How to Finish Hardwood Stair Treads

How to Finish Hardwood Stair Treads

Learn how to finish hardwood stair treads with this simple guide. Find out the best finishes, how many coats of polyurethane to use, and if you should caulk your stairs.
Refinish Stair Treads Without Sanding Reading How to Finish Hardwood Stair Treads 3 minutes Next Stair Tread Finishing Options

Finishing hardwood stair treads is a great way to protect your stairs and make them look amazing. 

But are you wondering how to finish hardwood stair treads? 

To finish hardwood stair treads, sand them smooth, apply a few coats of clear polyurethane for protection, and let each coat dry completely before using the stairs. 

This simple process makes your stairs look great and last longer. 

Our carpet stair treads also look great on hardwood stairs. The combo creates a beautiful style. 

In this guide, we'll go through the steps to get your hardwood stairs looking their best. 

Should I Caulk Hardwood Stairs?     

Caulking hardwood stairs can help fill in gaps and prevent dust and dirt from getting trapped. 

Use a clear or wood-colored caulk to fill in the spaces between the treads and the risers. 

What to Seal Stair Treads With 

Choosing the best finish for your hardwood stairs depends on your needs. 

Options include stain, varnish, and just going straight to sealing, or finishing, them.

We recommend that you seal regardless, as the final step. 

Polyurethane is a clear, durable finish that protects the wood from scratches and wear. 

It comes in three types: glossy, semi-gloss, and satin. 

  • Glossy Finish: Gives a shiny look and is very easy to clean. However, it can show scratches and dirt more easily.
  • Semi-Gloss Finish: Offers a bit of shine but hides scratches better than a glossy finish.
  • Satin Finish: Has a more natural look and is great for hiding imperfections and scratches. 

For a combination of beauty and durability, semi-gloss and satin finishes are often the best choices. They provide a good balance between appearance and practicality. 

How to Apply Polyurethane on Stairs  

To seal your stair treads, use a clear polyurethane sealer. 

This will protect the wood and make it last longer. 

Make sure to apply the sealer in a well-ventilated area to avoid inhaling any fumes. 

Now do this:

  1. Clean and Sand: Make sure the stairs are clean and smooth. Sand the treads to remove any old finish or rough spots.
  2. Apply the First Coat: Use a brush or roller to apply the first coat of polyurethane. Let it dry completely before adding more coats.
  3. Sand Between Coats: Lightly sand the surface between coats to ensure a smooth finish.
  4. How Many Coats of Polyurethane on Stairs?: Apply at least three coats of polyurethane for the best protection. Make sure each coat is dry before applying the next one. 

Final Steps   

After applying the last coat of polyurethane, let your stairs dry completely. 

This can take up to 24 hours. Once dry, your stairs will be ready to use and will look beautiful for years to come. 

To Sum It Up 

Finishing hardwood stair treads adds durability and style to your stairs. 

By choosing the right finish, sealing the wood properly, and applying multiple coats of polyurethane, you can make your stairs look great and last longer.

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