You may have already thought the floors were done, but ohhhhhh no. There was one. more. step.
I cry. Especially that last one. YOU CAN SEE THE WATER DROPS.
When we fixed the floors in our second go-round of staining we avoided sealing the stairs because we knew they needed a bit more tough love and more than an additional coat of stain to fix those puppies.
But when we did the second coat on the rest of the floor, we sanded the stairs A LOT, and after the second coat really set in things were looking improved
(that above pic is where the water drop was)
It certainly looked a lot better, but I got the sandpaper out and went to town for a 3rd round of stain to try to make it even more improved
The third stair over by the front door didn't need any additional coats because we realized towards the end of our first round of staining the mistake we had made so we were able to nip any problems in the bud on that stair.
After sanding I cleaned both stairs off with the sponge
And after waiting for everything to dry I screened the area lightly to knock down any raised grain and then broke out the tack cloth and got all the little dust particles off. Then the stairs were ready for their third round of stain
When the stain had set in enough I came back with a clean cloth and rubbed out the excess stain, paying close attention to darker areas and spending a bit more time to rub out the saturation (hello camera strap. Trying to take a picture while also trying to rub out stain was a little difficult)
After letting things sit for a day or so we were finally able to see how things looked after three rounds of stain, some hard sanding and paying close attention to darker areas
Problem area 1: before
Problem area 2: before
And problem area #3 (the dreaded water drop): before
So much better, yay!!!!!! Of course afterwards I coated those suckers in 2 coats of poly and now we can FINALLY check floor refinishing off the list!
Our guess on the to do list was that refinishing the floors was going to 3 days (1 day to sand, 2 to refinish)
That clearly didn't happen. But at least it's done now :)