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Old 03-12-2012, 12:42 PM   #1
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Staining new Oak Staircase! Help!


Hi everyone. I am new to this forum and would really appreciate your expert advice.
I would like to paint/stain the oak staircase that I have in my new house (Dark treads and handrail, white rises and pickets). It is completely unfinished. In order to get it painted and stained from the builder, I have to pitch out alot of money. I have seen many people on the internet, DIYing their staircase. I would really like to do it myself, but am unsure about the process and/or technique. Do I have to sand it, even though it is already unfinished, and completely naked?
Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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Old 03-12-2012, 03:59 PM   #2
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Staining new Oak Staircase! Help!


Rose, firstly, all your staining and clear coating must be done prior to any painting.
I would use a light paper, 150,180, or such and go over all stain areas with it, completely. No pressure, let the paper do the work. You're looking to sand out any burrs, splinters, pencil marks, etc. Sand with the grain at all times and avoid sanding heavily in small areas. If you concentrate too heavily on one spot, you might create a noticeable spot when the stain goes on. You have to evenly disburse your effort, in other words, a whole board might have to take a heavy sanding to bring it all down to the level required to remove a small glitch. A heavy sanding alters the grain a bit, differing from its surroundings.
Vacuum up all the dust thoroughly. You're ready to stain.
I would use an oil stain applied with a nylon brush, nylon my preference. Practice on scraps first. See if you like it brushed on and left alone, or brushed on and ragged off after soaking in for a bit. I've done it both ways. Brushing and leaving it alone requires some skill in application, but it can be done. Remember, a little bit of stain travels a long way, especially on a hardwood. Most times I don't dip my brush deeper than a quarter inch/half inch. Practice, even if you have to buy some oak stock.
After the stain has fully dried, you can clear coat. NO SANDING AFTER STAINING. After your first coat of clear you can putty any holes with the appropriate putty to match the stain, sold next to the stain. Apply two more coats of clear with a fine sanding between first and second, using 220.
Now you're ready to paint. Or, you can paint between the second and third coats of clear if you think you might damage the final clear, then apply your final coat of clear.

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Old 03-12-2012, 05:40 PM   #3
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Staining new Oak Staircase! Help!


Thank you so much for the detailed instructions. I truly appreciate it.
Any suggestions regarding the stain products. I have read in several posts not to go with the stains sold at homedepot or lowes, and to use the products professionals use, but they fail to mention the name.
Hopefully, you can shed some light on it.
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Old 03-12-2012, 05:54 PM   #4
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I don't find anything wrong with Minwax products and they are sold at both of the big box stores.

One step that was missed, vacuum and then Tack Rag and then tack rag again.

You will want to apply a minimum of poly urethan on those stairs as well, I would suggest a satin finish applied with lambs wool applicator. Light scufffing between applications with 00 or finer steel wool and tack rag, tack rag, tack rag.

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Old 03-12-2012, 05:58 PM   #5
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whats a tack rag? sorry for the newb question :S
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Old 03-12-2012, 06:02 PM   #6
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Its a cloth treated with an sticky substance that the sanding dust will adhere to. Sold at any paint supply store including those ones that every one goes to but hates to recommend, the apron and vest stores.

Get lots, you can never be clean enough when applying clear.

http://www.amazon.com/12-Piece-Tack-...1593395&sr=8-4

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Old 03-12-2012, 06:36 PM   #7
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haha!
thanks for the advice...lets just hope I do this and it turns out right..
I will definitely post the pics..
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Old 03-12-2012, 08:55 PM   #8
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Staining new Oak Staircase! Help!


Minwax is a good product just stay away from the Minwax Polyshade, that stuff will make the biggest mess you ever saw.
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Old 03-13-2012, 04:24 AM   #9
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Staining new Oak Staircase! Help!


If you use a tack rag, don't rub it on the surface, else you'll transfer the "sticky stuff" to the wood surface. Unfold the cloth to a sheet, ball it up and just glide it across the surface lightly touching. Use the cloth on the surface just prior to applying the finish, don't tack everything in advance, but as you go along. They're a PIA to use, but they're effective. Store them after opening in a jar or ziplock bag to prevent drying out.
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Old 03-13-2012, 09:20 AM   #10
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Ohh my goodness..so many things to keep in mind..
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Old 03-13-2012, 09:46 AM   #11
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Yes, but the light at the end of the tunnel is the self satisfaction of being able to look at the completed project and know you both learned a bunch and you did it yourself.

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Old 03-13-2012, 11:02 AM   #12
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you are absolutely right!
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Old 03-13-2012, 11:52 AM   #13
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Staining new Oak Staircase! Help!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jackofall1 View Post
I don't find anything wrong with Minwax products and they are sold at both of the big box stores.

One step that was missed, vacuum and then Tack Rag and then tack rag again.

You will want to apply a minimum of poly urethan on those stairs as well, I would suggest a satin finish applied with lambs wool applicator. Light scufffing between applications with 00 or finer steel wool and tack rag, tack rag, tack rag.

Mark
Agree to the sanding between coats, but do not use steel wool if you are going to use a water based finish. Use a scotch-bright pad if using water based products.
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Old 03-13-2012, 12:06 PM   #14
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Staining new Oak Staircase! Help!


Quote:
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Agree to the sanding between coats, but do not use steel wool if you are going to use a water based finish. Use a scotch-bright pad if using water based products.
Yes I agee, if using water based products, but I don't and would not use water based poly, just haven't seen as nice a finish out of it and its more touchy as far as getting a quality finish.

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Old 03-13-2012, 12:11 PM   #15
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Staining new Oak Staircase! Help!


One suggestion. Consider your lifestyle and your decor...if you have kids, pets, etc...and then consider staining the risers as well as the treads.

White risers are magnets for scuff marks from shoes and generally show every bit of dirt on them or every bit of pet hair in front of them.

Just something to think about before you hit the point of no return

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