Strip or sand oak stairs

Q: I have relatively new oak stairs that were finished very poorly by the contractor who built the home. 6 years later, the poly is still in good shape mechanically, but I would like to improve the cosmetics. Since this a small but time consuming job, I was going to put in the labor myself when the family is away at the lake this summer. I plan to simply remove the small strips of decorative molding under each tread and re-install new as refinishing these pieces is not worth the hassle. Continue reading Strip or sand oak stairs

Winding staircase

Q: How do I finish off the stairway where it meets the hardwood? Do I cut a bull nose or some type of custom wood? Also, How do I do curved stairs with hardwood planks? Do I have to taper each piece or just the last few? Continue reading Winding staircase

Oil or water to match

Q: We just had the floors redone using an oil based polyurethane and I’m trying to get the stairs to match. The problem is the stairs were originally done with a water based polyurethane. Do I need to completely sand down the floors or can I apply the oil based polyurethane over the existing water based polyurethane? Continue reading Oil or water to match

Pine stair tread

Q: We recently removed the carpeting on one of our circa 1970 open stair case treads to find a pine stair tread. We love the look of the wood but wonder if pine is a good material, it seems a bit soft for stairs. Each tread will need much refinishing due to staple and nail holes from the carpeting. Would it be a better idea to “wrap” each tread in a hardwood? Continue reading Pine stair tread

Open-backed stairs

Q: My home is split level with open-backed stairs (treads but no risers). The treads are 2x Douglas Fir and are presently wrapped by carpeting. The stringers are also Douglas Fir and have been painted dark brown. Whoever painted the stringers got paint on the top of the treads where they intersect the stringers. I am re-flooring the home with Santos Mahogany and need to get the carpeting off the treads for aesthetic reasons. Continue reading Open-backed stairs