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Need help finishing stair treads

Posted by sandca (My Page) on
Sun, Aug 1, 10 at 14:59

I would like advice on the best finish for my construction grade fir treads on my staircase. The staircase has a simple black iron railing and I am having satin finish Ipe (Brazilian Walnut) hardwood installed throughout my first floor. The stringers and trim are painted white and I would be painting the risers white as well. Although we don't wear shoes in the house I have a very active 50 pound dog so I would like a finish that is easily maintained, non slippery and could be repaired periodically. Would I be better off just using a black/brown floor paint, tung oil with a stain added to it , waterlox, polyurethane or some other type of water or oil based coating? I figure I have nothing to lose but my time in trying to refinish the treads. If it doesn't work out I'll just cover them with broadloom carpet.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Need help finishing stair treads

First, construction lumber is a terrible choice for stair treads. The wood is much too soft and open grained to last under any traffic, even light stocking feet. The wood will splinter eventually, even under paint. Almost anything dropped on the wood will dent it and cause splinters feom the dent.

Now, to answer your question. Poly is almost impossible to spot repair. Any finish repair will mean recoating the entire tread. That is not really difficult on stair treads, however. Any finish will be absorbed into the wood so much, getting a working coating will be difficult. Reason, the wood is so soft, the fibers will swell and stick up. You would need to sand snooth. The next coat will also be absorbed about half as much. Several coats/sandings later you may have a workable coating. W#hich will quickly be degraded by the dogs feet.

I'd recommend the carpet now. Will save a potential splinter in someone's foot---including the dogs.

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