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Staining and Painting an Oak Banister (Flashback Friday)

Updating oak stair rails

It is Friday again!  I didn't have a mid-week post this week because I was busy working on my new project gallery at the top of this page (if you are reading this on a mobile phone or via a reader, you should TOTALLY click over and check out the full version!)
KimSixFixBlog headerAfter 5 years of blogging, there were just too many projects for my old galleries (which felt like they scrolled on and on and on..) So I broke them down into the following general categories:
DIY Projects
and of course, the ever popular Home Tour. 

Most of those categories are broken down into smaller sub-categories, which should make finding what you are looking for, a lot easier (I hope.)

At this point there 90% of my old projects have been put into their proper galleries.. I do have a few left to enter (and will need to constantly update as I go along) but they are complete enough to start browsing.

If you find any broken,missing or misdirected links, please let me know.  My readers are my best only copy-editors.  

Now, it's time for this week’s revived post: 

In January 2012 I decided I could no longer stomach a staircase of pure oak.  The treads were oak, the risers were oak, the hand rail was oak and the balusters were oak.  TOO MUCH OAK!

So I decided to stain the rails dark and paint the balusters white.    

The condensed version:: 
  1. Removed rails
  2. Spray painted hardware
  3. Sanded the rails and balusters
  4. Stained the Rails (with traditional wood stain.. in Minwax Ebony)
  5. Sealed the rails (I used Minwax PolyAcrylic)
  6. Primed the balusters (I used Kilz Premium)
  7. Painted the balusters 
  8. Rehung rails
A SUPER DETAILED tutorial (with lots of photos) can be found here

This is how it turned out:
Oak stair rail makeover
Please forgive the cat’s photobomb.  That is a rookie blogger mistake! 

I did this project more than 2 years ago, and I had some people ask me how it held up (since there are tons of grungy little fingers touching the rail and it gets a TON of wear and tear.) 

I can honestly say (besides the dust that has accumulated on it) it looks as good today as it did the day I painted it.   You can see the rails here in my post about the baby gate.. They are still gorgeous dark brown.. no scuffs or scratches. 

Since I already had the trim paint and spray paint for the hardware, the only thing I purchased for this project was  $5 can of stain.   I think it is my absolute FAVORITE five-dollar project EVER. I use it everyday, and it still looks great.  And it makes me sooooo happy when I look at it.  I just really hated all that oakiness. It may not be for everyone, but I love it!  
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  1. kelly @ view along the wayMarch 16, 2014 at 10:09 AM

    Such a gorgeous result! Now I'm off to check out your home tour. I LOVE home tours! :)

  2. Karen @ Dogs Don't Eat PizzaMarch 16, 2014 at 5:17 PM

    I love it. You may have just convinced me to finally stain and paint my rail and balusters! Thanks for sharing.

  3. Thanks Kelly! I love your blog, so I'm super excited to see you stopped by!

  4. It definitely feels less dated.. may not be the perfect solution, but it is an easy/inexpensive one!

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  6. Hi! I am wanting to do this in my house too, but have a question. The railing that is not on the wall (the one over the balusters)...Do you remove that one as well or did you stain it while attached to balusters? If you do remove it, how is this done? Does it pop off the balusters? Totally clueless here so any help would be much appreciated! It does look great! Good thing about mine is my balusters are already white!

  7. No, that one does come off. You just stain it in place. You need to tape off the walls, but you don't have to worry as much about the balusters, since you paint them second, if you get any stain on them, it will be covered up!

  8. After reading all your kitchen redo blogs and looking at pictures I am wondering if your ceiling is painted that same tan color or if it is more of a white? They look the same in the photos. I'm curious bc I'm going to be redoing my cabinets soon as well and I had assumed it would be best to make the cabinets the same "swiss coffee" white as my baseboards/ crown molding and ceiling. Thoughts?

  9. The ceiling is white, the baseboards are still white and all the other built ins (in the room attached to the kitchen) are white. Because the taupe of the cabinets never comes directly 'in contact' with the ceiling or the baseboards that are exposed, you don't notice the color difference. I wouldn't make the ceiling the same as the cabinet color.

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  11. What kind of paint did you use? Matte, or glossy?

  12. This post is wonderful...You know the kind of wonderful that causes me to want to be your BFF all internet like......Minus the creepy stalking you part!!!!


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