Sanding Stairs and Pondering More Lighting

Stairs of Parallam

sanding the beams before cutting to size

“Parallam” is an engineered structural beam material. Its designed to be very strong and very straight and consistent. I’m using it for my stair treds. I like the look and the fact that its a sustainable material. I like the balance of the machismo of the steel stair structure in combination with the softness of the wood. This wood material reminds me of a bundle of sticks or grass. I think it relates well to my bamboo floor and my bamboo shade that is the “door” to my stacking washer/dryer room.

rough placement of the treds pre-install

Here you can see the rough placement of the treds before final trimming to size. I have to admit I was a bit concerned about the scale of these hunks of wood in the small space but, happily, my estimates seem to be okay. There will need to be a railing of course but I do like the way that it looks without any railing. I’m working on sanding and final finish before I get them in place.


What About Bedside Lighting?

tolomeo wall light

I need to get all of the outlets and light fixture electrical boxes in place. Since I want as clean an installation as possible it seems necessary to determine the type of fixture before I can decide on the exact location of the electrical box.

At this point I am imagining an adjustable light fixture on each side of my new bed. I would like the fixture to mount to the wall without any cord, therefore I need to know what kind of light fixture as well as how wide the bed is going to be and how the fixture attaches to the wall.

Options, Options

Of course there are many options here just like all the other types of fixtures. So more research to do here too. I do want something that has some softness to it and doesn’t seem overly technical. Some of these get very technical very fast. It would be nice if there was some warmth to the light too like this one with a fabric shade. As always cost is a major deciding factor and some of these are too expensive.


ledino wall light

philips swing arm

ledino wall light




7 thoughts on “Sanding Stairs and Pondering More Lighting

  1. I have never seen anything like this beam. It has the look of wood with a grain, but yet it’s apparently a man-made grain. How unusual! I love how you seek out and make use of unique materials, and find interesting solutions to design problems/opportunities.


    • Thanks Steven, yeah its pretty cool stuff. I really love the look of it. It weighs a ton though and it takes a fair amount of finish work. I also seek out a lot of extra work for myself but I’m trying to do something interesting here. Thanks for your continuing support.


      • Hi Dirk,

        So glad I found your site! I will be using parallam for my stair treads, too, and wanted to ask you how you finished yours. I was intending to simply give ’em a light sanding and 3 coats of poly. Did you find that additional finishing was required??

        Any advice you could provide would be appreciated!


      • hi Leslie,

        I actually filled some of the holes with wood putty before I sanded. I’m not sure if that was really necessary but for sure the clear coat that I used didn’t fill very much. Are you happy with the small voids in the material? I think they look great just didn’t want too much of a dirt trap.
        But, yes, I think I did about 3 coats and I did each side flat. I rotated the treads so that I was always applying to a horizontal surface.
        Hope that helps. Let me know if you if I didn’t answer your question and if you are interested in anything else.



  2. Awesome work. We are looking to use parallam as well – can you please tell me the thickness of these treads? 3.5″??


  3. Hi Matt,
    thanks for visiting my blog. Yup you guessed it the parallam is 3.5″ thick. It worked out well with the stair tread height of 7″ giving me a 3.5″ gap at the bottom. I found out later that some people don’t like that gap because your heel can scrape the bottom of the tread. I haven’t found that to be a problem.


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