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I pulled off the carpet on a staircase (carpet wrapped each stair tread completely...it's the see through type of stair case) and am staining each of the stair treads (after filling holes, sanding, and using pre-conditioning treatment). The staircase side-rails and spindles were already stained. The stain nicely matches the existing side rails and spindles. The stain on each tread looks good, EXCEPT for where the tack strip was removed....that 1 inch section on each tread isn't taking the stain very well. And they must have stained the side rails AFTER the carpet was put on each tread, because I now have to stain each side rail about 3/4 of an inch where it never had stain before...all the way around each stair tread. That section also is not taking the stain nicely (yet when I stain the rest of the side rails, it takes the stain just fine). A very talented friend of mine said that there was likely a difference in oxidation on the side rails where the carpet fibers were pressed against over 30 years. And same thing under the tack strip. So the question is, how to make it look better? I played around under a stair tread by sanding with coarse paper, treating with pre-conditioner and then sanding...but same issue occurs....just doesn't take the stain very well. Thoughts?
stairs.gif
 

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Sorry....typo....it should have said: I played around under a stair tread by sanding with coarse paper, treating with pre-conditioner and then staining (I did NOT sand again)...but same issue occurs....just doesn't take the stain very well.
 

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I've tried putting additional coats of stain in those circled areas and it really doesn't darken it. Any suggestions?
 

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Did those stairs have closed risers at one time? What I am seeing appears to be the result of glue, which can absorb into the fiber of the wood. Without extensive work the solution I see would be to use a stain that is mixed with the topcoat, or make your own. That finish goes on more like a toner where the color sits on top of the wood and is not dependent on penetrating the wood or filling the open grain. Minwax makes a line called Polyshades, I myself have never used that product, but that is the concept I am referring to. Perhaps others can comment on the quality of Polyshades or suggest another brand.
 

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Did those stairs have closed risers at one time? What I am seeing appears to be the result of glue, which can absorb into the fiber of the wood. Without extensive work the solution I see would be to use a stain that is mixed with the topcoat, or make your own. That finish goes on more like a toner where the color sits on top of the wood and is not dependent on penetrating the wood or filling the open grain. Minwax makes a line called Polyshades, I myself have never used that product, but that is the concept I am referring to. Perhaps others can comment on the quality of Polyshades or suggest another brand.
I am almost positive that these stairs were always open (I am the 2nd owner of the house), but that doesn't mean that some type of glue wasn't still somehow involved. Or some chemical that was in the carpet fibers had some type of reaction with the side wall, because the carpet fibers would have been pressed against the edges for 35 years (the carpet was a berber). Attached is a picture of the stairs showing the carpet. Yes...mixing my stain with something a bit darker might be my only option....but then I worry I'll still have a 2-color effect to deal with. I am using a Varathane Classic Wood stain (penetrating)...colonial maple.
 

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I am almost positive that these stairs were always open (I am the 2nd owner of the house), but that doesn't mean that some type of glue wasn't still somehow involved. Or some chemical that was in the carpet fibers had some type of reaction with the side wall, because the carpet fibers would have been pressed against the edges for 35 years (the carpet was a berber). Attached is a picture of the stairs showing the carpet. Yes...mixing my stain with something a bit darker might be my only option....but then I worry I'll still have a 2-color effect to deal with. I am using a Varathane Classic Wood stain (penetrating)...colonial maple.
If the color is suspended in the topcoat, you should be able to use a similar shade to what you are using. The color saturation can be increased with additional coats. I would suggest picking a small area and creating a sample.
 

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On those lighter colored areas put a little stain and don’t wipe it off. Then sand those areas with 220 grit sandpaper lightly. Basically your sanding the stain into the wood. You might have to do it a few times.
 
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