Planning the stairway… to the end!

This is exciting because although I’ve been thinking about the end of this project (meaning the whole house) for a long time, there’s been too much left for me to be able to write out every step to anything. But now I’m starting to get there! So here’s the deal, I plan to have all the floors in the house (except the tile in the bathroom of course) sanded and refinished, professionally, all at the same time. This means finishing this and that messy job and then preparing to empty the house and turn it over to strangers for the second time. But certain things I’m doing with the stairs get kinda mixed up, so let me know if I’m not sequencing this right.

My stairway is a pretty common traditional/Colonial style that I think dates to a major remodel in the 1930’s. They’re built with true 1-inch thick oak and have these nosings that wrap around the ends of the treads. I plan to take them all down and number, de-nail, and strip them. And that wasn’t my pating job!


Why? Because the balusters are mortised into the treads and with the nosings off, they can be knocked out and sanding the treads should be easy for the finishers. And cheap for me. You can also see how close the last baluster was to the box newel at the top of the stairs. I got it out to make stripping and painting easier.


The bottom step that flares out for the scrolly railing thing (bill and keys shelf) just had the balusters nailed down to it so I took them all off. Most of these are just square baluster stock and the same size so I cut them in half to get them out. But now the step should be easy to finish. And yes, you do see thick puddles of polyurethane on there.


I won’t even think about replacing the balusters at the bottom until the floors are done. But the one that I took out up top I think needs to go in after the floor finishers sand but before they finish the steps. I’ll probably also need to paint the newel first since I don’t want to have to push my paint brush through narrow gaps. But the rest of the balusters are getting painted after because the floor finishers will probably damage the paint job anyway. It may be their job to put that one baluster back in and reinstall the nosings. Also, the cove molding under the stair treads is gone, victim to another previous owner’s wall to wall carpet installation. I need to replace it with new read oak, which may not be perfect but I don’t think it’ll be obvious.

Oh. And with how well the banister is looking with all the paint stripped off, I couldn’t stand the sight of the baseboards anymore. So now they look like this.


Anyways, I haven’t actually brought a floor finisher in to look at my job yet, so if my ideas here are off base, I’d be glad to know now.


5 thoughts on “Planning the stairway… to the end!

  1. Mary Elizabeth

    This is going to be gorgeous. I don’t see any flaw to your plan. I’ll bet you wish you had thought earlier of disassembling the bannister before stripping the paint in place. How is your mom? Is she looking askance at you and asking where your stuff is going when the floor finishers come in? Not that she doesn’t have a fairly good idea. :-).


    1. Chad's Crooked House Post author

      You know most of my stuff is still in her basement! It’s dried out and filled up again now. While the floors are being done, my bathroom will look exactly the same. And I only took off the posts on the bottom step. The ones on the straight parts of the railing are nailed into a channel with blocks of wood between them and I thought it would be a lot of trouble to dismantle, number, strip, and reassemble everything. I’m perfectly happy with the way I did this job.


  2. Jo

    Great that you’ve thought of a sequential plan for your floors. I, too, like to write downs the steps and often find they should be rearranged. Your refinishing is making this quite the showhouse. Jo @ Let’s Face the Music



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