These steps lead from our garage into the kitchen:
Not that there’s anything wrong with green shag carpeting from 1983. In fact, the feeling that you’re tracking as-yet undiscovered infectious diseases into the house every time you come home adds a certain je ne sais quoi to life.
Narrow-minded bigots that we are, we decided not to embrace life on the edge. With the help of a hammer and pliers I had our je ne sais quoi off the steps and into the trash in under ten minutes. Which turned out to be a lost opportunity to get in touch with nature in our daily lives since said je ne sais quoi was tenderly sheltering a quarter-inch-deep layer of dirt and sand. I swept each step, yanked all remaining staples stuck in the wood, and pounded a couple of protruding nails home before scrubbing the steps down thoroughly.
Originally the plan was to lightly sand the bare wood and give it a couple of coats of outdoor/porch paint. However, since we’ll probably replace the slightly rickety steps at some point I did a little hunting for a cheaper option and settled on waxing them instead. Waxing wood floors rather than finishing them with polyurethane used to be a standard treatment. The resulting finish is long-lasting and durable. A can of paste wax will run you about four bucks at the hardware store (look for it next to the furniture polishing supplies or wood stains, and pick an option with carnauba wax rather than beeswax).
After reading some wax can labels cheerfully warning about potential brain damage from fumes I made sure to wear gloves and a mask and kept the garage doors open.
Dip a rag in the wax and spread generously over the wood, wiping with the grain. Don’t be stingy on the wax or spread it too thin. Pause occasionally to choke, stumble outside for air, and blink back your rising headache. Let dry about 20 minutes, then buff with an electric buffer, or, in my case, a tired right arm. Apply another coat, and buff again after another twenty minutes. Repeat this process one more time, and avoid walking on the wood for at least two hours.
How much of an improvement from the “Before” picture to the “After” shot justifies the brain damage incurred in the “During”?