The Complete Staircase Flip (Part Two) – Sanding and Stripping

It’s been two weeks since my last update on the staircase flip and while I’m completely sore and my back has given out, I’m still so proud of how it’s all coming along. I mean look at this beauty?

Sanded and ready for some stain!

Stupid nails!

In part one of The Complete Staircase Flip I left you with the view of the staircase sans banister (a huge improvement) and the unveiling of one stair chalk full of staples but with nice looking wood. I had ambitions to remove each step and sand them individually but quickly realized that removing the stairs would be impossible because of the tack nails on each step with painted L-joints ta-boot. Boo. But that’s why we always have plan B. Actually we usually have a plan for each letter in the alphabet ;)

Plan B

Building a gigantic plastic room around the stairs to cut back on dust and dirt from getting everywhere.

A scene from a horror movie?

Removing the staples and tack boards (tedious as hell).

I swear each step had 100 staples in them.

Using paint stripper to remove paint and adhesives (best part because I used a less toxic paint remover).

Although I used a less toxic paint remover I still like to go for the full suit and respirator in the event lead is present.

Sanding Sanding Sanding Sanding (OMG so much sanding)

Shown here is an orbital sander, I also used a detail sander to get all the way under the stairs.

Now for my video tour of the sanding process. Feel free to laugh at the muffled voice and mad scientist look but make sure you at least make a comment.

A little comparison of before the sanding and after the sanding.

From Blah

To Blam!








Who knew such beauty lived under that old ratty carpet? We did spend a good amount of time admiring the natural look but came to the conclusion that the natural color doesn’t fit well with our new laminate floors so we’ve decided to use a darker stain on the planks. As you might have guessed The Complete Staircase Flip (Part Three) will be the finished piece with stain, varnish and fresh paint. I’m shooting for project complete by next week if my back recovers in time. Boy are we excited!





  1. Nice job so far flipping those stairs. Looks like you guys really lucked out with the wood underneath the carpet. I flipped my stairs a few years ago but removing my carpet revealed texture/primer stained junk wood. Ended up laying bamboo hardwood on top of it.

    One thing I’ve always wanted to do (and it’s much easier with exposed treads like you have) is to lay drawers in between the stairs to store socks or flip flops or random workout accessories (gloves, sweatbands, mp3 players, etc.) Maybe in the next abode.

    • I totally wanted to do the same drawer concept with these stairs but Cliff quickly squashed that idea because drawers would block the view through the stairs. I get that….. Just always wanted those cool drawers!

    • Yeah, that’s a great idea fong! If we didn’t have a killer view, I’m pretty sure those drawers would happen and we would probably box in the area under the stairs for workshop space.



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