How to Stain a Banister

Stained wood provides beautiful appeal to the features in your home.  Fortunately, it is also very easy to do and does not take a lot of time out of your schedule.  Having stained banisters and railings can provide a unique look to your home that is attractive and appealing to the eye.  Not to mention fingerprints are often left behind on the bare wood of the banister.  Staining the banister protects it from stains and scratches while also giving you the satisfaction of knowing you have a beautifully enhanced staircase.



The first step toward staining your banister is sanding the wood.  You need to sand the wood to prepare it for the stain.  Find a medium grit sanding sponge to do the trick.  You will also need a fine grit sander for some additional light sander.  If you choose to sand the banister, consider a hand sander. This will give the entire banister a smooth finish, and helps to remove oils from the banister. Some prefer to skip the sanding altogether but sanding is best to clean dirty wooden banisters as well as to polish out any worn spots in the wood.  Sanding the entire banister down gives you a fresh face to work with.

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Once you are finished sanding, make sure you clean up and wood dust particles from around your area.  If you stain before cleaning up the particles of dust and debris, you risk having these blend in with your stain.  Gritty stain is an uncomfortable feel on the hand and may result in an uneven, dirty stained look.  Wipe down the railings and banister with a cloth to remove any sawdust that might linger after sanding.


blue banister
By Justin Scott Campbell under CC BY-ND 2.0



Tape off areas on your banister that you do not wish to have stained.  This is especially important for carpeted stairs.  The last thing you want to do is drip stain onto the carpet of your stairs, only to have to remove and replace the carpet.  Tape along the bottom of the railings and posts to ensure that you are not staining certain areas before you begin.


Once you have your banister sanded, cleaned and taped, you will want to test your stain.  You may think you have picked a stain color that you like only to discover afterward that you do not like it at all.  You want to find a stain that looks good with the color of flooring that you have.  For example, if you have dark hardwood floors, you will want a darker stain and lighter stain for light colored hardwood floors.  Test an area of your banister where no one can see such as on the underside.  Let it dry.  You may find out that you need a second coat of stain or a different color of stain altogether.

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Stain The Banister

Once you have tested and found the right color of stain, it is time to get down to it.  Staining a banister is a simple task.  If you have children in your home that need to use the stairs to get to their rooms, you may want to choose a day that they are at school of find someone to babysit them for you.  The last thing you want is for your children to grab hold of a newly stained banister and leave fingerprints in it before it is dry.

Tags: banister, Handrail, stain banister

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