What's the best clear finish for stairs?


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Old 07-29-23, 10:04 PM
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What's the best clear finish for stairs?

The treads and risers are all oil base stained, and as you can see in the riser's image, they match the floors on the main level. So, now it's time to coat with a satin finish. Being old school, I've always felt oil/oil is best, but what do I know \_(ツ)_/

The stairs go down to the basement so they are not subject to heavy traffic besides dogs. I usually use a Polyurethane, so interested in opinions about alternatives or specifics while using the best.

Thanks for your time!



 

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07-31-23, 07:05 PM
stickshift
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220 grit sandpaper tends to be a better choice, as it is less likely to leave behind pieces which are difficult to remove.
 
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Old 07-30-23, 03:35 AM
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I'm old school; and still think oil base is the best although waterborne finishes have come a long ways.
You'll find the better finishes at your local flooring store as opposed to a big box or paint store. I've gotten decent results using Minwax oil base poly. The main reason I've used it is the fact that I didn't have to go out of my way to purchase it.

In the future if you stain/poly the hardwood before installation it will be quicker/easier plus you'd only tie up the stairway for one drying cycle.
 
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Old 07-30-23, 08:34 AM
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Thanks for the tip. I am doing all the finishing except the final 2-3 coats of poly before installation, the other shot was just after I fit them all.
 
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Old 07-30-23, 08:59 AM
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I used Minwax oil based poly on our wood stairs and it has done VERY well. They hardly show any wear. Note: there are only two adults and two cats with claws in our household so your mileage may vary.

If I recall correctly I put on 4 or 5 coats using a foam roller back brushing each coat.
 
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Old 07-30-23, 10:45 AM
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I generally stain [or not] and then apply 2 coats of poly sanding between coats before the carpenter installs them. I then putty the nail holes, sand and remove the sanding dust before applying the final coat of poly. I usually spray the first 2 coats and brush the final coat.
 
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Old 07-31-23, 04:02 PM
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I ended up using Ultra Polyurethane. 3 coats on treads and risers. Next up installation and 2 more coats that I use steel wool in between coats.
 
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Old 07-31-23, 05:11 PM
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Don't know what ultra is but don't use steel wool with waterborne polys. Any fibers left will rust.
 
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Old 07-31-23, 05:31 PM
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It's oil based!
 
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Old 07-31-23, 07:05 PM
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220 grit sandpaper tends to be a better choice, as it is less likely to leave behind pieces which are difficult to remove.
 
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