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How to restore a wooden staircase?

How to restore a wooden staircase? Stéphanie Landry Poirier

Monday, 22 March 2021

Feel discouraged at the sight of your staircase? Time has left its mark, and something’s got to be done.

Many feel overwhelmed or simply don't know what to do about a staircase that’s seen better days. Don't panic – some simple, easy solutions can help you do the job yourself!

Let's take a look at different options, from the simple to the more complicated.

  1. Your stairs have some superficial scratches, but you’d like to give them a new shine.

First, clean the surface of the stairs with a degreasing cleaner to remove any built-up dirt. This will also facilitate sanding.

Then, simply remove the existing varnish with a sander and 120 grit sandpaper. An electric sander is recommended to make the job easier. But hard to reach corners and edges are better done by hand.

Once the varnish is removed, vacuum and clean the surface thoroughly with a damp cloth. Then apply 2 coats of varnish following the manufacturer's instructions.

  1. You want to maintain the colour of your staircase, but all varnish is gone from the center of the steps, which has blackened over time.

In this case, you need to sand the blackened section and remove the sand dust with a damp cloth.

Dyes are available on the market to match the colour of the newly sanded section to the rest of the steps.  Finitec has a product specially designed for this type of restoration. You’ll find it under Age-Tech.

A bit like a stain, the product is applied with a cloth, brush or stain applicator. Don’t pour it directly onto the wood and remove the excess with a damp cloth. Let dry 5 to 10 minutes between applications. Repeat the application until the desired colour is obtained.

Once dry, cover it with a good quality varnish.


  1. To change the colour of your stairs, there are 2 options:
  • A varnish-based floor paint for superior resistance. In this case, simply follow the steps in the first section. The surface is stripped and cleaned, and 2 coats of DESIGN paint are applied. Then 1 or 2 additional coats of varnish are applied to protect the colour pigment and for optimal resistance.
  • A water-based stain to preserve the wood pigment. Here, the staircase must actually be restored to bare wood. You can either sand or use a remover. Once the staircase is bare, apply the desired colour following the manufacturer's instructions. When the stain work is completed and dry, apply 3 to 4 coats of varnish for a perfect finish.

There are many products to choose from on the market. The following characteristics are worth considering:

  • Water-based product
  • Easy to apply (ideally self-leveling and applied with a roller)
  • Low odour to avoid headaches
  • Made in Quebec
  • Fast-drying so you can complete your project in a single day
  • Offers superior resistance since stairs are a high-traffic area
  • Can be applied over old water-based or oil-based varnish to avoid compatibility issues

Interested in Finitec products? To discover the complete range for do-it-yourself stair renovation, click here: https://www.finitec-inc.com/en/finishing/

That's it! 1-2-3 you’re ready to start your project.

For more information, contact us by phone at 888-838-4449, by email at service@finitec-inc.com or via our Facebook page (@finiteccanada)