staircase staining help

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Forum topic by mugrella posted 07-23-2013 07:17 AM 1475 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1 post in 1947 days

07-23-2013 07:17 AM

this is my first time ever sanding and staining. i did no sort of research before hand, which was a big mistake. i am in the process of trying to stain my stairs. i pulled up the carpet, sanded the wood, applied stain (with brush) but i did not wipe excess off :( then applied another coat of stain. i have not applied the polyurethane yet. is it at all possible for me to sand my steps back down to the original wood and start over or is it too late for me? the stain color is light walnut but since i didn’t wipe excess off it’s dark, i don’t know if that info helps but just incase. any help would be greatly appreciated. thanks in advance!!

7 replies so far

View NoLongerHere's profile


893 posts in 2853 days

#1 posted 07-23-2013 12:18 PM

I can’t look anymore….omg!

why didn’t you stop on the first step? tisk tisk oh well, we’ve all done it.

don’t beat yourself up too much,......... let me do it. Ha!

Not to worry, it can be sanded again as I believe they are solid wood but you’re going to lose a little profile on the nose, which can be re sanded round. They needed a deeper sand anyway. I can see where the runner was. You might have to use a wood conditioner to get the stain even.

This is going to take some serious work and a floor sanding tool. You might want to have a floor guy fix this. He can do it without denting your mop boards or the risers, much faster, cleaner, safer on your back…..ect.

As long as your at it, I wonder if they could fix the top stair nosing pc.? sure is dark.
A lot of work left just prepping and painting the mop boards and risers white. Let the floor guy finish the steps.

I don’t even finish floors and I’m a cabinet maker.

View CharlesNeil's profile


2454 posts in 4048 days

#2 posted 07-23-2013 12:21 PM

What stain is it ???? It’s possible you can clean some of it back by using whatever solvent/water the stain is made with.

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404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 3146 days

#3 posted 07-23-2013 12:21 PM

This is a bit like closing the stable door after the horse has bolted, but you should have applied it to a test piece first. Sorry that’s not much help here… but in future…
As for stripping the stairs, a lot depends on whether you used a stain that penetrates the wood, first thing I’d try is a scraper. A detail sander will get you close to the edges. That floor looks more like aged cherry to me, fwiw, you can mix stains to achieve required shade (test on scrap first).

View Hammerthumb's profile


2902 posts in 2152 days

#4 posted 07-23-2013 07:43 PM

A word of advise from someone with a National Wood Flooring Association certification, and a lot of years doing hardwood floors, and hundreds of stair cases.

Finishing flooring is a little different than finishing furniture. Adhesion problems may occur between the finish and the stain if not done properly. Flooring will see a lot more abuse because you walk on it. I recommend using a flooring stain and finish from one manufacturer for compatibility reasons. Most flooring stains will have you apply the stain liberally and then wipe off any excess. Make sure you remove all of the excess. Do not re-stain. It will not make it much darker anyway. Choose your stain from the manufacturers color samples. Custom colors can be mixed using multiple colors of stain. Always do test pieces on the same spiecies of wood prior to staining and finishing. If the color is not dark enough, you can try water wiping the to open the pores of the wood (allow the water to dry before application). This will allow the wood to accept more of the pigments from the stain. Make sure you follow the drying recommendations of the stain prior to applying finish. Most of the floor finish manufacturers now produce “quick dry stains” that will allow you to apply finish within about 4-8hrs.

From the first picture, it looks like you have cherry flooring at the top of the stairs and red oak treads. You can get a close match with stains but the grain pattern will not look the same.

It looks like you will have to re-sand the treads and risers and start again. Good luck! One word of caution, stairs are not a place where you want to have adhesion problems with the finish. Could cause somebody to take a fall.

As Reedwood suggested, have a professional hardwood flooring finisher tackle this for you.

-- Paul, Duvall, WA

View Grandpa's profile


3261 posts in 2853 days

#5 posted 07-23-2013 11:30 PM

We all have our limits and we need to know them. We never progress if we are challenged but this is overwhelming. I agree with reedwood. I am a cabinet maker and I don’t do floors. I get those calls and tell them the number for people that will do floor.

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19266 posts in 2034 days

#6 posted 07-24-2013 12:40 AM

If its possible to remove the treads, remove the treads. Find some one with a thickness planer to plane off just enough wood to get rid of the stain. You’ll have to sand the bullnose to remove the stain.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View NoLongerHere's profile


893 posts in 2853 days

#7 posted 07-24-2013 11:53 AM

the treads can’t be removed. Five bucks says they’re dadoed in to the side boards and nailed to the risers from behind.

don’t even go there.

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