The Stair Project: tackling the many tones of pine

I was driving to and from work in nothing but fog that past few days and it suddenly hit me that the fog was exactly like the Pickled Oak stain I have been using on my stair project.  Gazing out over the farm land I could still make out the presence of the trees, the prairie grass and the areas where the snow had melted leaving muddy dark earth exposed among the once pristine white landscape.  Nothing had been covered up completely- everything was just obscured by this veil of white wash.

Much like the rainbow colored wood grain of my old pine steps.

I realize that sounds totally dramatic- but pine wood can have more colors in it than you think!  Often times our pine wood doors are accused of harboring a green undertone…many stains will bring out the honey golden tones of pine…and then there’s me and my red dilemma!

I suppose I should back up to the beginning of this project.  I have wood steps going to my upstairs that I have decided to do in a two-tone finish.  After much debate and deep soul-searching I decided to paint the riser and baseboard the same grey I am using on all my trim upstairs and stain the stair tread.

Here’s a good picture to show the red undertones of our old stairs as I began painting.

Stubborn as I was- I wanted a lighter tread and I had my heart set on a Pickled Oak finish.

I had imagined this cloudy white wood next to the crisp grey paint.

It took some getting there and it still needs some work.

I’ll tell you I tried a multitude of things.  The first few steps I tried the color on immediately looked pink. After reading up on how to correct this I tried combinations of salted water, hydrogen peroxide and laundry bleach to strip some of the color out of the wood.  I’m not sure any of those methods were a success, but I also grew impatient with multiple coats that required dry time in between.  Plus I was working on steps- you can only do so many at a time if you still want to access your upstairs!

In the end I have settled for a good cleaning, some additional sanding and multiple coats of Pickled Oak, sometimes with a little ebony stain mixed in, to get the grain to work with my vision.

I pretty much have old weathered pine steps that are never going to look like a new white washed pickled stained stair tread.  But this is my stair project and my vision and I usually come to some conclusion that I love whatever it becomes.

I learned from my ugly door project not to judge the outcome before the whole transformation reveals itself.  So I am giving you this glimpse into my staircase project and patiently working towards completing all the staining and paint touch-ups.  I have to say it already looks closer to my vision between these two pics…

This has been another installment of my very own series:

Check out the rest of the story!




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