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Old 03-25-2013, 02:42 PM   #1
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Painting steps - don't want to sand varnished wood

I'm getting a new carpet runner down the middle of our staircase in a few weeks, but I'm going to paint the risers and spindles white, as pictured below. The risers, in case you're wondering, are the vertical pieces.

The steps are all wood and varnished right now. I don't want to sand them, just prime and paint. I also hate using oil based primers and haven't had good results with them even when I've sanded, so I'm looking for some sort of latex primer that will not come off and requires no sanding.

Any suggestions? I just need a great primer for this job.

In the end, it will look like this but with carpet down the middle.

Last edited by SLVR JDM; 03-25-2013 at 02:43 PM.
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Old 03-25-2013, 03:32 PM   #2
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Go to Home Depot and ask them what the best latex primer they have is? Make sure you give each riser and spindle a good cleaning with soap and mild water and you should be good to go.

I don't think you'll need to sand unless they have chips and bumps in them, in which case you should sand anyway. Try and get satin or semi gloss paint for at least the risers so that they can be easily washed and/or scrubbed to get dirt off.

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Old 03-25-2013, 03:38 PM   #3
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Oh..... you'll be sanding. OR don't bother
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Old 03-25-2013, 08:18 PM   #4
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Do not half ass it.

If you don't want to do it right and sand or strip the varnish then sand, the only other alternative is to purchase new spindles, risers and treads. Treads are about 25 bucks each, risers under 10, and spindles can be had for $3 ea.

You are going to pay one way or another, labor...or materials, or both.

I redid my complete staircase from carpet to hardwood. Sanded the railings, stained and finished. Stained, finished and installed new treads, painted and installed new risers and installed new spindles.

The worst part was removing the poly from the railings and sanding, your treads and risers should be a piece of cake.
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Old 03-26-2013, 09:15 AM   #5
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I spoke with Sherwin Williams last night and they are claiming that if I use their new multi purpose primer (latex based), a light sanding is all that is needed for a good bond. I'm sure I'll end up sanding some, but I'd rather not have to take the varnish completely off. It probably will just take a few more hours to do it the right way, so I should just suck it up and deal with it

I'm sure touch ups are inevitable anyway. I might cover it with a clearcoat over the white so that it is a little more durable. I did a bathroom cabinet that way and it seems to be more durable as a result.
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