Staircase renovation – Part 1

Stairs renovation

This week is the start of my 2 week staircase renovation posts. I’ve been procrastinating about writing this post. Aside from wallpaper removal, our staircase renovation was another painfully t-e-d-i-o-u-s, time-consuming, challenging and exhausting task. Perhaps the memory of this is what put me off writing about it… Today’s post is about the required prep work before renovating the hand rail and spindles.

Before the staircase renovation

The carpets on our stairs needed to be replaced as they were old and worn thin. We also hated the old fashioned reddish brown colour of the hand rail and spindles. So the staircase was in desperate need of a complete makeover!

If you don’t have a lot of stairs you may want to consider buying new spindles. As this would have ended up being quite a costly task for us we decided not to buy new and took on the staircase renovation challenge instead. After a lot of research and inspiration we decided on the following plan:

  1. Remove the old stair carpeting and replace with new carpeting after the hand rail and spindles makeover
  2. Stain the hand rail a dark mahogany colour
  3. Paint the spindles white

Stair renovation - carpets removed


Tools required for preparing the hand rail before staining

  • Paint stripper
  • Paint brush (that will be thrown away when you’re finished)
  • Old clothes/paint suit/protective clothing
  • Gloves
  • Steel wool
  • Plastic sheeting/old curtains(courtesy of the previous owner)
  • Damp cloth
  • Electric sander
  • Fine sand paper

Preparing the hand railing before staining

  • Before we could stain the hand rail we needed to remove the existing colour from the hand rail. Some people might think it’s unnecessary to strip the paint before staining but in our opinion we thought we would get a nicer finish staining bare wood rather than staining on top of coloured wood.
  • First start by putting on the gloves, old clothes and/or a paint suit over your clothes
  • Lay the plastic sheeting or old curtains on the floor around the stairs. This is to catch most of the stripped paint. I warn you – stripped paint is reduced to icky sticky stuff that stains everything else, if most of it is not caught by the sheeting. If it falls on the floor and you happen to tramp on it then you can tramp stains around the house.
  • Using the paint brush, start brushing paint stripper onto the hand rail and leave it on for a few minutes according to the instructions
  • Start brushing down the stair case with the steel wool to remove the old paint. Brush mostly in the same direction. Try not to brush too hard as you can scratch the hand rail.
  • When most of it is removed then wipe down the hand rail with a damp cloth. Make sure the cloth isn’t too wet as you don’t want to soak the wood with water.
  • Once all the paint has been stripped from the hand rail and wiped down clean then leave the hand rail to dry properly.
  • Now it’s time to start sanding the hand rail and spindles. The hand rail needs to be sanded until you get a nice smooth finish. Make sure you sand with the grain. The spindles were sanded lightly to remove grease and dirt so that the paint adheres to the spindles when repainted.
  • We didn’t know about this sanding roller for the spindles which a friend told us about. It looks like it could potentially save you a lot of time:

Stair renovation - stripped handrail

Hopefully the preparation steps I’ve mentioned in this post will make this process easier for you if you’re thinking about embarking on a staircase renovation. Check out next week’s post on completing the hand rail and spindles.


  1. Miriam @londonkitchendiaries
    23rd June 2016 / 3:29 PM

    Home improvements are exciting and tiring at the same time. We have done it all last year and I am so happy with it, however, the work itself was not much fun 🙂

    • 23rd June 2016 / 3:31 PM

      It sucked the life out of me lol! No way else to describe it, so I’m definitely not in any hurry to do it again! 😉

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

error: Content is protected !!
%d bloggers like this: