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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Sacramento CA
    Posts
    2

    Default Best finish for wood stairs

    I am building and finishing a red oak stairway. The stairs will get lots of wear from dogs and people. What do you think is the best finishing material. I prefer to keep a natural color but if there is some ambering that is ok. I am looking for something that looks good and is very durable.
    thanks for your suggestions

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    14

    Default Re: Best finish for wood stairs

    There is no finish, that I've ever seen, that will stand up to dogs. Even factory applied finishes with aluminum oxide will show wear from dogs pretty quickly. All of the finished treads we've done have been 3-4 coats of solvent based polyurethane. Some people prefer water borne products, we don't.

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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Summit, New Jersey
    Posts
    525

    Default Re: Best finish for wood stairs

    If it's not too late, I would switch to white oak. It's a much superior wood, harder, denser, etc.
    Visit www.peercon.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    The People's Republic of Minnesota
    Posts
    1,190

    Default Re: Best finish for wood stairs

    A carpet runner.
    there is ALWAYS a better way waiting to be discovered-
    yfc

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    198

    Default Re: Best finish for wood stairs

    Quote Originally Posted by Ottoman View Post
    A carpet runner.
    That'd be my first choice too.

    The hardwood treads I put in usually get an oil-based sealer to bring out the color, then a good waterborne floor finish, such as Bona Traffic or the like. But, as was mentioned, no finish that I know of will stand up to dogs.

    Mike

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Sacramento CA
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Best finish for wood stairs

    Thank you to everybody about the problems with dogs on wood flooring. Unfortunately we are unable to use carpet because of health considerations.

    Thank you especially to Mike for giving me a specific products. Our 80 years old downstairs oak flooring shows major dog wear (and other damage) and the stairs will eventually also have lots of wear. I just want to give them the best protection possible to postpone the inevitable refinishing as long as possible.

    If any one has a specific recommendation for a good oil-based sealer for red oak (no stain), I would greatly appreciate it.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    San Diego (Northern Mexico)
    Posts
    3,976

    Default Re: Best finish for wood stairs

    Tom

    Support your country always, support your government only when they deserve it! - Mark Twain
    This fall, fire them all, DON'T RE-ELECT ANYONE!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Mt Prospect, IL
    Posts
    532

    Default Re: Best finish for wood stairs

    I would suggest a product by Bona Kemi - "Traffic"
    It is a waterborne two part/ catylized polyurethane. I have it in my house and on my stairs. It is easy to mix up and apply, flows out nice. You can re-coat in 2 - 3 hours. Get 3 coats on there, around me about $90/gallon.

    http://www.bonakemi.com/productspecs/pdf/traffic.pdf

    I have used StreetShoe by Basic Coatings, in my opinion not nearly as durable.

    Synteko makes a tought product, a solvent based urethane, but strong odor, and if you are not experienced in applying it, don't experiment on a customer.

    http://www.synteko.com/products.asp
    Robert

    DUE TO CURRENT FINANCIAL RESTRAINTS, THE LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL WILL BE TURNED OFF UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE…..

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    491

    Default Re: Best finish for wood stairs

    Kubbie,

    I have experience with Synteko in new construction. It is very tough, but if it is an existing home then I would leave for vacation while it cured. You could not stay in the house.

    I am going to try the "traffic" you and Mike suggest on my own stair project then.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Boise, Idaho
    Posts
    558

    Default Re: Best finish for wood stairs

    As far as bang for the buck, ease of application, durability and a few other positive traits thrown in, it is hard to beat oil-based polyurethane.

    Gloss poly is generally used for all but the final coat. There is nothing in it that can settle out so there's no need to mix it other than thinning of the first coat. If the first coat isn't thinned a bit, there is a higher probability some sections won't absorb as evenly as it should and it won't look right. I've always thinned the first coat 25% with mineral spirits.

    Poly on stairs can be slick, especially in socks, so I'd suggest a little fine sand sprinkled on top of the first full strength coat. You can get a small box of the stuff labled for just that purpose, or use any number of other fine sands, just watch the color. Sand between coats takes on a new meaning!

    Stir your last coat if it's anything but gloss since the stuff that dulls the finish settles out.

    You'll see little difference between the more popular manufacturers. Cheap ol' Minwax always scores high on comparison tests. I've always used Varithane, Minwax, or Dura Seal (sherwin williams) and probably couldn't tell the difference between them before, during or after application. Anthing left over from the floors is used on trim or other wood needing a poly finish.

    If I were to say nothing else it would be that you should get comfortable with a basic no frills poly before getting into anything more exotic.

    Almost forgot to mention sanding sealers. They aren't needed with poly since it will stick just fine to the bare wood, but can help to fill the grain if that's the look you're after.

    Good luck

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Sydney Australia
    Posts
    214

    Default Re: Best finish for wood stairs

    bona traffic but put on 3 coats of traffic plus one coat sealer or synteko claasic just put three coats but synteko stinks bad as. classic gives a nice film / thickness as the coats go on. there is no sealer for classic.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Best finish for wood stairs

    Has anyone used system three, or envirotex clear epoxy products for filling and finishing solid slab stair treads?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Posts
    263

    Default Re: Best finish for wood stairs

    You might consider a more user-friendly approach by applying finish to the balustrade as "bright-work" on a yacht, but simply oil the treads and call it done.

    Any oil finish will stabilize the wood but will not show topical finish scratches since there is no top finish coating. Neither will it interfere with the natural, non-slip properties of unfinished oak. Allow the treads to naturally wear and even mar over the years, but re-oil periodically to maintain some attractive sheen.

    You should never need to replace solid treads in your lifetime and can easily maintain them without stripping or serious (mechanized) floor sanding. I've seen oak treads in 100 yr old schools and other public buildings that were wonderfully worn and still looking great. The cleaning and re-oiling of the steps can even be attended to by the janitorial service.
    Last edited by Baldwin; 08-30-2013 at 02:11 PM.

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