Wax or poly stairs - please help us decide

brnstnMarch 12, 2012

We're doing a pretty complete restoration and are waxing our floors. We're trying to decide what to do with our stairs. The first flight is mahogany and the upper flights are pine.

Will wax be too slippery on the stairs?

Is poly less slippery?

We will put runners on them eventually but it may take some months and we've got small children.


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I would have to say wax is too soft and not durable enough for stairs. Polyurethane is a very simple to apply and very durable built up finish. I recently built a set of oak stairs and finished them with a first coat of 1 part linseed oil 1 part polyurethane and followed that (after considerable time allowed for curing of the first coat)with two more coats of strait polyurethane.
Disclaimer: when I say polyurethane I mean the stuff in the minwax can called polyurethane which is actually almost all varnish but with a polyurethane resin added to improve durability.

Werner J Stiegler

    Bookmark   March 12, 2012 at 10:25PM
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Wax provides almost no protection and prevents adhesion of any other finish. And it IS slippery. I don't know why it would even be considered. Poly is tried and true long-term protection (years) on floors.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2012 at 12:35PM
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No way would I ever use wax as a finish for any floor or stair. Ever. (Unless you are a masochist!) Either use tung oil or poly. Tung is spot repairable. Poly is not but is tougher.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 8:03PM
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