Remove old stair coating and apply new: a guide


Steps have to endure a lot, hardly any area in the house is used as intensively as they. Therefore, after a few years, many areas of the stairs look rather worn, especially if they are made of wood. In most cases, a new coating is sufficient to restore the wooden stairs neatly. But what should be considered when choosing the stair coating - and how to remove the old paint?

How to remove the old staircase lacquer

Sometimes it is not really necessary to completely remove the old stair coating before repainting. However, if there is already more than one coat of paint on the surface, another coat of paint could cause exfoliation.

But even damaged or too thick applied old paints should better give way to the new paint. The same applies to an old paint in intrusive color, which is not so easy to cover.

Also, if you want to restore the woodiness of your staircase, the old staircase finish must be removed before covering the stairs with clear coat, wax or oil. These methods are suitable for paint removal:

  • Heat with the hot air blower and scraping with spatula. Attention: If the wood gets too hot, ugly burn marks will form! Respiratory protection against potentially toxic fumes is highly recommended.
  • Applying paint remover, leave to work and scraping with the spatula: When working with harmful paint strippers you should wear respiratory protection and ventilate thoroughly.
  • Sanding with the orbital sander, in hard-to-reach places by hand: This variant is usually very labor-intensive and only suitable for thin layers of stairs. It is recommended to wear eye and mouth protection.

If the old stair coating does not have to be removed

If the old stair coating proves to be easily recoatable, then it is sufficient to thoroughly roughen it with sandpaper. You should make sure that less accessible areas are well sanded, so that the new paint really holds.

It is also important to carefully remove any flaking paint areas and to sand the edges well. Only a stable substrate forms the basis for a high quality new paint.

Which stair lacquer is suitable for the new painting?

Stair steps are exposed to high loads, so you need a high quality and long lasting paint. Do not just grab some cheap paint, but use real stair coating to have many years of peace after repainting.

Even 2-component paint for wooden floors meets the high quality requirements of a staircase painting. He should at least be used directly on the performances. Often a one-component primer is necessary.

There are also 1-component paints for stairs, which are applied on the heavily loaded areas in several layers one above the other. Here are quite 5 to 7 coats together to achieve a layer thickness, which provides a long-term protection.

Slip resistance for the painted stairs

A freshly polished and repainted staircase can be quite slippery, so it is recommended to provide a non-slip surface of the steps. Many a landlord scatters a bit of sand in the penultimate paint layer, alternatively coarse-grained salt is called.

Special non-slip adhesive strips or step mats are an interesting alternative, but may not look that good. If you use a slip-resistant staircase directly, avoid this problem from the outset.

Alternative to the stair coating: Use hard oil

Instead of a wood varnish, you can also use hard oil for the stair coating, which penetrates particularly deep into the pores and ensures long-lasting protection and a hard surface. Oiled wood also looks more natural, the grain appears visually pleasing.

The wood surface remains permeable to vapor with hard oil, so that the natural material can continue to breathe well. The re-oiling is relatively easy without prior sanding of the hand, so it is not a disadvantage that hard oil usually does not last as long as paint.

However, you should apply hard oil only on previously oiled or completely raw wood surfaces. On old varnish layers, even if these are only stuck in the pores of the wood, this varnish did not unfold its full effect or did not last at all.

Tips & Tricks

Do you tend to treat your staircase with wax? When selecting the material, make sure that the wax is water-resistant, otherwise it may form unsightly stains. In addition, the surfaces should be polished carefully.


Video Board: How to Refinish Wood Stairs - Sanding