Wooden Staircase Refinishing

Lead Image
What You'll Need
Shop vacuum
Wood sealant
Wood stain
Wood wax

A wooden staircase needs regular maintenance. One of the regular maintenance tasks is periodically refinishing the wood surfaces of the staircase. As it ages, wood can dry out and shift, making stairs squeaky and sometimes even unstable. One way to address this problem is to refinish the wood from time to time. It is a big project, but it is extremely important. Follow these steps to refinish the wood on your staircase.

Step 1 - Sanding

The first step is to remove any existing lacquer, paint and varnish by sanding the staircase completely. Much of the work may need to be completed by hand, since many staircases have very detailed railings. Sanding the risers and treads can still usually be accomplished with an electric sander.

Step 2 – Vacuum the Dust

The next step is to completely remove all of the dust that is created by the sanding process. A strong shop vacuum can help with this, as will a slightly damp sponge or lint-free cloth.

Step 3 - Sealing

Next, use a wood sealer to prevent the wood from damaged caused both by drying out and exposure to moisture. These two issues can be of particular concern for older staircases.

Step 4 – Staining

Once this step is completed, the stairs can be stained. Apply a finishing layer of wood wax to bring out the patina and grain of the wood.


Refinishing a wooden staircase is a large project, but it is a regular maintenance task that will insure the long life of the stairs.