Wood Stain Only? No Finish?

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Q: I just finished installing new oak treads on my staircase. I love the color and sheen that they currently have, but I only stained them. I did not poly. Is that an essential step? What will happen to my beautiful stairs if I don’t finish them? Is it okay if they have wood stain only?

A: Well, there is nothing to protect the stain, unless the stain you used has polyurethane resin in it. If you want to protect the stain but have it appear as if there is little or nothing on it, then apply 1 coat of finish. There are finishes that are essentially ‘super matte’ made by companies such as Poloplaz or Bona Kemi which are so flat you can hardly detect the finish when dry. That is one option.

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