Painting a handrail

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  #1  
Old 06-19-07, 12:05 PM
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Painting a handrail

My wife and I just bought a split level house. The seller did alot of work prior to us purchasing it including painting the handrail white. Yes white. This is not just a simple round handrail found in a stairwell but rather the main focal point when you enter the house. The rail is long and the first thing you see when you enter. It's made of redwood 2x2 for spindles and 2x6 on edge for the handrail. If this sounds like your deck handrail that's because it IS exactly like a deck handrail. (I wonder what they were thinking when they installed that ugly thing inside of a house). To make it even more fun, the painter decided to caulk the joints between the spindles and handrail. Ugh! We had considered complete disassembly, stripping and staining but we feel that we still won't like the look and it would just be a waste of money, time and energy. Ultimately we intend on replacing the rail entirely but until such time we need to do something about this ugly and easily dirtied hand rail. (It was filty before we had even lived here for 1 week). We would like to make it a dark reddish-brown color but I'm not certain which type of paint would be best. The rail has a coat of stain (maybe a sealer or polyurethane on top??), then water-based white primer & water-based white paint. We live in Colorado where it's very very dry and the relative humidity inside the house is fairly low most of the time. Would an oil based paint stand up to the abuse that a handrail receives better than water based? The shiny finish that oil gives might look nice but maybe too shiny. Our furniture is all very dark reddish-brown w/ a satin sheen and we'd like to match that. Thanks for any tips.
 
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Old 06-19-07, 01:01 PM
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Oil base enamel is the most durable although waterborne enamel runs a close second. Both are superior to latex.

Sand and clean [remove cleaner residue also] and apply 2 coats of whichever enamel you prefer. Both come in 3 basic sheens; satin, semi-gloss and gloss.
 
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Old 07-12-07, 11:39 AM
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I ended up buying an acrylic enamel semi-gloss. We painted the handrail a bright red first and then a thinned down coat of chocolate brown over that leaving just a bit of the red showing through. It's beautiful and matches our dark brown/red furniture rather well. Thanks for the advice - we're quite happy with the results.
 
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Old 07-12-07, 04:08 PM
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You might want to apply a coat of waterbase poly over the handrail - it will protect your faux painting from wearing off.
 
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