a thin layer of paste wax to your stairs using a clean, soft cloth. Allow this to dry completely before you attempt to use your stairs or otherwise disturb them. Be sure not to use too much wax as it can build up and become difficult to remove. Using paste wax on all new stair risers is also a good idea.

Step 5: Stain the Stairs

If you intend to stain your stairs, you will want to do so at this point. After the varnish or paint has completely dried, you can apply some wood stain using either a roller or some small brush. Once you have stained your stairs, adding a coat or two of polyurethane on top is a good idea for added protection from water and scratches.

Tips and Suggestions:

  1. Don’t forget about the treads when you’re working with paint and varnish- they will need their coats too!
  2. Ensure that you allow your first coat of paint or varnish to dry completely before applying subsequent coats
  3. Polyurethane is water-based, so it will need some time to dry before you can use the stairs again.
  4. If you are trying to match stair risers to banisters, be sure to buy all take care not to get it on any walls or other surfaces as it will cause damage.
  5. Be sure to use painter’s tape when painting and varnishing so you don’t get paint on the wall and banisters. Your stairs will look much cleaner.
  6. If you intend to stain your stairs, work from one end of the stairs to the other so as not to get too much stain on one section.
  7. Be sure to use a soft-bristled brush for applying polyurethane, and try not to apply it too thickly!

Can You Paint Stairs After Removing Carpet?

 It Is Best Not to Attempt to Stain or  Finish Stairs With Wood-finishing Produ

If you choose to remove the carpet from the stairs, you can paint them. It is best not to attempt to stain or finish stairs with wood-finishing products. Instead, clean painted metal and plastic surfaces by scrubbing with a stiff brush and hot soapy water. Remove scuff marks and stains with rubbing alcohol. For more stubborn stains, use a household cleaner. Rinse with clear water and wipe dry. Finally, apply an all-purpose household primer.

Let it sit for 15 minutes, then brush away any sloughing paint particles with a bristle brush or steel wool pad dipped in soapy water. Allow the primer to dry completely, following the manufacturer’s instructions for drying time. Once completely dry, paint the stairs. Start at the bottom and work your way up, applying a coat of latex paint to each step.

Work in sections; for example, paint five steps before moving on to the next section. Use an inexpensive synthetic-fiber brush to apply one coat of the paint in smooth, even strokes following each stair’s contour. Allow the paint to dry completely, following its manufacturer’s instructions. Repeat the process until all of the steps have been completed.


The information in this blog post should give you a start on refinishing carpeted stairs. The first step is to remove the carpet from the stairs. The next steps are to sand and refinish any areas that had been scratched or damaged. It’s important to use a product made for hardwood floors, as they’re sensitive and will be easily marked by paint strippers or other products designed for carpets.

We hope that this article has been informative and helped you learn more about refinishing carpeted stairs. If you have any questions or need help, please contact us at the email provided in our contact information. We would be happy to assist! Thank you!

Jennifer Branett
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