Stain has chipped in multiple spots

Q: From May 21, 2018 question – local builder who did our stain job on stairwell saying they did a good job. Stain has chipped all over the first year (only socked feet walk on) and original stained tried to do “touch ups” but the painters tape that he put down is now pulling off huge chunks of stain.

I’ve seen some other sites that say never use painters tape on stained wood. I think, like you said, if done properly it should not pull it off.

A: Well, this is unfortunate.  From your comments I have to wonder how the tape could pull off the stain.  Unless the stain was mixed with the finish and brushed on the stain is always applied first so that it penetrates the wood rather than simply sitting on the wood surface.  You can’t just pull off the stain.  It is part of the wood surface, unless it was simply mixed with the varnish, in which case it is a component of the finish itself and not part of the wood. That would mean they cheated on the staining.

This is why I don’t recommend mixing stain and floor finish together: if you scratch the finish you also will scratch the stain possibly revealing the light wood colour beneath.

Follow-up: Yes that’s what we were thinking. The treads were originally stained to match the engineered wood floor but was off (too orange). So the painter had us come in one day (before move in) to customize it to our liking. He brushed some over the top to “show us” what it would look like. I’m not really sure what his steps are after that. I know he didn’t sand them back down to the original wood. Maybe light sanding to then add the stained coat. But it looked sloppy. Hairs and dirt/dust bumps in the final finish. 

(Pictures were included.)

This is the area where he tried to “touch up” the chips. He put tape on either side and let it sit for a day. Realized it didn’t look right and once he pulled the tape up the huge clump came off. He then tried to “sand out” a larger section and blend it in but “that didn’t work either” so he just left a coat or darker stain on top. So it looks way worse than he intended. 

We have stain chipping on multiple treads, maybe 8 of 14 total. That was all in the first year of ownership. Painters Tape was placed on a couple other steps and yes it pulled up there too. I just think even the attempts to repair are not the smartest choice. We are discussing with the builder about redoing ALL the treads but he is claiming they did a good job. The painter previously admitted it shouldn’t be doing this.  

A: As you can see, this isn’t the best or proper way to stain wood.  Lots of debris in the finish is just sloppy work.

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