Something about oak banisters just screams outdated in our more modern home. I wanted to do something easy to bring them back to life! Follow this tutorial for an easy staircase update that doesn’t require sanding!
Things You Will Need:
- Gel Stain – I HIGHLY recommend general finishes java. If I could go back I’d use that instead. It is thicker and has richer color. I used Varathane Gel Stain in black (a little goes a long way so get a small container)
- White paint (I used behr pure ultra white in a semi-gloss)
- Foam brush
- Paint brush
- Small detail paint brush (for spindles)
- Several thin rags
- Painters tape
Step 1: Clean and prep
Make sure you clean the surface really well. Because you are using a gel stain which goes on more like a paint sanding isn’t necessary but you can always lightly sand if you prefer. It will give the stain something to stick to better. I did not sand and had no issues. Once the area is clean take your painters tape and make sure you tape off the walls and the stair treads. I HIGHLY recommend putting paper on your stairs. No matter how careful you are, you are bound to get it on the carpet like I did in a few places and you’ll regret spending a few extra minutes to cover them. Don’t worry about taping your spindles. Because you will be painting them white, its not worth the extra time spending to tape them off individually.
Step 2: Apply the gel stain
I used a foam brush to apply the stain. You can use a rag to wipe some of it off to get your desired color but you do not have to wipe it like you do with a traditional stain. It will take up to 48 hours to dry but you can leave it thicker if you’d like. Make sure you apply thin even coats.
This is what it looked like before I wiped any of the color off.
Step 3: Paint the spindles
Use a combination of your foam brush and regular paint brush to paint the spindles. I found the foam brush to have the best coverage but do what works best for you. Foam brushes also help avoid brush strokes. Make sure you do thin even coats and avoid any dripping. Use the fine detail paint brush to get close to the edge. This part requires patience. I was afraid if I taped off the spindles after staining it would pull up the stain so I would either wait until its completely dry or just be cautious. Mine took about 3 coats to get them to my liking.
Step 4: Let dry
My stain took about 48 hours to dry but was still a tad wet in some places. Depending on how thick you left your gel stain you may have to wait longer. Make sure you run a fan or open the windows to get good ventilation.
Step 5: Apply a polyurethane top coat
This is important so that it stays nice for the years to come. Purchase any kind of polyurethane (wipe on is easiest with a rag) and apply a nice even coat.