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Old 10-18-2016, 05:01 PM   #1
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RV Step Refinishing

My RV steps were starting to look a bit worn so I figured to prevent them rusting up and requiring a more expensive repair I'd refinish them. This could have been a much simpler project had I known what I found out during the process, but suffice it to say, learning is half the fun

I started out by taking the bottom step of two steps off. It's not a hard thing to do, mainly four bolts for each step. When I did get around to removing the top step, I had to have the steps pulled in (travel position) in order to access the nut and hex screw head that held it together. The bottom step was much easier and it came off with the steps pulled out.

The picture below shows my progress on the bottom step after a bit of work attempting to remove the paint, anti-skid sticker, etc.

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This was a time consuming process using a couple of tools, the Dremel, a scraper, a wire brush on a drill. It wasn't going well. That's when the real trouble started as I jokingly txt messaged my nephew saying if I only had a sand blaster I'd have it made. He replies saying he has a brand new one in the box. I was excited and ran over to pick it up. Two days later after assembling it and attempting to use the very expensive blasting material recommended for it, I thought, what a waste. Maybe just plain sand - nope, that didn't work as the tank stated it was an "Abrasive Blaster", not sand!!!

So I moved from that to a chemical-based solution. That worked way faster and easier than the prior approaches, but it was also a bit messier and subject to environmental cleanup issues. After doing the bottom step with the paint remover chemical, I was still left with a fairly clean step, but questioned what/how to repaint it and what quality would I wind up with afterwards? I was thinking primer in a can and then folks suggested I do a bunch of finish coats as my only option was cans of paint (no equipment to spray like a professional).

After thinking that over I thought of another idea - what about powder coating them? Google quickly provided the answer for that after searching for local powder coating shops. Figured that type of finish would go well on steps and last quite a while. Took the two steps over to a local shop and they gave me a great price - $80 to sand blast and powder coat the both of them. Oh if I only knew that two weeks earlier!!

This is what they looked like when I got them back:

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The guy called me just prior to him painting them asking if I wanted to apply this non-smooth finish powder coating he had already loaded into the gun. Explained to me that there'd be less slippage with the finish I'd wind up with and said, yea, go for it. Here's a closeup of what the finish looks like:

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After picking them up I was quite pleased with the results and they look even better now that they're re-installed:

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My advice for anyone else contemplating this - make sure you know what you're getting into up front and find a local sand blaster if you're going to refinish them yourself. It'll save a lot of time and as we all know, preparation for paint is the most critical and time consuming part of the job. I decided to leave it to the professionals and hope my results last for a while.
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Old 10-18-2016, 08:27 PM   #2
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Wow! They look better than new. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 10-18-2016, 08:47 PM   #3
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Great looking steps and a great piece of advice on forward thinking thanks.....

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Old 10-19-2016, 12:55 AM   #4
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Great work. I wish they came powder coated from the factory!
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Old 10-19-2016, 02:27 PM   #5
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Nice work Carl!
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Old 10-19-2016, 03:14 PM   #6
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Looks great! Thanks for being the 'guinea pig'. I was just thinking about re-doing mine so this really helps.
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Old 10-20-2016, 07:34 AM   #7
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That's a great job. I've been looking at our step because it's starting to look a little shabby. I've had lots of things powder coated and they can blast the nonskid off the step with a heavy industrial sand blaster.
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Old 10-20-2016, 07:49 AM   #8
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In my younger days, I was into rebuilding motorcycles. I would get them sand blasted for a reasonable price at a monuments works place (think, tombstone headstone) all the time. I wish I had found a power coating place, many hrs learning to spray... btw, I did find the best filler available, called marine tex, 2 part epoxy... The sand blaster had some issues getting it off.
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Old 10-20-2016, 06:16 PM   #9
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Wow, looks great! I would have probably just hit it with a sanding flap wheel on the drill or angle grinder, followed by about 4-5 coats of Rustoleum black, and called it a day!
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