Stain and finsh stairs AFTER or Before install?

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Old 10-12-16, 06:06 AM
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Stain and finsh stairs AFTER or Before install?

I ripped the old carpet off my stairs and want to redo them to match my hardwood floors. I plan to rip out and redo the risers using fresh wood, but for the treads, I'm going to go over the top of the existing treads with unfinished "retread" treads that have the lip hanging over the side. I'm still doing my research on how best to proceed, but my first question is should I stain and poly each piece BEFORE installing or should I install everything then go back and stain and poly everything? I'll be installing a landing as well.

Thanks for your advice.
 
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Old 10-12-16, 06:10 AM
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I always prefer to stain/poly the treads first! Besides being quicker/easier that means the stair case will only be closed for one drying/curing time [the final coat of poly]
 
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Old 10-12-16, 06:41 AM
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Hi, thanks for the reply.

I actually think it would be easier to install first and deal with the stain/poly mess all at once in one place rather than have all these separate pieces to deal with, plus I'd be sealing over the nail heads and seams. However, if I stain/poly FIRST, I can seal the edges as well as the faces of each piece so that's a nice positive.

Are you saying that, whether I stain/seal before or after install, that when it's done, I should go over the whole stairs one more time with a final coat of ploy?
 
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Old 10-12-16, 06:56 AM
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I'm with marksr on this one.
They call it stain for a reason.
I use gel stain for a more even finish.
 
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Old 10-12-16, 06:59 AM
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It's less work to sand, stain, poly, sand, wipe off dust and poly when you can set the pieces on a bench and lean each piece against the wall to dry. Once the parts are installed you need to putty the nail holes, sand, wipe and apply the final coat of poly.
 
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Old 10-12-16, 07:45 AM
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Understood. I'll do as you say. Thanks for the advice!
 
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Old 10-12-16, 07:56 AM
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It hasn't been explicitly said and I don't get the impression from your posts that you know this but multiple coats of poly are typically needed, most common is three coats. So, in this case, you would apply the first coat or two, install, and then apply the final coat in place.
 
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Old 10-12-16, 08:34 AM
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Another reason to prefinish....if you are living in the house and need to use the stairs you might have to do every other step in order to walk up and down.
Also, consider installing a stair runner....polyurethaned stairs can be slippery if you don't wear the proper footwear.
 
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