One of the most labor-intensive, detailed parts of having your hardwood floors refinished is the process of having your stairs refinished.
They seem pretty easy...but they're not.
The skilled refinisher has to balance a 40lb machine spinning at high speeds while trying not to damage the surrounding walls. After going through three grits, hand scraping corners, and finally palm sanded with a fine grit sandpaper, they are now ready for the stain process.
With all this process in mind, here are some things to keep in mind when you are getting your stairs refinished.
1.) Nicks and Bumps Happen: Whisking a 40lb, high powered machine that doesn't fit fully on a stair tread isn't easy to do. Even the most trained professional refinisher has a difficult time prevented bumps and nicks. Plan on having the risers and/or the side walls touched up with paint
2.) Risers are near impossible to refinish: The part you walk on is called "treads" while the vertical part you tend to kick with your toes while walking up the stairs are called "risers". While refinishing stair treads is very common, most flooring companies do not offer to refinish the stair risers. The reason is that everything is vertical. Drips in the finish occur more (due to gravity) and the actual sanding is extremely difficult. Painting risers is very common due the brilliant contrast it creates with easy maintenance.
3.) Consider High Traffic Polyurethane: Stairs are one of the most walked on parts of any house. Consider spending a little more to get high traffic finish to protect from wear and tear.