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Care must also be taken to protect the stair from dirt and mud. Most hardwoods are an open grain wood and when dirt gets embedded in open grain it is very difficult to remove, even with sanding. This will have a negative effect on the appearance and texture of the finish. NEVER COVER THE STAIRS WITH PLASTIC. Plastic does not allow airflow, trapping moisture underneath and causing the wood to expand and contract. This expansion and contraction causes the wood joints to open up and may cause the wood to crack.
The environmental conditions inside the house are critical to the quality of the stair. Designed Stairs uses lumber that has been dried through a very controlled process to a moisture content of 6 – 8%. This matches the moisture content inside the average home and allows the wood to remain stable under normal conditions.
In cold climates, when a house is heated to a high temperature in winter, the air can become very dry, causing the wood to shrink. This shrinkage can make cracks visible in the wood and joints may begin to open up. Subjecting a stair to high levels of heat is like putting it in an oven and will accelerate the deterioration of the stair.
All hardwoods must be sealed on all sides to retard movement and protect from exposure to elements and damage. It is recommended to seal wood immediately.
The sooner the stair is finished, the less the potential for damage to the raw wood and the better the quality of the finish. Woods such as cherry and maple, which are affected by sun or artificial light, should be finished immediately to limit coloration changes.
Although the stair has already been sanded to a level ready for finishing by Designed Stairs, for best results, some additional preparation is recommended prior to applying stain. Your finisher should do a light sanding of all parts and use a "hard filler" in all fastener holes. First, he should do a careful inspection of the stair with a light to detect any damage that may have taken place after installation. This sort of damage is usually minimal and can be easily sanded out. Dirt or mud on the stairs can often be removed with sanding and a vacuum cleaner. Just prior to application of the finish, the stair should be blown off with compressed air and wiped with a tack rag to remove any fine dust. We recommend sealing the underside of all stairs to prevent the absorption of moisture.
If you have further questions, do not hesitate to ask. We have years of experience with most wood species from harvesting through finishing and would be happy to answer any questions you may have.
Installing throughout the greater Chicago area; Selling to all 50 states