A client/friend had removed carpet from her stairs and asked my opinion on what colour to paint them and wanted me to paint them for her. She plans to have laminate flooring installed on the main floors soon and wanted the stairs painted now. I specify client/friend because I don't go beyond consultation/advice in my business to actually doing the physical work anymore. I will only go that far for immediate family and a close friend or two. ;)
First, I had to finish removing all of the staples left behind from the carpet days. There were quite a few stubborn ones that required pliers and muscle. Here are the stairs after the staples were removed and the stairs were cleaned up and ready.
Next, I hooked up my rotary sander to my shop vac and went to work using very course sand paper. It is unknown how many years this paint had been on the stairs and it was very difficult to sand off. VERY difficult. Even with my prized Milwaukee sander (that is powerful), I had to put my strength into it, too. I ended up chewing through one sanding pad per stair tread! This is how it ended up looking when I had sanded all I could . . . and run out of sanding paper pads.
The only two reasons one would have to sand this much is if one had wanted to fully eliminate the paint to be able to stain . . . or if one wanted to create THIS new look, a technique I had discovered one day playing around. (Click here to see the first time I used this technique.)
It is actually very simple. I use Saman One Step Stain & Varnish in the colour Ebony. I just brushed each coat on with a light hand, brushing in even strokes in one direction as it creates streaks. Don't be alarmed at these streaks. They end up looking part of the wood grain effect. I say 'light hand' because you will notice that it tends to pull off the surface if you don't. It only requires two coats, leaving 2 hours between the coats.
This was after just one coat.
I did every other stair so that her household could still use the stairs while allowing the finished ones to cure for a couple of days.
This is the fully finished stairs!
After 2 months of use, they are still looking the same as the day they were finished! Her husband has used the stairs in his boots and they have a large dog (large dog = tough nails) and there has not even been a scratch!
I have named this technique Urban Rustic. Visually, it reminds me of being in the city at night with its various degrees of shadows.