Fixing uneven stain job on maple stairs

Q: We purchased a brand new home from a builder and paid for our stairs to be upgraded to maple. They did a butcher job prior to us moving in and now are trying to fix our stairs as they were not stained evenly, had footprints on each step, and some parts were darker than others.

They were rushing to get our home ready in time and did not do a good job at all. The builder has promised to strip the stairs and re-stain.

Because they are maple, apparently not easy to re-do, they told me they want to use a gel to remove the current stain. How safe is this gel? Can I sleep in the home while this is being used? When they stain afterwards, how long before you can walk on the steps? How long before it is safe to be in the home?

A: I assume the gel is a chemical stripper. I doubt this will have any effect on you.

Thankfully there are fast drying, low voc stains available now such as Dura Seal and Poloplaz. There is very little odour at all from the Poloplaz ultra low voc stains.

Maple is a difficult wood to stain. It tends to appear blotchy because of the wide range of hardness with the wood. However this doesn’t allow for foot prints.

Follow-up: Thank you so much for your reply. Is there anything I should ask them to do that you recommend?

A: After the wood is prepared they will likely get a better, deeper and more even color if they water pop the wood first. That means to simply wet the surface of the wood to open the grain. Let it totally dry and then stain.

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