The staircase was a blonde oak that looked dated and terrible - not to mention the ugly mirrors that they had on the wall – can you say circa 1980? The staircase is the first thing you see when you enter the house and this is definitely the not the first impression I want to give people.
After pouring over many pictures online I settled on a dark stained handrail with white spindles. I debated on doing the entire thing white, but decided the dark railing would hid the hand-prints better.
Now just a warning if you are planning on doing this, it takes more time than you think, but is totally worth it! Here is a quick breakdown on the steps I did:
- Clean all the wood. I just vacuumed it all and used a damp cloth with all-purpose cleaner
- Sand, then sand and sand some more. I only sanded the banister and the end posts and it still took a LONG time. I bought a small sander like this one and it helped a lot. I couldn't imagine doing it all by hand.
- After you sand you will have a ton of dust so make sure you clean it all before you move onto staining.
- I took about 3 coats of stain to get it covered the way I wanted it. I used a black stain and if I had to do it again, I’d probably paint it or use a gel stain. It was tough getting it to go on even and not run.
- After the stain was dry I applied a heavy duty primer to the spindles. I used Glidden Gripper Primer as advised by a professional painter. I only did one coat, but probably could have done two.
- Then came time to paint. I painted the spindles the same white that was used on our baseboards and doors. It took two coats of paint to get complete coverage. I used a small brush to get in all the little cracks of the spindles, which added to the amount of time this took.
- Underneath our railing there was a brass piece that holds the spindles. You can’t stain brass and I originally thought I’d just leave it, but it stuck out like a sore thumb. So I bought some black craft paint (for metal) and a small brush and painted the underneath of the handrail. It looks so much better and really didn't take too much additional time.