How to Renew a Worn Staircase

By Gene and Katie Hamilton

Tools Required
  • Electric drill
  • Hammer
  • Nail set
  • Ratchet wrench and sockets
  • Palm or profile sander
  • Vacuum with crevice tool
Materials Required
  • Lag screws and washers
  • Polyurethane
  • Sandpaper
  • Sponge sander
  • Tack rag
  • Brush
  • Wood glue
  • Finishing nails

Before You Begin

Below are the steps involved for this project. Don't want to do this job yourself? To find a contractor who has the skills and tools to do it right, click Home Advisor, a free referral service matching homeowners with local prescreened contractors.

  • Step 1 : Tighten a loose baluster or stair tread

    Secure a loose baluster or stair tread using a 2-inch finishing nails drilled at an angle. First drill a pilot hole, then insert the nail and tap it into place using a nail set.

  • Step 2 : Secure a newel post

    At the base of the newel drill a counterbore hole; then drill a screw shank clearance hole through the counterbore hole and into the framing behind the post. Put a washer on a lag screw and insert it into the hole and drive in the screw with a ratchet wrench and socket. Use a wood plug to conceal the screwhead and sand it smooth with the surface of the newel post.

  • Step 3 : Fix a loose banister

    Refasten the wooden mounting plate that secures the banister to the wall by drilling a counterbore hole into the plate. Then drill a hole for a screw-shank hole through the plate and fasten the plate to the wall with a wood screw. Hide the screwhead with a wood plug and sand it smooth with the surface of the wooden plate.

  • Step 4 : Sand worn stair treads and hand rails

    With a palm or profile sander or a sponge sander remove the finish. Work carefully to sand all the surfaces so they are smooth and free of the old finish. Then use a crevice tool of a vacuum to remove all the grit and dirt and wipe the surfaces clean with a tack rag.

  • Step 5 : Apply polyurethane

    Use a brush to apply a coat of clear polyurethane and let it dry thoroughly.