Are you planning to refurbish your staircase? Maybe, you want the carpet replaced or have the stairs repainted? Whatever your plan is, it would always be good to have yourself and all the materials you need ready.
Remove the carpet. If you have a stair carpet, start by removing it. How? Firstly, lever up the carpet using a pry bar. Using a sharp knife cut it from the back to divide it into manageable sections. Remove protruding nails and staples with a claw hammer, pliers or nail extractor. If you can’t pull them all out, just hammer them right into the wood and cover up any marks afterwards with wood filler.
Sand the stairs. It is best to sand the stairs if you are planning to stain or paint your stairs rather than lay a new carpet on them. Use a coarse 40 or 60 grit sandpaper and working your way up to fine 120 or 240 grit paper for a smooth finish. If you have budget, use a random orbital or belt sanding machine for the larger surfaces such as treads and risers, and a detail sanding machine for corners and small stair parts.
After sanding, vacuum the stairs from end to end to remove all dust and debris. Using a large sponge, wipe it with water and a mild detergent – liquid floor cleaner is ideal, as long as it doesn’t contain bleach. Rinse thoroughly and leave to dry for at least a day.
Fill in the cracks. To conceal nail holes, cracks and dents, apply wood filler or wood putty in as close a shade as possible to the color of your stairs. The compound will probably lighten as it dries out, so test it on an unobtrusive area first. Overfill the holes slightly because filler tends to shrink as it hardens. Sand lightly when dry to level the surface, and wipe with a damp cloth.