This article outlines the basics of caring for wooden stairs. Wooden stairs come in all shapes and sizes, so there’s no one tool or practice to use everywhere. This guide breaks down the steps in a basic way as one approach to care-taking these natural wonders of strength and beauty. Below are the routine tasks to help you maintain your wooden stairs.
Sanding, oiling and re-oiling the steps initially is important. You’ll want to sand the treads and risers each with a 200-grit sandpaper, followed by 400 grit paper and then wipe down with mineral spirits. This will give you an even surface for oiling as well as make this exotic wood look like new again.
After the wood is cleaned of dust, wipe it down with mineral spirits and sand it lightly. This will give you a clean surface to paint on.
Then use a latex wood finish such as Minwax Polycrylic or Minwax High Performance Varnish to protect the surface. These products are water based, easy to apply and mildew resistant. You should always let this finish dry for at least 4 days before oiling or varnishing.
Once these steps have been taken, then you can get a little creative. Here are some more tips for maintaining your stairs:
Use an extra-fine-haired brush to clean up the stair surfaces where people put their shoes, walk their dogs and sit on. This will help prevent flat spots when oiling.
Dry the surface before you pour on oil as it will add another level of protection.
You can also add streaks of color by dabbing the stain on with a rag or toothbrush or just go for it with a roller or sprayer. Try to eliminate drips because they won’t look good when finished and be sure to cover all areas that are going to be touched by hands, shoes and pets.
The signs of wear on a wooden stair tread are easy to notice. These steps need to be sanded more often than the risers. Use the same process as outlined above, but only sand with 200 grit paper and then follow up with 400 grit paper without using any cleaning product on the surface. This will only leave a slight film of mineral spirits that’s easily wiped off.