An oak staircase adds a traditional yet elegant touch to your home. If you decide you want to add some character and warmth to your home, having an oak staircase is the best solution. Leaving the oak stair parts unpainted is even better!

The oak finish is subtle, and the enigmatic wood grain is aesthetically pleasing, complementing both traditional and modern designs.

However, the wood will wear over time due to environment and heavy foot traffic, so correctly maintaining it will lengthen its life and keep its great looks for longer.

Let us help you look after your oak staircases by sharing our top tips!

Oak Stair Parts

Before finding out how to care for your oak staircase, it is essential to know something about its structure. The main oak stair parts are:

  • Stringer – The wooden section of a stair that supports the end of the steps
  • Tread – The surface of a step
  • Nosing – The front section of a tread
  • Newel – The larger vertical post, located on either end of the balustrade
  • Handrail – The protective rail which supports the spindles and prevents people or objects from falling
  • Spindle – The vertical posts acting as infills between the handrail and base rail.

Learning about the care and maintenance of these parts will enhance and preserve the beauty of your staircase.

Care and Maintenance of an Oak Staircase

Wear and Tear Factors of Oak Stair Parts

Although the oak is known for its hardiness and durability, some factors that we have placed below, damage its beautiful natural look, especially if you decide to leave it without coverings like carpets or rubber track runners.

The best advice…

  • refrain from wearing shoes and high heels on the oak stairs. High heels may leave scuff marks on the treads and damage the wood. A pets’ claws can also cause a similar issue. To prevent this from happening, consider adding a runner to your stairs.
  • Any liquid, even water, can lead to wood discoloration so don’t leave those spills unattended! These stains are difficult to remove from the stairs.
  • Temperature and humidity may affect the look of your oak stair parts. If your staircase is exposed to dampness, the wood will crack or twist. Extreme temperatures have the same effects. However, if you feel comfortable in your home, the staircase should be fine too.
  • Another factor that causes wood to change colour is the direct sunlight. You can lessen the UV rays’ effect by using blinds or curtains if possible.

We recommend that you clean your oak stair parts using oil soap. Start with a mixture of a safe, natural product such as Murphy Oil Soap and hot water. Use a soft cloth and work your way over the surface of the timber. Even though oak is renowned for its durability, don't let it get too wet during this cleaning process.

Caring for a New Oak Staircase

Now that you installed your new wood staircase, you must think about the next steps. After all, you want your staircase to look great for a long time, don’t you?

Make sure you do your research before deciding on what finish to use – oil, wax, varnish, or a combination of them.

Here are some tips for how to care for your new oak staircase:

Oils

The untreated wood should be immediately oiled to prevent it from drying out. Our advice is to use high quality, natural wood oils that contain the necessary preservatives. This product can be obtained from any DIY store or your contractor.

Before oiling the staircases, it is important to clean them. Use a vacuum cleaner and make sure you sweep all dirt and dust.

Applying oil on wood staircases is quite simple. Use a small paintbrush and remember to cover all oak stair parts. Allow the first oil coating to settle completely before applying a new layer.

Wax

After you’ve oiled your staircase, you might choose to wax some of the oak stair parts. The wax layer will give a nice shine to the wood and protect it from any dirty hands.

Using bee’s wax is great for oak wood. Apply a coat of natural wax to the balustrade with a clean cloth and polish it up.

The wax should be applied every month or so to build up a good coating and remember to polish the wood every week with a furniture duster to keep it shiny.

The greasy hand marks can be removed by cleaning the balustrade with a damp cloth and polishing again afterward.

Varnish

If you decide to varnish your oak stair parts, you will no longer need to repeat polishing and waxing. The staircase will be protected from water or any other liquid spills and other damage.

Prior to applying the varnish, it’s important that you clean and sand your stairs first. The next step is to add a light coat of varnish to your balustrade, treads and handrails by using a foam brush.

Apply the second layer only after the first one has dried completely. You should also pay attention to not add too much varnish as the stairs will become slippery.

One of our top advice is to use a clear varnish so you can keep the fantastic oak grain finish, as this will add extra style to your property.

Repairing Your Oak Staircase

Original bespoke design elements such as staircases require regular care and maintenance. Oak stairs are usually expensive, so performing repairs on the existing ones are the best alternative. The most common issues are related to worn wood treads, broken railings, or missing parts.

Although there is enough information available on the Internet, it is not recommended to repair the stairs by yourself if you don’t have joinery experience. Like many other guides and articles, our advice is to look for an expert in your area when it comes to repairs! Fixing worn treads involves cutting accurately and if you are not familiar with carpentry, you might ruin a beautiful staircase so always be careful!

Final Thoughts

An oak stair case is a perfect way to add style to your home. Depending on where it’s situated, the staircase may be subject to heavy foot traffic damage. Therefore, a wooden stair requires regular care and maintenance.

Follow the basics – oil the oak stair parts, wax them, or add a varnish coat. If any repairs are needed, ask someone with experience in the joinery field rather than trying to fix it yourself if you’re not 100% confident.