Refinishing Stair Treads to
Make a Custom-Built
Floating Staircase Shine


You have to try new things if you want to improve your ability to help clients achieve their vision for their homes. This project was kind of scary but the results are nothing short of amazing.

Here’s what happened.

The stair treads in this floating staircase, already partially installed, had to match the colour and sheen of the floor, which had a factory glazing. Although the stair treads were made of the same kind of wood, it was of a higher grade and had been quarter sawn instead of flat sawn, so the grain ran differently.

We were doubly challenged because:

  • We had to come up with a mix of products to create the right look in the controlled environment of a spray booth.
  • We then had to develop a process that would work with wipe-on products and generate the same high-quality result on the stairs that had already been installed.

We’d never done anything like this before! But we have done numerous faux painting projects so we knew that it was possible to come up with a solution.

The Risks

Stain penetrates wood. If a stain didn’t react with the wood the way we expected it to, and it penetrated too deeply, we risked burning the wood in the sanding process.

One wrong step and every stair tread would have to be replaced at a significant cost.

Because we knew the obstacles we might encounter at each stage of the process, we felt fairly comfortable that we could manage the risk. We’re also very knowledgeable about the chemical composition of various stains and clear coats and how they work together, which gave us a higher level of assurance that we could make this homeowner’s vision a reality.

The Result

Everyone was wowed!

Although it was costly, the homeowner and the builder knew that it was the only way to achieve the look they wanted, and they were more than happy to pay us when we were done.

Doesn’t get much cooler than that!