Sometimes you learn a thing or two just by hanging out with an ol' timer (or in this case, a third generation master flooring installer on a recent retro tread installation).

Earlier in the week I was on a job-site, shooting video footage of a staircase being remodeled with our retro stair treads with Shawn from Vision Installations (Shawn is a third generation master flooring craftsman and a principal of Vision Installations, a company that handles FF&E contracts for large, high-end hotel chains. Vision Installations is based in Atlanta, GA). Shawn is far from being an ol' timer - but, during this particular retro tread installation, I learned a really neat way to clean construction adhesive from the face of the new set of stair treads.

Sometime during the installation, one of his laborers had stepped in construction adhesive and, consequently, tracked the fresh glue up and down the freshly installed retro treads.

Having seen Shawn burn through numerous helpers in the past who didn't quite share his "work-ethic" or attention to detail, I fully anticipated hearing a long diatribe directed at this poor kid's unwitting soul, which, much to my surprise, never materialized. Instead, I only noticed him utter a few simple words: "bring the WD-40."

Not really sure where this was going, I quietly watched as he very quietly and calmly sprayed an old rag with a bit of the solvent. And then, much to my surprise, he simply wiped the glue from the surface of each tread with incredible ease.

Having personally installed and filmed a number of staircase remodels myself, I've seen how stubborn PL Premium can be to remove from any surface, especially wood. But the WD-40 made short work of the clean-up. So short in fact, that had I not been standing there, I would have certainly argued that no glue had ever seen the face of the beautiful new step. There was no residue nor streaking, and it took virtually no effort to clean the sticky adhesive mess.

I was amazed! Too many times, had I seen jobs be completed and then someone track something up and down the stairs during the jobsite cleanup. And too many times have I had the pleasure of spending the evening on my hands and knees to clean it up...

Come to find out, carpet installers have been using this trick for years to remove pad glue and other sticky messes from ultra high-end carpets for many years with great success. Wow, I wish someone would have let us wood guys know sooner.

So in short, if you do end up "spilling" some glue during your staircase remodel, and it's still tacky, simply spray some WD-40 on an old rag and then use it to wipe the glue right off with almost no effort. I imagine it's a different story one the glue has dried, but hopefully we're all walking our jobs before calling it a day, right?

Know any other tips or trick for cleaning up a set of stairs? Let us know in the comments section below...