staircase railing makeover using stain
Updating your home is always in style. How about updating your hallway railings? Making them a richer, darker color with wood stain makes more of an impact when your guests enter the front door. Follow along as we stain the hallway railings and posts in this home with our process of prep, cleaning, sanding, applying the stain and protective coatings.
1- Staining handrails darker
the process used to stain the railings darker is exactly the same as the process in this blog about staining wood darker in an office.
The same products of a water-based stain and a durable topcoat of water based polyurethane will last for years and can be accomplished over a weekend or a few days. The best outcome always comes from the best process. Follow along our process to make these handrails look great with a darker shade of stain and polyurethane.
2- Protection for Staining handrails
As always, preparation is the key to the success of any project. The process of staining wood can be messy. The protection of all adjacent areas is imperative. No one wants to make a mess that can’t be cleaned up readily. In this situation, all the adjacent rugs, hardwood floors, and walls were protected with plastic, tape and carpet protection film.
3- Cleaning railings for stain
Surfactant leaching paint can look pretty bad, especially in the first few weeks after painting. Even though paint dries fast, as fast as an hour, it takes about 30 days to cure and harden. In the manufacturing process there are surfactants added which aid in the spread of paint as you apply it. These compounds typically rise to the surface slowly over time and dissipate. In the case of a steamy bathroom, they are raised to the surface, since they are water-soluble, very fast. Every time you take a shower and get condensation on your walls it causes the surfactants to leach to the surface. They then run down the wall with the condensation and the concentrated drop of waxy/ oily surfactant can make your freshly painted walls look terrible. Good thing you can clean it off. Read further to learn how.
4- Sanding the railings for stain
After masking and cleaning it is time to sand the surfaces. Although you are not trying to strip the existing finish off it is good practice to sand thoroughly with 150-180 grit sandpaper over all the stair railings, stair banisters, newel posts and stair parts that will be stained darker. You should sand the railings until the surface is dull. While you are sanding you will notice if any parts were not cleaned thoroughly because the sandpaper will clog with the contaminants. If so, clean the area again and sand as needed.
5- Clean again for darker stain railings
Ok, now you’ve protected adjacent areas, cleaned the railings and stair parts that you want to stain darker, and sanded everything. One more cleaning should be done to remove any sanding debris and dust. In this case, it is best to use a rag or cloth soaked in denatured alcohol to wipe everything down. Using denatured alcohol will make sure any residue comes off easy and it dries super fast allowing you to start staining in a short time after. You could also use a damp cloth but should wait until the surfaces are completely dry before moving on to the staining.
6- Products for staining handrails darker
In some cases, you may need to take a little more action to get rid of the surfactant leaching stains on your bathroom. You can do the same process several times over the next few days. So, each time you take a hot steamy shower to be sure to wipe down the walls after. If it has been 30 days and the paint has fully cured try the following step after trying the hot shower method. If that doesn’t work you can use a damp cloth and a mild dish detergent which will help break through the residual surfactant on the surface. Rinse thoroughly and you should be good to go. No more sticky residue and streaks on the walls.
7- Topcoat for dark stained railings
After the stain is applied and dry you can topcoat the railings and newel posts to protect the beautiful finish you have achieved. The Saman varnish is also waterbased so it applies easily and dries very fast. Once again we used an HVLP system to apply the finish but you can readily apply the varnish with a brush too. Two to three finish coats of polyurethane should be applied to protect them and have a great hand feel to them.
8- Check your work
You are almost done- Yay! Before you remove all the masking and protection you need to make sure all the work is satisfactory. Corrections are easier to make while you are still set up for the process rather than after you have removed all that protection for staining the handrails darker.
Now that your darker handrails are looking beautiful and everything looks like a Pinterest post it is time to clean up. Always start from the top to the bottom. This is the exciting part- like unwrapping a present!
10- Admire your newly refinished handrails
Now you know what it takes to make your stairway railings look great by darkening the stain. It takes some patience, great setup, preparation, and great stain products to make the handrails beautiful.
PROS AND CONS
This process is great for existing handrails in a home since you do not have to completely remove/ strip the previous finishes off. This saves you time on preparation. The overall process can be messy if applied by brush or rag. We used an HVLP spray system to produce a uniform finish and quickly apply multiple coats as needed to achieve the desired stain color.
Another pro for this process is that it is all waterbased. There is little to no smell and dries super fast which gets you moving on to another project or just relaxing much faster than its oil-based counterpart.
Now that you know how to stain wood stair railing and the process is complete you get to admire the new look of your staircase. They should really make an impact when you open the front door to let guests in.
Need help with staining your handrails? Looking to make an impact with your staircase when you open the front door to guests? Call us any time or book a quote to start the conversation about your handrail refinishing process today.