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Jaybird VuCE 10-28-2013 01:37 PM

Painting vs Staining Stair Treads
I am looking for input on staining vs. painting stair treads. We recently pulled off the carpet on our stairs. We are debating whether to paint our treads or strain them, i think we should stain and polyurethane (water based). Treads are southern yellow pine. I would paint risers white. If you have done paint, I would like to know how the stairs held up six months to a year after painting. I have only found reviews of people who painted stairs recently with no details of maintenance, slippery treads, etc.

bud16415 10-29-2013 10:40 AM

I personally would go with stain and finish if they look nice and will clean up. You can always go and paint them down the road. It’s much harder to go the other way. I have painted a lot of stairs in old homes that had damage or had been painted before or budget was small. The floor paints hold up well but show wear and tear. But you just clean them up and paint again when that time comes. Some people paint and then use a tread protector also.

nealtw 10-29-2013 03:51 PM

If you like the paint you can always clear coat over it.

CallMeVilla 10-29-2013 11:07 PM

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Your decision is a DESIGN choice, not a performance choice. Depending on the motif of your decoration and house style, you should choose accordingly.

Either way, stain and a good poly finish is the best option from a looks standpoint. You can go with a dark (espresso) stain if you want to pop the white ... or a "woodie" look using a lighter stain.

In both cases, a white painted riser is best.

DFBonnett 10-30-2013 12:33 PM

I did a job like that a couple of years back. Stain and varnish is the way to go. It doesn't show anywhere near the scuffing that paint will. I saw the stairs again recently while there for another reason and they still look great. Instead of a water based urethane, I'd use a solvent based marine varnish. It will be almost as durable as a solvent based urethane and will require much less prep when the time comes to recoat and the time WILL come to recoat.

CallMeVilla 10-30-2013 02:26 PM

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DFB is completely right. I use marine varnish all the time. Highly durable, particularly if you use multiple coats. I recently built several bamboo playwood table tops ... using marine varnish because they will be outdoors.

They came out really smashing. Here they are while drying.

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