Q: We just put new maple treads on our staircase. They where walked on before staining, and with the first coat of stain they spotted real bad in the middle where walked on. We are trying to sand it off, but have not had much luck getting deep enough. What might we do to blend these dark areas when restaining?
A: Sand as much of the stain off as you possibly can. A random orbit sander may be helpful with this. I’d go 60 then 80 grit. Then wet the slab with warm water (don’t soak it) and let it dry completely. This is called water popping and helps to get better, more even stain penetration. Then stain again. Apply, let sit several minutes and wipe off excess.
Maple can and does tend to go blotchy when stained. It is the nature of the wood. If you walked up the stairs with wet shoes that would definitely create a mottled look.
Also see our recommendation to hire a pro.