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Thread: Painting Stair Risers

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Kitchener
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    59

    Default Painting Stair Risers

    So my wife and I have been busy fixing up a couple more rooms in our house the past couple of weeks. This round of projects included the hallway and stairs. I have been refinishing the floors upstairs, (I believe they are red oak), and I decided to work my way down the stair treads. Also red oak. Now here is the problem...

    Our house was built in 1938, only had one owner previous to us buying it 2 years ago. The main floor has all the original 8" gumwood trim and doors. The upstairs has all been painted white. For the most part, the stained trim is in pretty good condition, and all of the doors are in excellent condition. Going up the stairs, the risers and stringers are stained to match all of the trim downstairs. The issue is however, that the risers are in pretty tough shape. They have dings and gouges from hammer claws when the previous owner removed their green shag carpet, and there are a lot of scratches on the finish. After much deliberation and thinking and paining ourselves over the decision, we are planning to paint out the stringers and risers white. The newel posts,and handrails will remain as wood. We hate to be "those people" painting over the wood, but I don't think there is any other reasonable option to make it look better. So here are my questions.

    1. What would be the best steps taken to prepare the surface for paint? I plan on sanding the finish to give it a little tooth for the paint to stick to. Will that be enough for a good bond?

    2. What would be the best way to smooth out the surface of the risers (fill in the claw hammer gouges). Should I be using wood filler? If so, what type would be the best? I also considered drywall mud, and skimming the surface. But, that may just be a really stupid idea.

    Any input would be greatly appreciated, especially regarding the filler.

    Cheers,
    Ben

  2. #2

    Default Re: Painting Stair Risers

    Try that glazing filler from partsource, it sands easily and is incredibly smooth.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Ottawa
    Posts
    774

    Default Re: Painting Stair Risers

    Thin body filler works well too, doesn't shrink, cures in a hour and sands well. Used to come in toothpaste sized tube for filling rock chips - no mixing. Got mine at Canadian Tire. FWIW

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Kitchener
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    59

    Default Re: Painting Stair Risers

    Never thought of using glazing or body filler, but that may be just the stuff. I am concerned about the bond in the gouges, as they are more depressions, than deep ruts. But, I think body filler would most likely stick like you know what to a blanket.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Calgary, Alberta
    Posts
    756

    Default Re: Painting Stair Risers

    I agree that the red glazing compound is awesome because of how fast it drys, except if you get it somewhere you don't want it - the red colour definitely stains badly.

    John
    Shut up, wretched cricket of doom...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Alberta
    Posts
    7,877

    Default Re: Painting Stair Risers

    I just painted a bunch of Oak chair rail and had to fill in a lot of areas. Stix is the primer we used and the best filler is a dap product that comes in a small tub. I got both at my Benny Moore store. The filler is a premix that goes on purple and turns white. The paint/primer will stick like crazy. It's made specifically for what you're doing.
    "Do it Right!"

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    London ON
    Posts
    1,454

    Default Re: Painting Stair Risers

    I love glazing compound however I'm very careful where I use it because the fine red dust from sanding gets into everything and stains.

    I am also a big fan of bondo and sanders with dust collection. What I like about bondo is the fast turn around. It hardens in 10 minutes and can be painted right after sanding

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Sunderland
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    892
    Real Name
    Dennis

    Default Re: Painting Stair Risers

    Just a random thought. Can you cover the risers with 1/4 plywood and stain to match the gum wood?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Oakville
    Posts
    1,190

    Default Re: Painting Stair Risers

    Quote Originally Posted by dwoody View Post
    Just a random thought. Can you cover the risers with 1/4 plywood and stain to match the gum wood?
    Or use oak veneer that comes in roles at HD/RONA and contact cement.

    ...Wayne

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Kitchener
    Posts
    59

    Default Re: Painting Stair Risers

    I have thought about covering the risers as well, but I think we have decided that paint on the risers and stringers might be just the thing to update the appearance of the main entrance hallway and stairs. I definitely appreciate everyone's input, and I had better try to take some before and after photos to show the results.

    Ben

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Kitchener
    Posts
    59

    Default Re: Painting Stair Risers

    As promised, some photos of the stairs. I forgot to take photos before I skimmed the risers. (I ended up using plain old drywall mud) The photos don't really do much for my argument that the risers were in pretty tough shape, but they were. The other two photos are of the floors we refinished recently (last week). Just need to get some quarter round on the perimeter, hang the light fixtures, and put the electrical cover plates back on, and those rooms are done.

    DSC_0153.jpgDSC_0147.jpgDSC_0154.jpgDSC_0152.jpgDSC_0151.jpg

    More progress photos to follow.

    Cheers,
    Ben

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Sunderland
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    892
    Real Name
    Dennis

    Default Re: Painting Stair Risers

    Your treads are oak and would look great with stained oak ply risers in my opinion.IMG_1655.jpg Easy to do and not expensive.

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