Using Gel Stain over existing stained wood!

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Today I am sharing how I used Gel stain over my existing stained wood steps.  

Gel-Stain-Over-Existing-Stained-WoodI have been slowly working on my attic stairway area and now I can finally say that the stairway steps and landing areas are complete.


We had striped all the wall paper off the walls(what a job that was) and next was to pull up the carpet.  I was planning on replacing the carpet until I discovered what was under the carpet.  I felt like Nicole Curtis when I pulled back the carpet and found original hard wood floors.  My family came up and asked what all the screaming was about.  I was surprised as this area leads up to an attic and just figured they would be regular wood.   


So plan B – remove the carpet and tacks and keep the hardwood floors. My helper, Mr. Mack helping his mama remove the carpet staples.  It appeared that from the staple holes that this was the only carpet that was ever down, we were lucky not to have that many holes or staples to remove.

Gel Stain- Refinish Stairway-8

After looking at the original hardwood floors for a few days, I decided they were too orange and I needed to tone down the color.  I decided I wanted to use the Gel stain and not have to sand down to the original wood.  The gel stain allows you to do some light prep and stain right over the existing stained wood.  

Gel Stain- Refinish Stairway-5

I used my Ryobi finishing sander on the stairs and the landings and did a light sanding.  I like to wrap sand paper around  my putty knife to get in the edges and crevices.  

Gel Stain- Refinish Stairway-4

I had a lot of areas that had paint splatter so I had to make sure all the paint was removed in those areas.  

Gel Stain- Refinish Stairway-12

The great thing about using a gel stain is it will sit on a vertical surface without dripping.  We stained the doors hanging, this made it much easier as we could finish both sides without having to wait for the opposite side to dry.  You need to work in small areas.  Apply the gel stain, wait about 10 minutes and wipe to remove the extra stain.  If you wait too long, it is harder to wipe off. NOTE:  I used Walnut Gel Stain form Minwax

Gel Stain- Refinish Stairway-14For the floors I applied the stain in staggered areas, that way I would not have a straight line going across the boards, it blended easier with the other areas.  If you are able to do the entire length of a few boards, I would recommend to apply in that way.  My area was an odd shape that leads to the stairs, so I had to do in small sections, like above.  

Gel Stain- Refinish Stairway-13

For the steps, I applied gel stain on the step as well as the riser, applied it on a second step and went back to the first area and wiped off.  I had a great rhythm going for each step.  You can see how much darker the upper floor is compared to the steps.  

How to use Gel Stain over stained wood - Minwax Gel Stain-5


After a few days of drying, I applied 2 coats of the Wipe-On poly to the rails, doors and trim.  I used the polyurethane floors for the floors since it will hold up better for the higher traffic area. Tip:  this area is used by my boys so I asked them to make sure they had socks on when walking on the floors, until I had the floors sealed.  

Before-After- Using Gel Stain

You can see by the before and after that the wood tone has less of the orange tone and has a dark over tone.  I love how they look so aged and worn which adds to the charter of the orignal hardwood floors.  My next project in this area is to paint the walls,  build a plank ceiling and wall and to have some sort of carpet runner.  I will share each project with you as I finish those projects.    

You can follow along with my attic stairway project and see the wall paper removal that I completed.  





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4 Responses to Using Gel Stain over existing stained wood!

  1. How has the GF gel stain on the stairs held up? Im considering this for my 15 year old red oak floors that only have an oil based clear coat. Very yellowed.

  2. […] I am thrilled at how the custom stairway runners and rugs turned out.  My boys and Miss Cinnamon love the rugs, as this helps them all walk down the steps without slipping.  It also helps with the noise of hardwood stairways.   You can read all about this area and all the changes we made: How to easily removed wallpaper, How to Gel Stain over existing stain […]

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