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Refinishing A Staircase

Q. We have an 80-year-old Tudor city house. The existing stairs have 5 coats of white paint up to the second floor and grey paint up to the third. We’re thinking of covering the stairs with sisal carpeting. We’ve already removed the paint from the banister and are thinking of staining it. The spindles are white. What will match my red oak floors?

A. Refinishing your staircase is a great way to instantly update your home. Leave the spindles and banister white and strip and stain the stair treads (steps) like your floor or a little darker. Repaint the stair risers (vertical surfaces) white and either paint or stain the handrail even darker than the risers. This will result in a clean, finished staircase.

Since you’ve already stripped the banister though, staining the banister the same as the handrail is one option, but it will make the staircase seem a little darker.

A sisal runner on the stairs is a great alternative to paint. Not only will it enhance the look of the stairs by warming up the staircase visually but it will also provide a non-slip surface on the stairs. Natural sisal will provide a more slip-resistant surface, but either 100 per cent wool or 50/50 wool-synthetic sisal will be much more comfortable on bare feet.