Best Materials for Refinishing Stairs

February 5, 2021

Best Homes of SC Sharlan Kozak Blog

Sharlan Kozak

Staircases tend to capture the eye because of the way they transcend from one level to the next. If your stairs have seen better days, though, you might not like the message that your staircase is sending. Whether you’re simply tired of the way that they look, or your stairs are starting to fall into a bit of disrepair, refinishing and revitalizing your stairs will have to come sooner or later.

Stair Materials

Here are a few ideas that you should keep in mind when trying to figure out the best way to give your stairs new life.

Stained Stairs
If you have wooden stairs that you’re trying to retain the beauty of, there are a number of stains that can give the wood just the nudge it needs to reclaim its lost glory. This can require a lot of prep work, as you want to remove the ground-in dirt from the years of use that your stairs have seen to bring out their best when you stain. It’s usually recommended that you sand, clean, and sand again before you start staining. Since stairs tend to be high-traffic areas, you’ll want to apply a water-based finish after your stain dries, then sand and repeat the process an additional time or two. It’s a lot of work, but it will definitely be worth it in the end.

Painted Stairs
If you don’t feel like doing all that work staining, you can take a slightly easier route and paint the stairs instead. There’s still a lot of prep work involved, and you’ll likely need to put down at least two coats, but you probably won’t end up doing quite as much sanding, and you’ll also be able to avoid some of the finishing as well. If you’re worried about slick surfaces, you can also mix in sand or similar materials into the final coat to create a rougher texture that prevents slipping. Best of all, you can customize the look of your stairs in ways that you couldn’t with stain.

Carpeted Stairs
There are a few different ways that you can approach carpeting on stairs. The entire staircase can be carpeted, you can put strips of carpet on each tread, or you can use runners that go down the middle of the staircase while still leaving some wood exposed on either side. The important things to remember are that you should always use a low-pile carpet on stairs, and it needs to be secured firmly to keep from becoming a tripping hazard. You should also avoid using carpet on stairs that descend into a basement or other damp areas, as you can run into problems with mildew.

Vinyl and Rubber Treads
If you want to make sure that you have the most slip resistance possible, there are a variety of vinyl and rubber stair treads available. Some of these are designed specifically for internal use, while others are designed for either internal or external installation. Many of these are designed with function taking priority over fashion, though a variety of colors and designs are available for those wanting to avoid ugly black mats. Some of these treads can even match the major colors in your home, giving you extra security while going up and down without sacrificing aesthetics completely.

Stone Staircases
An often-overlooked stair material that can add a splash of elegance to your home is stone. Materials like marble or granite can replace the wood treads and risers that you’re used to, matching well with tile or stone floors in other parts of the house. Just be sure to avoid placing stone stairs in areas where they are likely to stay wet, since some stone materials become slick or retain moisture due to their porous nature.