What trade should I be hiring to polish my timber stairs?

Builders build homes, plumbers fit pipes and electricians wire lighting, right? Do you know the other trades that are involved in completing a renovation or building a residential home from the ground up? Unless you are tradie yourself or working as a foreman you may not realise that there is a specialty trade for just about every square inch of a home, from corking the skirting boards to fitting the internal vacuum system, there is an expert trade completing the task. So why would it be any different for sanding, staining and varnishing a timber staircase?


We’re here to tell you, there’s a new trade in town!


Typically painters or floor polishers will complete the work on a timber staircase.

And while this has been the case in the industry for many years the days of jack-of-all-trade has ended. Boutique specialty trades are now the go to for discerning homeowners.


Hiring a specialist means that they perform the same job hundreds if not thousands of times over the course of their careers. It allows trades to develop and perfect systems to deliver superior results every time. So when you wish to build, refresh or restore your timber staircase choose a stair staining professional.

How do I protect my timber stairs after they’ve been stained?

Microfibre – This gently cleans surface debris, dust and grime without scratching or damaging varnish. You can purchase microfibre wipes, brooms and mops and we recommend using them on timber floors and staircases. They won’t leave behind fluff and won’t scratch or abrade your precious timber surfaces. Wipe up spills, sweep and mop regularly to prevent sand or dust causing micro-scratches that build up over time.


Cleaning Agents – We recommend a water based formula that removes dirt and dust and can be used on your stairs and floors. Do not use bleach based products or harsh chemicals.

Maintenance – With time and general wear and tear timber surfaces may become dull and lose the high gloss finish that once was. If surfaces remain lack lustre even after cleaning it may be time to call your local timber floor professionals. Surface imperfections and a dull appearance can easily be fixed with the right skill and tools. Regular maintenance will only take a few hours a year and is much more affordable than a full restoration.

What lasts longer? Oil Based Stain or Water Based Stain?

Oil based or water based stain and varnish? While you may have heard from your uncles mate that has been a builder for 48 years that oil based stain lasts longer the truth is that this is an old school belief that is simply outdated. In fact, a water based stand is more durable and lasts longer than oil based stain and varnish as it represents newer technology. Water based stain will stand the test of time that oil based simply can’t compete with.

Which has more colour options? Oil based or water based?

While oil based stain is known for its deep, rich and traditional colour options the technology advancements of water based stain and varnish have brought dozens of colour options to the market. You can be sure to find or match a colour to suit every timber type, trend and personal preference.

What about when it comes to maintenance of oil and water based stains?

It is a known fact that oil-based stain and varnish requires substantial dry times between coats, sometimes up to two days for re-coating and several weeks until completely set! This can be an issue as you may have to pay tradesmen to come back to the premises several times, as well as delaying other trades entering. Not to mention the importance of keeping a pristine environment to prevent animal hair and dust settling on wet varnish!


Due to the nature of oil-based stain and varnish coatings, they require more time and effort to maintain. Re-coating may be required every 12-24 months, especially in areas with high traffic or are in direct sunlight, like staircases that are close to a large window or skylight.


Water-based stain varnishes on the other hand, require less work, and time, to maintain due to it’s superior protection.