Painting the stairs: Part 1

Winter is here and when winter is here things are pretty slow in terms of house projects. Nothing can be done outside except shovel snow & inside becomes a struggle of staying warm & not starting a project thats too big for the season. 
That being said – life was getting boring! We love doing projects and constantly improving this little homestead of ours. So, after a couple months of researching & reading I decided I would start the process of painting our stairs. 

So here we have our stairs:

They really are pretty in their natural form but they deserve some pizzaz and some class. & thats where the painting part comes in. Now when I say painting the stairs I do not mean the top. I mean painting the ride and the side boards. The top, or tread, of the stairs will be refinished. 
The top of the stairs were sanded when the initial demo of the house took place. I realized how thankful I was that this was already done when I started sanding. Sanding is TEDIOUS. 
So the first part, before sanding, is the cleaning. I pulled out all the staples (about 1,000 of those little devils), removed the rest of the rubber from the black stair treads, swept every stair & generally prepared the area. 
Once that was done – sanding time! I invested in a $40 sander. One, I wasn’t going to do it all by hand and two, I knew I would use a sander in future projects so to me, it was a worthwhile investment. 
I started sanding the stair edges first and went into the corners of the side boards. My sander had a little attachment you could put on that would really get into those corners. This made the process SO MUCH FASTER, although I still had to sand by hand quite a bit. 
Sanding was the worst. It just was. After 13 minutes I was over it. You feel like you are getting nowhere and you also feel like if you move any faster you will damage the stairs. It was so slow moving & so detail oriented that it borderline drove me crazy. 
Fast forward three hours later, stairs are sanded. Now onto priming. 
Before starting to paint I vacuumed about three times and then wiped down every single stair, corner and crevasse to ensure every surface was dust free. 
Priming, to me, has to be done right because I don’t want to do it again. I figured two coats for the stairs because again, I don’t want to start painting and realize its not going to look right. So when I prime I put it on pretty heavy. I used an oil based primer, made for attaching well to wood (sanded or unsanded. I figured the sanding was a good measure to take regardless). 
The new paneling hasn’t been primed or painted so it was nice that while priming I didn’t have to worry about not getting anything on the walls. That is a project for another day. 
Coat one almost done. Wait for it….
End of primer coat #2. All in all I started this at 11 a.m. on Saturday, worked until 5 p.m. and then picked up again at 10 a.m Sunday & was finished with coat two by noon-ish. So roughly 7-8 hours of labor to get to this point. Definitely a weekend project.
Next step will be the actual painting of the stairs. Hopefully that goes well. That will be EXTREMELY slow because I’m going to make very sure everything is clean & looks amazing. I also do not want to get any paint in the stairs if I can help it, so that means moving slow. Definitely not a rush job. 
In the meantime I will probably prime the walls of the stairway.  One less thing to do later. 

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