Thursday, 15 March 2012


I haven't given many updates on the staircase project in a while, I wrote this post the day after staining but never got around to sharing it, so here's the story of how my first ever staining attempt went (with a few updates):

A few Saturday mornings ago I got to work on the stairs.  I was on a mission and a strict time line so I was determined to get it done, even though Darryl offered for me to wait until he was done work.  But we didn't know how many more days his shift would go on for so I just couldn't wait!  First I vaccumed them up, then used a tack cloth to grab any other debris I might have missed.  This was my first ever attempt at staining any type of wood.  I know, not a good idea to test your staining abilities on something as major as your staircase! 

Here's how they were pre-stain:

The first coat made such an impression because it's such a drastic visual change - I couldn't stop walking into the hall to check them out. 

One boo boo I sort of made on purpose = you're supposed to put the stain on, let it sit for 5-15 minutes according to the instructions and then wipe the excess off. I started doing this on the first 5 upper steps but the cloth kept pulling funny and only wiping certain parts off, making it look super streaky. Sooooo I decided to put a thin coat on the rest and not wipe it off. Stop gasping! It's going to be okay, I promise! It just may take a few days for it to dry :S Sorry Darryl! I'm happy with how it looks after just the one coat, but Darryl says it'll look even better after another coat, so another coat it'll get. So Saturday night we camped out on the couch because even after more than 8 hours of dry-time, the stairs were (obviously) still tacky. Sorry Darryl! *Update: As the stain is oil based, even on day 2 the stairs were far from dry. We knew this was going to be a problem (well Darryl knew it from the get-go but I was in denial) It was too goopy and tacky and at the rate it was going, it was going to take weeks for it to soak in! And that was not an option as I was just days away from hosting the Baby Shower.

We couldn't get upstairs either because I stained every step, as opposed to alternating ones (again another on-purpose boo-boo) With the shower less than a week away, I didn't have time to double the time it would take to stain and varathane everything by doing every other step.

*Update, so on day two when I came to terms with my big on-purpose boo-boo, Darryl came to the rescue. We sacrificed the stairs and climbed to the top to start from square one. Somehow Darryl knew that if he started a new coat (while the old one was still quite tacky), that it would do something magical and take all the old gunk off, while doing a new PROPER coat!

He had those babies done in under an hour and I was all "ohhhhhhh that's how it's supposed to look!" That coat was dried before I knew it and I was all "oohhhhhhh that's how it's supposed to dry!" Woops!

Obviously I wouldn't recommend my on-purpose boo-boos to anyone....because they don't work!  Well, staining every step was fine - just remember to bring everything you need downstairs before you begin, toilettries, a change of clothes...But don't ever not wipe your stain off!!  *Update:  It turns out the reason I was having trouble wiping the stain off was because we had bought micro-fibre cloths.  So if you're about to stain your steps, do not use microfibre!  Just a regular rag or old t-shirt will do the trick.

Lesson Learned.  Darryl is now our official stainer and I am the painter. 
Next week I will have a complete "after" post about the stairs and I can't even wait to see the finished product.  It's already looking fab in my humble opinion and it's not even done yet! 

How did your first wood-staining experience go?  Any other tips to offer readers?  Any projects you'll be finishing up this weekend??

1 comment: