It's been a long while since I wrote an update on the cabin fever renovation series! I have a major update: I refinished my stairs! Here's what they looked like before, and what they look like now:
If you're in the market for a DIY project, I can absolutely recommend easier ones than refinishing your stairs. This one was a 6/10 on effort and elbow grease, and a 11/10 for mess. I tented off the stairwell entirely, and still spent half my life vacuuming outside the quarantined area. Despite all the effort, the project only took a few days including paint, stain, and finish, and the results are SO worth it. If you have a belt sander, some plastic sheeting, and truly ugly stairs, then I absolutely recommend going for it!
The risers were relatively easy to do. I did a thorough cleaning, then used an orbital sander to scuff the finish on the risers--just enough to give the paint a surface to grip onto.
The treads required a lot more work--I used a belt sander to fully remove the finish, and the orbital sander to clean up the edges. For the finish color, I was trying to match the LVP we put down as closely as possible. I wound up using black paint like you would a whitewash, wiping on a diluted coat and wiping it back off with a wet rag. This worked to highlight the wood grain, as well as cool down the brown tones in the wood.
I finished up with three coats of matte Polyacrylic, which is easy to work with and doesn't affect the finish color the way oil-based polyurethanes do.
I'm so happy with the results! The kittens approve, too.