Today we are going to discuss how to apply Cabot’s water based stain and varnish to your newly installed timber staircase.

Before any staining commences you must ensure you have properly prepared all timber surfaces you are planning on staining. Southern Stain recommends using an orbital sander on the larger areas and a multi-tool for those hard to reach areas. Start off using a coarse grade sandpaper (80 grit or 100 grit). Gradually work your way up in sandpapers finishing on a smooth 180 grit.

Once you have prepared your timber surfaces, give the whole staircase a thorough vacuum starting from the top and working your way down. When you’re certain that all dust and particles have been removed you can start preparing your stain & varnish.

Start by opening your tin of stain & varnish and giving it a good stir before pouring it into a paint bucket. By giving the stain and varnish a good stir you will collect any pigment that has sunk to the bottom of the tin. This will ensure a true and even colour.

Please note: It is important to know that if you are planning on using Cabot’s stain & varnish the same day you have purchased it that your paint supplier avoids puting the stain through a paint shaking machine as this will create small bubbles to form. In this case you will need to leave the product for no less than a day for the bubbles to settle.

Now the stain has been stirred and poured into your paint bucket, it’s time to select the brushes. Southern Stain recommends using 3 different size brushes. The first brush will be a 25mm Monarch Rat Tail. This brush is good for handrails and hard to reach areas. The second brush to be used is a 50mm Monarch rat tail brush for slightly larger areas such as the stringers and risers. The last brush Southern Stain recommends using is a 75mm Monarch cutting in & framing brush. The 75mm brush is excellent to use on your treads and landings.

When applying the stain and varnish always work from left to right or right to left. This eliminates the chances of the product drying to quick and leaving visible laplines. To make things easier always start staining from the top of the staircase and work your way down.

Once you have applied the first coat of Cabot’s stain and varnish, leave to dry for a minimum of 2 hours. You will notice on the first coat of stain and varnish that the timber grain has raised causing a slightly rough surface. Using a 240 grit sandpaper, give a light sand to all the timber surfaces you have stained to smooth off the timber. When you have finished the light sand you are now ready for a second coat.

Before applying the second coat you must give the staircase another thorough vacuum to remove all dust and particles created from the light sand back. The second coat will require less stain and varnish and is much easier to apply as the first coat has already absorbed into the timber creating a barrier with a smoother canvas.

Southern Stain recommends you let the second coat dry for at least 8 hours. Once the second coat has completely dried it’s now time to add a clear top coat for extra protection that will provide durability and longevity to your timber staircase. It’s important to use a water based clear coat to ensure proper bonding. For the treads we recommend using water based UltraFloor Intergrain clear with non slip resistant. This is available in gloss or satin. For the handrails, stringers and risers we recommend using water based Intergrain UltraFloor without the non slip additive. This will provide a smooth, desirable finish to your brand new timber staircase.

Southern Stain offers professional and detailed stair polishing to both new and existing timber staircases around Melbourne. You can download our online publication by visiting our website

%d bloggers like this: