Forum Title: Stair treads again
What type of sander and what grit of paper to prep some 1 inch oak stair treads before staining them? Customer want's a fairly natural look, but clear just doesn't look natural enough. They decided on a Varathane pecan color. I'm thinking of staining the treads, then putting on three coats of finish on the treads before I install them, then putty up the nail holes, and add a 4th coat. I'm going to use Varathane's water based floor finish. I tried some, and like it better than Benjamin Moore's Stays Clear. Customer won't put up with the stink of an oil based clear coat. The risers will be oak plywood.......... not the best choice, but that's what I have to work with. To make the plywood easier to transport, I had a sheet cut in half. Wow, even with a decent blade, the thin veneer wants to chip out. I'm thinking that staining the plywood and adding a couple coats of finish before cutting it will stabilize or strengthen the veneer and keep that from happening when I cut the risers to their finished size. On the lower part of the riser piece that rests on the tread, I might do a cleanup cut with my router in case the wood still wants to chip a little bit. Anyhow, I figured it would be silly to install the treads, then finish sand them in place. The most I would want to do after installing them is one final coat. Maybe it's best to do all 4 coats before hand and just eliminate any final coat after they are installed. I've never installed 1 inch oak treads before, so I want to do it right. Back to my initial inquiry on grit and sander type. I've read that you shouldn't use to fine a paper or the finish won't bond as well. What grit and what type of sander should I use. I was told by a wood flooring contractor to use a belt sander. The treads look pretty nice as is, but I feel they will probably need a light sanding before staining and finishing. Also, I was thinking of using small headed casing screws instead of finish nails on the treads............ your thoughts on that?
Category: Flooring Post By: JAIME RAMSEY (San Marcos, TX), 02/25/2019

If you are going to sand them before installing i would rent a rotary and use a 60 , 80 , and then a 80 screen . Be careful with the belt sander you can put waves in the wood .

- YOLANDA ORTEGA (Redlands, CA), 05/07/2019

Nick said: ? If you are going to sand them before installing i would rent a rotary and use a 60 , 80 , and then a 80 screen . Be careful with the belt sander you can put waves in the wood .Click to expand... What's a rotary Do you mean a random obital? Looking at a few treads today, they seem to be in good condition, so I'm not sure they really need very much sanding. I initially figured that treads come planed and would probably need some minor surface sanding. I think they do need a little attention, but mainly to remove any stacking and handling dents and scrapes. I just didn't want to use a grit that's too coarse, or too fine. The stain color will be relatively light. I think it's called Summer Oak, from Varathane. I know with dark stains, swirl marks from sanding can cause a headache.

- NICHOLAS COOPER (Jackson, MS), 04/21/2019

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