Can I use a gel stain that I have used on furniture to stain my stairs?

Q imported from our old site, Face Lift Floors:  I recently pulled wall to wall broadloom off my staircase, and want to refinish the hardwood. My main floors are oak strips. The stairs are a solid piece of wood, not strips, (I don’t know what wood it is, but have been told it is not oak) and the risers are painted. I will keep them painted.

There are various markings on the wood steps – about 4 inches on each side of the step is blackened. I don’t know if it was once stained darker, it doesn’t appear to be painted. I have used a chemical stripper, and I have been sanding with an electric hand sander, and by hand. The wood still does not look uniform.

Also, there are small nail holes from the various carpeting that was installed. Do I choose a wood putty to match the colour stain I want to end up with?

Also, can I use a Minwax-type gel stain that I have used on furniture, or do I need a special floor stain? And if I use an oil-based stain, can I then use a water-based polyurethane?

A: You can get wood putty in various colors, either in a jar or tube from most hardwood flooring retailers. I personally buy most of my supplies from Woodchuck Flooring on Nugget Ave. in Scarborough. They may have a color in the dura seal line of wood putty in jars. Less than $10.00 per jar. Could it be your treads are simply pine slabs?

I think you would be better off using an oil based stain, rather than the gel stain from Minwax. Better penetration. You could use a min wax stain (oil based). I have also used Benjamin Moore stains, and they can be tinted just about any color under the rainbow. I usually go to Cook’s Paint and Wallpaper on Danforth Ave., just east of Main Street, when I need to match a color exactly. These stains have a fairly strong odor, but are fairly easy to work with, dry fast, and have excellent coverage. You apply the stain, let it sit for a few minutes, no more than 5, and then wipe off the excess with a separate cloth. I have applied a water-based finish over these stains after one day, but it may be wise to give it 2 days to be safe. The main thing is that you don’t want to leave the excessive stain on the surface of the wood. And it has to be totally dry before you apply the water-based urethane. Otherwise, there should be no problem at all. I hope that helps.

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