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what product should i use on new wooden stairs to get the best protective seal?

just installed new interior stairs.  treads are white northern pine and they are ready for stain.  I am looking for the best product to coat them with that will stand the test of footwear and dogs.  I dont want a high gloss, just something that doesnt scratch after the first step.  we tried minwax high build on one tread, put three coats on and it peels right off like sticky glue even after sitting for 3 days.  need something more durable.

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Posted 2013-08-22T13:47:27+0000  by tnile1477 tnile1477
 

DIY'er here with 3 or 4 decades of experience refinishing wood furniture.

First of all, the fact that three coats of anything peeled right off tells me that the surface was not completely clean. Even new, bare wood can accumulate surface dirt and oils from being stored and handled over time before you even purchase it. I would suggest wiping all the wood down really well with mineral spirits before applying anything to it.

Northern pine is a soft wood that is easily nicked, scratched and damaged. I usd to have a dining room table made of northern pine that if you wrote on a piece of paper with a ballpoint pen, the indentations of whatever you wrote was left on the table top! NOT a good choice for stairs to begin with, let alone if you have dogs. Aside from putting carpet on your stairs to protect the wood surface, your only alternative is to put numerous coats of something really hard on it and keep your dogs nails trimmed short regularly.

There are lots of products (and different name brands) on the market to choose from that will do a good job. I personally do not like the sealers that already have the stain in them because the amount of piment is too hard to control. Too many light and dark spots for me, no matter how many coats you use. Since these are stairs that you are working on and multiple coats (and therefore multiple drying periods) will be needed for durability, I would suggest you divide the project into two parts; every other step from start to finish and then go back and do the steps in between from start to finish. That way you can at least use the stairs.

I would suggest applyng 1-2 good coats of stain, following recommended drying times in between) with at least 4-6 coats of a water-based polyurethane sealer. Water-based because it dries faster will less oder and leaves a harder finish. The sheen of the finish doesn't matter but the glossier it is, the more durable it will be because there are more plastics in it. One product that comes to mind that would be great to use after you're applied your stain would be Minwax Super Fast-Drying Polyurethane For Floors. It doesn't need to be sanded in between coats which will save you alot of time since you will need to apply so many coats to protect the pine wood stairs. Good luck in your project. 

Posted 2013-08-23T11:51:04+0000  by Scorpioforu

Thank you for the advice.  Also, I was wrong with the type of wood.  it is actually yellow pine...not sure if that makes a difference or not.  I have read a lot of good things about the minwax poly for floors that you mentioned and i think we are leaning that way.  we were also looking at varathan (rustoleum product).  but we will definitely make sure the surfaces are extra clean before applying anything to them.  we are not staining them as we want to leave the color natural.  thanks again.

Posted 2013-08-23T12:43:32+0000  by tnile1477
 
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