For months and months now, we have been restoring our staircase, bannisters and handrail. I have to confess – it’s taking forever and starting to drive me slightly mad. Although we’ve spent countless hours stripping and sanding, it’s still a long way off being completed.
This is what the hallway and staircase looked like when we moved in. The whole room was painted in brown and green and the original balusters were boarded up.
On the first floor landing, it looked like this.
As usual, I was
ever so slightly ridiculously impatient and removed the board that was covering the balusters before taking the picture. Just ignore the carpet and mess; I might have also been slightly impatient about that, too. Don’t you just love the green and brown paintwork? The people who used to live here must have just painted as far as they could reach from the landing. It’s definitely a unique style!
As with all the woodwork in the house, we are going to be painting the staircase with pure brilliant white paint. It may seem bizarre to go to all the effort of stripping and sanding the woodwork only to paint it again, but because of a number of layers of paint lots of the detail in the wood has been lost. You can see that the fibre boards that were used to cover the balusters have also left a pattern in the paint.
The existing paint is also chipped everywhere, so if we just painted over it, we wouldn’t achieve the smooth finish we would like.
One of the layers of paint is different to the others. Most of the paint just seems to soften and peel away, but the layer that’s causing problems goes really gooey and just gets stuck all over the tools. It’s such a pain to remove, especially as it stays stuck in the decorative grooves of the woodwork.
This is what the surface looks like after stripping with the heat gun.
You can see that quite a bit of gunk stays on the wood so that a lot of extra work is necessary.
After a lot of sanding, scraping and cursing it looks like this.
It’s really smooth and almost ready to receive its paint finish. Just in case you are wondering – we use 120 grit sandpaper to prepare any wooden surface that we are going to paint. Sometimes, depending on the condition of the wood, we might use coarser sandpaper to start with, but we always finish with the 120 grit paper.
Even after all of this work hallway still looks like this.
It may not seem much of an improvement, but you will just have to believe us, that it’s been a huge amount of work even to get to this stage.
All in all, I suppose our staircase restoration project is getting there. It’s taking much longer than we anticipated; I’m covered in nicks and cuts, I seem to have not only sanded away bits of paint, but also my fingernails, I think I might have a slight case of tendonitis, but most of all I’m starting to get very fed up of sanding for hours on end without seeing much result. I’m sure our perseverance will be worth it in the end.
What do you think? Should we just have painted the woodwork without bothering to strip and sand every tiny bit of surface for hours? Do you think we could have taken a shortcut somewhere along the way? We’re still not there, so let us know if you can think of anything that will save us sometime!