After removing the carpet from the stairs (here), it was time to sand those babies down and make them look beautiful. Well that’s what I thought. After trying to sand the first stair for about an hour and going through endless amounts of sandpaper because it would get clumps of glue on the sandpaper. I knew I had to get some varnish/paint remover.
See the clumps on the sandpaper, it makes it so you can not sand anymore and have to change our sandpaper.
How To Remove Varnish from Stairs:
-Stripping Remover (I used Citristrip, save time and money buy the bigger container)
All Items can be found at your local hardware store in the painting section.
Put your varnish remover in the metal can. Make sure you are wearing gloves and start painting that stuff on.
TIP:Make sure you apply a generous amount, I did not and had to apply remover two times.
I applied during my kids nap time because it said it could sit for up to 24 hours. Then after putting kids to bed, about 7 hours later, I found it was bubbling and looked ready to be taken off.
Get your plastic scrapper and start scraping. I was finding that the varnish remover was dried out and was having a hard time coming off.
This is what the stair looked like after I finished removing first coat. See how you can still see the varnish in some spots.
TIP: On my second coat I only let it sit for 1 hour and varnish came off like a charm, I found that after about 1 hour it started to dry out and did not come off as easy.
Next you will take your Mineral Spirits and Stripping sponge and clean the stairs. This step will save you time later, please do not do what I did and go through more sandpaper then needed.
NEXT: Sanding the stairs (here)