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Have any suggestions for our stairs?

15 years ago

We originally thought we wanted to refinish the treads and risers on our 112-year old staircase, and "clean up" all the surrounding woodwork. It is all horribly spattered with paint from over the years, and I'd like them to be refreshed. In addition, the treads are very, very dark on each end -- it doesn't look nice.

Problem is, no one wants to deal with that much refinishing. I've been told it would be at least $3,000 to complete the entire staircase, which is more than we want to spend. This is not our forever home.

How they've looked since we tore the carpet up that the previous owners had down:

One of the guys we had over here told us that a big part of the discoloration on our treads is from 112 years of good ol' dirt. He recommended that DH get something called "Goof Off" and try working on the stairs with that. Here's the spot he worked on -- it doesn't seem like a good overall solution, though. It seems to be removing too much. DH also tried some Formby's on one step today, and that doesn't seem like the perfect solution either. Then again, neither of us have any clue what we're doing!

We really just want to put down a nice runner, but we don't want to do that over paint-splattered, unevenly-stained stairs. Bottom line -- how can we even out the colors and remove the paint stains/splatters?

What do your old stairs look like? What solutions have you found?

I've even considered painting them, but this is all oak, so it seems like a shame to put white paint over that wood. However, I'm desperate at this point.

Help, please!

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