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Old 01-11-2009, 05:19 PM   #1
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Default Staining new maple stairs

I am looking at 2 new maple staircases in a residential home.
The client wants to stain them a dark brown. From what I have read, Maple requires a pre-stain conditioner, and even then it might be difficult to acheive a darker colour, and a consistent look.
After 2 coats of conditioner, I plan on 2 coats of stain, and 3 coats of clear coat (sanding in between).
Has anyone had any experience with staining actual steps? I have done several railings/trim/rungs etc. Shy of completely doing every second step and then doing the rest once my last clear coat has dried, do I have any options? What types of products do people prefer for interior staining?
Thanks in advance!


Last edited by Canadian Painter; 01-11-2009 at 05:21 PM.. Reason: typo
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Old 01-11-2009, 07:04 PM   #2
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I had to stain a set of maples charcoal last year to match a prefinished floor. Not easy. If you have to match to something you should get a extra tread to work with. Very tight grain and while conditioner will help it wont pop the grain enough for a dark stain. A dye might be needed.

VP is our wood stain expert here....hopefully he chimes in ....He loves wood.


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Old 01-11-2009, 08:04 PM   #3
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Try an alcohol based dye after wood conditioning it first. I've used the Mohawk dyes. Mixed, thinned, and then sprayed on with a cup gun. Make sure you have a good pattern so it doesnt stripe on you. Then go ahead and stain with a wiping stain. I use SW BAC. I use this method on cabinets and furniture and even maple floors. I also charge like hell for it too!
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Old 01-12-2009, 07:53 AM   #4
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Here, we & cabinet finishers have started to mist maple with H2O prior to spraying alcohol stain. Has the same effect as the conditioners. Mist, let it dry for an hour then stain. Let it sit over night seal it then shade if you need. Top with a few coats of lacquer.

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Old 01-12-2009, 08:06 AM   #5
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The other challenge will be uv light changing your stain color. Just something to think about. Dye is the only way to go.
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Old 01-12-2009, 08:24 PM   #6
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Is dye application the same as a stain?
I also not have a sprayer, so that isn't an option.
Can anyone provide any information on the process of staining a staircase?
I attached a couple of pictures in the 'my photos' section...
The first set of stairs is open to below, so the undersides will need to be done as well.

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Old 01-12-2009, 10:17 PM   #7
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Dyes can be formulated as a wiping stain, although I have only used them as a spray stain. You will probably lose some of the evenness if you use a wiping version, but should still be able to get the maple dark since the particle size is so much smaller on a dye stain compared to a pigment stain (think on the order of brick vs. Empire State Building).

You should be able to do the upper stairway completely and then do the lower stairway. If you are not spraying, use an oil finish that stays open longer to allow workability and finish the tops first so if there is any overlap into tacky finish it is on the bottom or better yet work with a partner and have one person work above and one work below so you can work down the stairs efficiently. You could also finish the stringers and treads separately if needed.
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Old 01-13-2009, 06:55 AM   #8
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I hate it when they remove the plastic from the spindles!!

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Old 01-13-2009, 07:58 AM   #9
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I hate it when they install all the metal spindles before the finishing is done! They can easily slip them in after if they are using some kind of collar where they insert.
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Old 01-13-2009, 11:06 AM   #10
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My plan is to be working on the upper parts of the stairs, with someone working on the bottoms at the same time.
My concern is actually walking on the stairs to do the 2nd coat of stain (if necessary) if I do them all in one go. Will this be asking for trouble, or will I have to do every second one in it's entirety before moving on to the rest? The HO is quite flexible, but I am sure its more convenient for them if they can actually get up and down the stairs in the evenings.
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Old 01-13-2009, 12:21 PM   #11
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Depends on what kind of stain that you use. The dye stains usually have alcohol or acetone as the solvent, so they dry fast and if you are not wearing shoes and maybe use a soft cloth under your feet/knees, I think you could be fine. You could do multiple coats on a couple steps and then move down, I would think (I have only used the spray version of the dye stains however, and multiple passes are easierwith that approach.

I would really not feel comfortable having anyone but a painter being on the steps until there is a coat of finish on them. No one will be as careful as you are to make sure that the steps are not scuffed, scratched, dinged, smudged, etc.

If the homeowners need to get up and down, then I would do the every other step I think unless you can stain and get finish on in one day and have it be dry enough to walk on in the evening.
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Old 01-23-2009, 05:47 PM   #12
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Any progress on the stairs??

We used a aniline dye stain today for the first time, wow what a product I will never use anything on maple again. We had a detailed trim pc for cabinets that was back ordered so it came unfinished and we had to match it to the cabinets. That wasn't the issue it was how to get the stain to penetrate in all the cracks and crevices..

We use a cheap brush and brushed it on and made sure it cover everywhere and then it did its thing, soaked in and even out everything..
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Old 01-23-2009, 08:41 PM   #13
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Why 2 coats of conditioner? I always thought you should not let the conditioner dry prior to stain.
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Old 01-23-2009, 08:49 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roadog View Post
Why 2 coats of conditioner? I always thought you should not let the conditioner dry prior to stain.

I had let conditioners dry on maple and birch to allow an even flow of conventional stains look good on those types of wood.
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Old 02-21-2009, 02:09 PM   #15
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Dark brown? How dark? There is no way I would ever put a conditioner on maple for a dark color... especially since you are talking 2 coats of stain. You are working against yourself and the product.

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