If you want to finish or refinish your wooden stair, then you will need to know what particular types of finish are best for your particular staircase. You might consider installing a carpet, or carpet rails, or you might want to use sticking vinyl patterns. Wooden stairs can also be finished with a variety of different chemicals and methods, but you will also need to know how to start the finish and complete it. Performing a finish on any kind of wooden stair is a long process which can take several hours. The wood can also be colored or treated to ensure that it is in the best condition possible.
Before the Finish: Sanding
No matter what kind of finish you will be using, you should start the finishing process by sanding down the wood. Even if you have been sanding down the wooden stair as you go, you will still need to sand for the finishing process. As the stairs are made, there are small marks caused by the installation process which will not be truly visible until the stain dries onto it. The best way to avoid these unsightly marks is to go over the surface of the wood with some sandpaper before you begin. Once the sanding has been done, then you will be able to apply the finish to your wood.
Carpets and Vinyl
If you don't want to add a stain to your wooden stairs, then you should consider either using a carpet, or adding some vinyl. Carpets can be cut and trimmed to the shape of your stair, and then installed as you would do in your living room. Carpet runners can be added to each stair, and not extended into the riser. These kinds of carpet can be stapled or nailed onto the individual stair. Vinyl can be bought in packs that are peeled and then stuck onto the riser of the stair, creating a pattern as you travel up the staircase. Vinyl is also placed upon the runners to protect the wooden stair from damage. This might not be suitable for stairs which are in constant use, as vinyl can be slippery, but for small staircases such as those leading to a basement, they can be ideal.
Stains and Varnishes
Staining is the most cost-effective way of managing your stairs. A urethane coating for your stairs will help them to last longer, and will also avoid peeling or cracking. The type of stain you choose will depend upon the wood and the final effect you wish to have. Light stains will color wooden stair boards such as pine or plywood, while a darker stain is best used on cedar and other dark woods. If you apply a light stain to the darker woods, then you will get a rather gluey, plastic effect which will make your stairs look unattractive. Dark stains on light stairs are also unsuitable, as they will make your stairs look like a pile of softwood.