First, assess the state of your hardwood stairs. You or a professional floor refinisher can sand and refinish it to give it new life. Or, if there is no hope, a new hardwood staircase can be installed and stained to match the finish of your floors.
Either way, your efforts will pay off. A hardwood staircase, like hardwood flooring, adds character, beauty, and resale value to any home.
If your wood stairs need a facelift, start by checking for any needed repairs. Loose or rubbing parts often cause squeaks, a common problem. Stop the squeak by nailing or screwing down a part that has separated or by inserting a wedge underneath it.
Refinishing requires special equipment and a lot of patience. Floor refinishing companies typically get most of the job done in a day. If you decide to do it yourself, rent a floor edger-sanding machine.
Each coat of oil-based polyurethane must dry overnight. Water-based sealers usually dry within a couple of hours.
Take some precautions to avoid trouble. Sanding produces highly flammable dust, so seal the doorways into your work area with plastic and ventilate the area with a fan. Wear goggles, ear protection and a dust mask while sanding. When applying the sealer, put on goggles, rubber gloves, long pants and a long-sleeve shirt.
Once the stairs are restored, consider having a carpet company install a runner to add style and provide padding and protection. To keep stairs free of dust, wipe with a cloth or use a dust mop or hand-vacuum. One way to remove caked-on grime from a handrail is to lightly rub with very fine screen sandpaper and top with a new coat of varnish.