Last week we talked about my plans to put in a stair runner here. That link goes over the steps to measure and plan for a stair runner, so start there first if you are doing this project. Today we are talking about how to removing paint off stairs. As a reminder this is how my stairs looked:
So scary! A DIY gone bad, for sure! My plan was to use a safe stripper to remove the layers of paint and wallpaper and polyurethane so I can redo the edges and lay down a stair runner. Here’s how it went:
I followed the instructions on the stripping gel and put the gel in a metal bucket and painted it on with a paint brush. I marked with a pencil 6″ from the edge so that I only worked on the parts of the stairs that will be showing when the runner is on. 4.5″ will be showing, but I wanted to be safe so I did more than necessary. I then cleaned out the bucket and brush with paint thinner.
I applied the gel to all of the stairs at once and let it sit for 30 minutes as the instructions say to do
(sorry about the crappy picture- I was taking pictures with gloves on so it is out of focus). The wallpaper reacted quickest and it was fun for it to come off so easily!
One thing I noticed is that the gel was very much effected by the temperature of my house. The entry is cold, but the upstairs is much warmer. The gel worked best on the top half of the stairs. Later, I used a heater in my entry and that really helped the gel permeate the paint on the stairs better. I let the gel sit on the paint until it looked like this:
You can actually see the paint bubbled up! Yay! It comes off much quicker that way.
One thing I underestimated was the time it would take to scrape the stairs. Even with it all bubbled up, it took 5-10 minutes per side of each step to scrape the gunk off. It wasn’t terrible work, but it did take way longer than I thought it would. I probably spent 6 hours scraping the stairs off until they were looking ok. FYI, even the safe stripper stinks pretty badly of chemicals. Also, there is quite a bit of cleanup. This picture is from the second time I used the stripper- when there was way less mess than the first time!
I then used a scrubbing pad to get the remaining residue off the stairs. I would scrub and then scrape. Again, a slow process. Honestly, this is where I stopped because I ran out of time. I used the whole bottle of stripping gel and I am hoping it is enough.
What’s next? I need to spend more time getting the rest of the residue off with a scrubbing pad. Then I will sand and prep for painting. I am hoping to paint next weekend.
Paint I am going to use: Floor and porch paint in the same color as my walls in the living room- Delicate Linen by Olympic (from Lowes). I might do a grey for the tread to help hide dirt a bit, but that paint color depends on the runner. I am also hoping to go price the runner out this week. When I paint, I am planning on painting every other step so they can still be used (it’s a must since our stairs are our only entrance to our condo).
Things I learned: I was originally going to stain the treads, but they are particle board and will look awful stained. Also, this is a labor intensive project that takes a lot of time and clean-up. It looks worse than when I started, which I hate, but progress is always good!