How to Refinish Faded Pine Stairs

Written by mason howard
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How to Refinish Faded Pine Stairs
Put life back into faded stairs. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Economical and commonly harvested through sustainable practices, pine remains a prevalent building material. Left with its natural tone when used in home structures such as stairs, pine's light yellow-orange colouration imbues any space, interior or exterior, with gentle warmth. Over time, however, sun, air exposure and continuous foot traffic can leave a pine stair faded, dull and grey. Take the time to refinish pine stairs not just to restore the appearance but to also protect the wood.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Painter's tape
  • Masking paper or plastic sheeting
  • Eco-friendly stripper
  • Paintbrushes
  • Paint scraper or putty knife
  • Mini scrub brush
  • Wood brightener
  • 120-grit sandpaper
  • 220-grit sandpaper
  • Wood stain (optional)
  • Wood finish
  • 320- to 400-grit sandpaper or #0000 steel wool (optional)

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  1. 1

    Protect adjacent walls and other surfaces with painter's tape and masking paper or plastic sheeting.

  2. 2

    Coat the stairs semi-liberally with eco-friendly stripper to remove any old finish. Apply stripper with a paintbrush and leave it to sit for the time indicated in the directions. Remove the stripper and dissolved finish with a paint scraper or putty knife. Access hard to reach areas using a mini scrub brush. Rinse the stairs with fresh water when finished. Spray outdoor stairs with a hose or use a water-drenched towel on indoor stairs.

  3. 3

    Paint the stairs generously with wood brightener. Brightener will help restore the natural tones of the pine. Allow the brightener to sit for the time indicated in the directions, then rinse with water.

  4. 4

    Sand the stairs starting with 120-grit sandpaper, then follow up with 220-grit sandpaper. Vacuum all sanding dust when finished.

  5. 5

    Apply stain, if desired. Coat the stairs thickly with stain, allowing it to soak in, then wipe away the excess. Apply additional coats until the desired saturation is achieved.

  6. 6

    Paint the stairs with wood finish such as polyurethane or urethane. Apply the number of coats indicated in the directions. Also if directed, lightly sand between coats of polyurethane with 320- to 400-grit sandpaper or #0000 steel wool.

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