If you have painted handrails, then this is obviously a piece of cake. Painting them the same color, or even a new color is no big deal However, if you have stained handrails that are looking a little worse for wear, than it is time to do something. The time to put a fresh finish on handrails (if you want to keep them stained), is prior to the point of no return. When is that? Before they start to show bear wood. The reason is, in order to refinish a handrail would require a lot of time, and is just to costly from a time perspective. You would be better off replacing the handrails and finishing them as you want than to try to strip them. The reason is, in order to apply stain to wood, you need to have 100% raw and unfinished wood. Otherwise, the finish will simply sit on top of the finish, and you will still see the the old stain or finish. And the biggest reason for the difficulty is that handrails have a ton of crevices that take forever to get into. If the handrail is flat, or square, with no patterns, then it would be okay to refinish, and not too difficult. The reality is however, that most handrails (at least in Denver) have a curved, and un-smooth profile.
How to paint the stained handrails
First thing that needs to happen is to break down the finish. This can be done by two methods. It can either be cleaned with solution that breaks down the finish, or you can use a high grit sandpaper and rough up the surface. This will give the primer the ability to bite into the finish. This is really important because this if your foundation. If you have a loose bond or foundation, nothing you do on top of it will be helpful.
Before painting handrails, you need to prime the handrails. We like to use a good bonding primer and then a good stain blocking primer. Primers are very important in the painting process, and choosing the right one can make or break your whole project. If the handrail is stained with a dark stain, the stain blocker is very important. Otherwise, you will end up apply additional coats of paint, and you may never cover the dark stain.
The last step is to paint. We suggest using an oil base paint on handrails. Latex paint just has the problem with grabbing too much dirt, and you will spend too much time cleaning it. Oil based paint is best on a handrail because dirty hands are always touching it. You will also want to thin down the paint, and apply light coats. Two to three will be needed, just depending on the conditions and the final color. Of course you want to use a high quality paint like Benjamin Moore’s Oil based Satin Impervo. It produces a fantastic smooth finish, and has a really nice soft sheen.
If you are interested painting handrails, please give us a call at 303-346-1694 or contact us here.[/full]