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How to look after your hardwood staircase

a oakwood staircase in a modern house

A hardwood staircase adds a natural beauty to the home which is hard to beat. Both elegant and timeless, it can compliment any traditional or contemporary setting. But what about keeping it that way?

How you look after your staircase is key to preserving its wow factor, and you’ll be pleased to know it’s easy to do! Here are some of our top tips.


multi-turn staircase pre installation

Building sites, by definition, are messy. Your staircase will therefore be vulnerable to damage whilst being used during the construction process. At this stage, that’s where we come in!

At Multi-Turn, we offer a comprehensive solution to protect your staircase prior to and following delivery. Our Bronze, Silver and Platinum Protection packages will ensure your stairs are shielded from scratches, knocks and spills, while our Priming & Sealing option will reduce the risk of moisture saturation prior to final coatings.


darkwood finish on a bottom step

Regardless of the quality of wood you choose, your new staircase will begin to take a lot of footfall and, therefore, punishment if it isn’t treated to prevent any damage.

Staining is an extremely popular choice to get your desired colour and effect, but it’s important to remember that most do not provide any protection to the timber. Once installed, your stairs can be coated with either varnish, lacquer or oil.

Varnishes apply a thin, glossy layer of protection to the timber. By filling the pores of the wood, a varnish can prevent dust and dirt collection and will resist most impacts and spills. High-quality options will typically last for many years.

Lacquers are fairly similar to varnishes in that they add surface-level protection. They are available in matt or gloss finishes and can be clear or coloured. The plasticisers added to lacquers give them a strong durability to protect your staircase.

Oil finishes typically include tung oil and will penetrate into the grain of the timber before it hardens, giving it a unique and rustic appearance. Because it’s not a surface coating, oil won’t prevent damage as effectively as a varnish, but will be easier to repair by sanding.


hardwood staircase

One of the key things to maintaining your hardwood staircase is having a regimented cleaning routine; regular vacuuming or sweeping will remove any dirt and dust which will keep the wood in good condition.

Another important thing to remember is to clean any water or spills straight away. Standing liquid can penetrate and even remove the timber finish, leaving you with noticeable water spots.


L shaped stairs

Although often overlooked, UV exposure can have an effect on all types of wood. Sunlight can naturally cause permanent discolouration, either fading or darkening the wood depending on the type.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a single, permanent solution. However, there are a number of things you can do to minimise damage from exposure, including: use a good quality finishing product, use blinds or curtains where appropriate to block sunlight and regularly rearrange furniture or items placed on the surface of the wood.

Glass features

glass features on a open riser staircase

Glass is now an extremely popular and striking feature of hardwood staircases, but many people mistakenly consider it to be a difficult material to preserve. It’s easy to go overboard when cleaning glass, so our best advice is to keep it simple!

Avoid paper-based materials that will leave you with streaks and, instead, opt for a clean cotton cloth and a good quality glass cleaner. Also, try to remember to remove jewellery like rings and bracelets that could scratch the surface.

If you have a renovation or new build project in the works and would like to find out more about Multi-Turn’s quality timber staircases, get in touch on 01962 712299 or email


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