Finishing stairs

4 Jan 2012
Reaction score
United Kingdom
My first post on the forum, so please be patient!

I'm stripping and sanding my stairs, removing layers of paint and the original Victorian brown stain, probably intended to look like oak. The newell posts and bannister are oak and the risers and spindles are pine,and are coming along nicely. I'd like to finish them as close to their natural colours as possible. I know, the pine is yellow-ish and most folk would stain it, but I like the natural wood colours and the contrasts between them, and would like a finish that enhances this.

So what's the best way to finish? Oil, varnish, wax or some combination?

BTW, removing the last traces of that Victorian brown from the pine takes a lot of effort. Any tips for getting it off?
Sponsored Links
A lot of Victorian timber was shipped over from Canada and is very resinous so that may well be what the brown staining is. Does it smell like fresh pine when you put a heat gun on it? It would also bubble under heat. What also makes me suspicious is you cant remove wood stains you have to bleach them (tricky and can be nasty).

If you want to conserve the contrasts between different timbers go with clear varnishes, i quite often shellac (knotting solution) timber but that will effect the colour.
Also worth saying that you will/have encountered lead based paints during your stripping so worth taking PPE precautions and avoiding heat guns
Thanks for that. It's definitely stain and not resin. Bubbles with the heat gun but doesn't really blister like paint. Strip away the heated layer and there is a really tough film left.

I'm working with pleantly of ventilation and a mask when I need it. But someone has painted directly over the stain in the past, so if I get the paint layer loose I can remove masses with brute force and no heat.

DIYnot Local

Staff member

If you need to find a tradesperson to get your job done, please try our local search below, or if you are doing it yourself you can find suppliers local to you.

Select the supplier or trade you require, enter your location to begin your search.

Are you a trade or supplier? You can create your listing free at DIYnot Local

Sponsored Links