How to Sand Stairs

Stairs are often overlooked when it comes to home renovation. People usually just paint the stairs and leave them untouched for a long time. This is wrong, because over time the stairs are gradually damaged, scratched, which makes your staircase look old and dirty.

The best way to solve this problem is by sanding wood stairs with a sander. Not only will it create a fresh new look but also make the whole staircase smoother!

If you’re looking for a way to bring your stairs back to their original condition, then look no further. In this article, I will give tips on how to sand wood stairs using a sander. You can do it yourself and save money or have someone else do the work for you. Either way, these steps will help make your staircase safe and beautiful again!

Equipment needed for Stair sanding

  • Power sander: Use a sander designed for this purpose. Don’t try to do it with any random one, as they often don’t have enough power to get the job done efficiently. Use the best sander for stairs
  • Sandpaper
  • Painter’s gloves or leather work gloves
  • Protective eyewear and a dust mask
  • Dustpan with a brush for removing the excess wood shavings that may have fallen off during stair sanding. You can use a vacuum cleaner to remove them if you wish to, but it is not necessary as they are small particles, to begin with, and will get dispersed in the air anyways.
  • You should also be wearing a long sleeve shirt and pants when you’re doing this job to protect your skin from getting cut by shards of wood pieces while you are working on the stairs. This way, there’s less chance of injury which means fewer chances of sanding.

Prep work

Before you start sanding your stairs with a power sander, make sure that the surface is completely dry. You should also remove any dirt or grease from the staircase using acetone (nail polish remover). If there are any heavy stains on it then use a stair cleaner before applying an oil-based stripper to dissolve them.


Sandpaper is an important tool in a staircase sanding project because it is the one that actually does the work of smoothing out and removing any chips or scratches from the surface area of the stairs. Attach the right sanding paper type on the sander’s surface depending on what you want to achieve with that particular stair step – if you want a smooth finish or an uneven texture which is common in old houses style. On average, you will need to change pads about twice per stair tread depending on how rough they are before going over

Steps of Stair Sanding

1st step: Sand the center

In the first step, sand the center of each stair-step to the desired depth with the sander. You can also start sanding in a diagonal direction, starting from one side of the staircase and working your way to another end. This will remove the long-term wear and tear which builds up on your staircase over time, leaving you with an even surface that is easier to clean in the future.

2nd Step: Sand the edges

The second step is to Sand the edges and corners of each stair. These are more difficult to reach with a sander. Use your fingers or a sanding block when you’re doing this.This should remove any ridges which are visible when looking down at them head-on.

Next, switch hands so you’re using your left hand instead and hold onto the top part of the stair stringers while keeping yourself standing upright next to it (this will allow for maximum control). Using this position, now sand downwards until there’s no more paint or stain leftover.

Step 3: Use finer grits

If there are any sharp edges or splinters left by old nails or screws sticking out of the stair treads from before, go ahead and use some medium grit sandpaper (220) to smooth them down. Just remember not to do this if it’s going to ruin what remains of the wood finish at all; once again just leave these for another day when they can be fixed without disturbing other parts of your house too much.

Now use 100 grit sandpaper to get rid of any small scratches or tears in the finish and then use 220 grit sandpaper for your final finishing touch. Using a 220 grit sandpaper will allow the wood to be completely smooth and shiny while removing any remaining marks that were left behind by a rough sanding.

Step 4: Finish off

Finish off your work with some furniture polish or oil for an even nicer finish! For best results, make sure you use these products before finishing with 220 grit.

Here are a few additional tips to follow while staircase sanding

  • Keep the sander moving in a diagonal direction. This will help to avoid overworking one particular spot of wood and cause irreversible damage.
  • When sanding, use an up-and-down motion that concentrates pressure at about 45%. This should remove any ridges which are visible when looking down on them head-on.
  • Always keep both hands close together when operating the machine by using two fingers of each hand at all times so there’ll be no chance for accidents like slipping off (especially when doing stairs). You can also use gloves if your skin is particularly sensitive.

Final Words

Since this is such an important DIY task, I recommend that you plan to do it at least once every five years or so in order to keep your stairs looking their best!

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