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Tips for preserving Victorian staircase

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Q: I would like some advice about what to do about the wood steps of our Victorian home. We have had to paint them every year, even after having them professionally prepped and painted. The paint chips and the caulking cracks. Should we replace them with brick or stone? Or is there something we can do when painting them so that the job lasts? Whenever I see steps with no chipped paint, I suspect they have just recently been painted. Are we the only ones with this problem? Am I being too fussy? We live in the Western Addition area of San Francisco, in case that makes a difference, weatherwise. A: You're not the Lone Ranger; others have this problem. And, you're not being too fussy. The staircase is the first thing a visitor to your home sees. It sets the tone for the rest of the house. Maintaining wood steps and porches on Victorian homes is an ongoing proposition. But, redoing them every year seems a bit excessive. Every three to five years is a bit more like it. Victorian preservation...