Q: I recently had a new addition with hardwood stairs going to the second floor. The stairs are oak. We had people come in and sand the stairs and then put poly on them. Then 1/2 of the first step turned black after it was stained. My contractor then sanded it back down to the wood and then put a wood bleach on it. After the wood bleach he sanded again then put 2 coats of poly on it. My problem now is 1/2 the stair is too light.
Is there something else that can be done to make the stair tread bleached too light match the rest of the stairs? Should he sand off the poly and try putting the stain down on the bleached wood? Or will it go back to black again?
A: It sounds like a large mineral streak in that one oak slab. The stairs weren’t stained though. Just sanded and finished. I don’t think there is a thing you can do with this one except change the tread if it bothers you. I have had at least 2 stair cases I’ve stained and finished in the past and in both cases 2 of the treads were lighter than all the others. There wasn’t a thing I could do to change it. It was just the nature of those particular slabs. You never know if you are getting heart wood or sap wood, both of which are different coloration and density.