1

I recently finished building my stairs with pine wood. I was expecting to stain them to give it a bit darker look, but I didn't like the end result.

I know I should have picked another wood to start with, but I pine was widely available and I always assumed that staining it darker would do the trick.

Basically I would like to remove the yellowish look as much as possible so that it matches my floor better (left side) How can I achieve this?

enter image description here

5
  • 1
    Pine stains v bad so maybe impossible to color them acceptably that way. I would paint or varnish dark.
    – Volfram K
    Dec 9, 2021 at 5:12
  • Well, the one on the left has oxidized with age as it has been exposed to wear and UV light. There are ways to hasten this oxidation for matching. This is done in flooring quite a bit.
    – user5572
    Dec 9, 2021 at 12:44
  • So, how do you feel about the idea of carpeting the stairs? :-D As I presume you're aware, your flooring is hardwood and your stair treads being pine are a softwood. In general it's impossible to make softwoods look like hardwoods as one or more previous Q&As have touched on. It's not just 'the colour' per se, which you can match reasonably well with conventional staining (although blotching is a big issue) pine has no pores so you cannot mimic certain colouring effects.... like the white in your flooring (liming or cerusing).
    – Graphus
    Dec 9, 2021 at 16:03
  • 1
    "I was expecting to stain them to give it a bit darker look, but I didn't like the end result." Could you tell us what you did and if possible include a photo of how it turned out? This could have helped a lot in guiding you to other options. From the one tread shown in the existing photo I'm fairly confident in predicting you're going to have blotching problems with conventional staining and there's no good way to combat that. So instead you have to rely on coloured overcoats, which these days chiefly means using "gel stain", although regular coloured varnishes are still widely available.
    – Graphus
    Dec 9, 2021 at 16:08
  • There are weathering/aging accelerants available (commercially and "home-brew") that might be used to bring the color in line with the flooring.
    – gnicko
    Dec 10, 2021 at 14:09

3 Answers 3

3

The other answer that discusses matching with stains is completely reasonable (and offers what is arguably the correct answer: stain or bleach to match), but I'd like to offer a reframing challenge: don't do anything at all.

Who says your new stairs made with modern freshly resawn pine must match your floors made sometime in the past with completely different lumber? Wood is a natural product, and we choose it partially because of the so-called flaws and differences between pieces (even from the same species).

So, yes. You can try to stain or treat the wood to bring it closer to the floors. But, here's the rub: you will never be able to match perfectly. I'd suggest this is a place where you want to encourage contrast because having pieces that don't quite match is, to me, much worse than decent carpentry and finish that serves the overall purpose and design, but with some nice contrast.

This is why we can have different species of wood for our tables, trim, floors, and stairs. Wood contrasts nicely with other wood. Lean into that.

Eventually these fresh stairs will darken and lose the yellow, and end up somewhat but not quite the same as others sorts of pine in your house.

Life's too short to spend days being a mad scientist trying to match colours like this. Unless you are undertaking a restoration process, my advice is enjoy your nice stairs and get back to that honey-do list. Because there are always more projects to complete. Your SO and your guests won't notice the colour of the stairs, other than to marvel how nice they are.

1
  • Also, having the stairs stand out in a different color can help as a safety feature, especially at the top of the stairs in lower lighting.
    – FreeMan
    Dec 9, 2021 at 17:24
2

You might want to experiment with a sample wood and try to bleach it with regular bleach solution. Optionally, you can wipe it down with tannin solution from a boiled black tea or any other colored tea after the bleach. See if you will like the final output.

2
  • Do you have any suggestions for bleaching? I have tried several products with limited success.
    – nsn
    Dec 13, 2021 at 11:34
  • Just a regular clorox bleach will do it. Although there are different formulations out there, look for the more concentrated ones.
    – Dennis R
    Dec 14, 2021 at 17:04
1

the Floor looks to me like outdoor in the elements aged look. That generally takes time. I'm sure there are ways to speed it up, but I don't know what those are.

I suspect the fasted and cheapest way is to use a gel stain or get a grey paint that is close and water it down. Do more of a 'white wash' than paint, this will let the grain show through. I suspect either will be a bit of trial and error, so keep your scraps around for testing it on.

2
  • 1
    Typically various peroxides are used for this purpose, and are sold as wood bleach. But they don't have to be used to "whiten", but rather to hasten oxidation at the surface. Various home-made vinegar solutions are described on the wilder internet, and these seem to give us this patina we'd expect from years of sunlight we might expect. The overall notion is to get the tannins in the wood to react the same way they do under UV light over time.
    – user5572
    Dec 9, 2021 at 13:31
  • @jdv Good to know!
    – bowlturner
    Dec 9, 2021 at 13:38

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.