My family was gone much of the week so I thought I would take advantage of both the weather – warm enough to open windows yet cool enough not to be uncomfortable – and their absence to finally finally finally get going on finishing my stairs. You know – from when I pulled up the carpet over a year ago and then stripped them down to the bare wood.
My plan was this: I would dust them off, apply wood conditioner, apply stain, then seal them. (I did every other step so that I could still get up and down the stairs in the meantime.) I wasn’t sure if I would be able to get *all* of the steps done while they were away but I had hopes.
I applied the liquid stain according to the directions and was fairly disappointed with the results. Not only do the treads of the stairs themselves have different grain patterns but they were accepting the stain color differently as well. Some treats looked pretty good but others were blotchy. I can accept and embrace a “rustic” look but this just look flat out bad. I tried to work with it to get the coverage more even but the coverage wasn’t even and the color wasn’t what I wanted.
Then I decided that maybe what I needed to try was a gel stain. These sorts of stains work better on wood like pine (which I suspect many of my treads are made of) because they don’t really soak in – they pretty much just stay on top. The directions said to apply, wait a few minutes and then wipe off the excess.
The only problem with following the instructions in this case was that nothing seemed to be staying on the treads – it was all wiping off. I was getting no where in a hurry.
I was just about to resign myself to just painting the treads when I decided to give it one last try. I applied the gel stain to the look I wanted – fairly thick, but still thin enough to see some of the wood grain. I wiped it on and then lightly feathered it with a clean, dry stain pad to get off any excess and to blend any wiping marks. Then instead of wiping any of it off, I just left it there to dry.
I applied it on Tuesday night and hoped that it would be dry by the time the troops came home on Thursday afternoon. It was still sticky 24 hours later. I had opened the windows because of the fumes and it had been cool and rainy so the next day I turned on the heater while I was at work to try and encourage the drying process. Still a bit sticky. I then put a couple of fans in the stairwell to try and hurry things along.
It is Friday afternoon and they are finally *mostly* dry. The ones closest to the fans are the closest to being dry, the ones in the middle are still a titch sticky.
(I haven’t taken any pictures yet because I’m still not confident that I won’t end up stripping them and starting over with paint!)
But that isn’t the end of the story of course – not only do I have to apply the polyurethane sealant coating to these steps but I have to start the process over with the ones that I skipped.
Now that I have started I might perhaps maybe finish this before it is too cold to open the windows for ventilation but the way the weather is acting it will be a close thing!
A more successful project was fixing my garage door – my husband backed into it a couple of months ago and knocked one of the wheels off the track. I got it back on. Yay me