Best Method to Refinish Hand Rail?


  #1  
Old 10-31-07, 07:20 AM
L
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 6
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Best Method to Refinish Hand Rail?

I have about 90 foot of hand railing that needs to be refinished. The hand rail is natural wood covered with polyurethane. What are the advantages and disadvantages of staining verses painting? What are the steps necessary to do the staining and painting? Which would be easier? How long of a project am I looking at?

I also have to paint the spindles once the hand rail is done.

Any other advice would be apprciated. Thanks.
 
  #2  
Old 10-31-07, 09:22 AM
George's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: South Hill, Va. USA
Posts: 2,889
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
In order to stain you would have to strip the current finish, stain, then reapply a clear finish - polyurethane would be my choice.

Painting requires lightly sanding the present finish, application of a good primer, then top coating with paint.

Painting is quicker and easier.

Refinishing with poyurethane, whether you stain or not, will be more durable.

The painting could be done in a weekend, assuming you have two 10-12 hour days.

The stripping, staining and refinishing will take a week or longer.
 
  #3  
Old 10-31-07, 11:01 AM
L
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 6
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
George,
If I go the paint route, should I use a regular brush or a foam rubber brush so that the brush strokes don't show too much? Or what else do I need to do so that the handrail looks smooth?

Should I use semi gloss or high gloss paint?

Thanks.
 
  #4  
Old 10-31-07, 11:36 AM
George's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: South Hill, Va. USA
Posts: 2,889
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Generally speaking, the higher the sheen the more durable the finish, but's it's really a matter of preference. I'd use a semigloss oil .

As to brush, whatever works best for you. I personally don't like foam brushes for this type of work. A 2-1/2" angle sash brush would be my preference. Large enough to cover and small enough to handle easily.

If you use oil, it will settle out more completely.The secret to eliminating brush marks is to NOT OVERBRUSH. Put it on, come back over it ONCE, and leave it alone. The more you 'worry' with it, the messier it will look.

BTW - when painting the spindles, DO NOT paint up and down. Paint around the piece. (This is assuming the spindles are round - if they're square 'pickets', up & down is fine.)
 
  #5  
Old 10-31-07, 12:01 PM
L
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 6
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Thanks, George.

A couple more questions: What grade of sandpaper should I use on the polyurethane? Do I just need one coat of primer? Also, one or two coats of paint?

I appreciate the help. I wasn't finding any threads that related to exactly what I need to do.
 
  #6  
Old 10-31-07, 12:50 PM
M
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: USA - N.E.Tn
Posts: 48,087
Received 398 Votes on 354 Posts
1 coat primer followed by 2 coats enamel. Sand lightly between coats. Quality paints will both apply and look better = go to a real paint store for coatings

I would highly recomend reconsidering using paint on the railing. Hand rails tend to get a lot of use and paint will need recoating often - plus frequent cleaning between painting. No problems with painting the pickets/ballisters - they should look good long term. Unless you want to change the stain to a lighter color you may be able to dress up the current handrail finish.

120-180 grit sandpaper should work fine for the intial sanding. Sand the primer and between coats of enamel with 180-220 grit.
 
  #7  
Old 10-31-07, 01:55 PM
L
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 6
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
When you say "dress up the current handrail finish", what do you mean? We want to go darker than the current natural wood look. Maybe to a dark cherry wood finish.
 

Last edited by marksr; 10-31-07 at 05:07 PM. Reason: removed quote
  #8  
Old 10-31-07, 05:06 PM
M
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: USA - N.E.Tn
Posts: 48,087
Received 398 Votes on 354 Posts
If the rail is in decent condition, you can sand it with 180-220 grit and apply a fresh coat of poly. Since you want to change the color, I'd recomend using a tinted poly [like minwax polyshades] It doesn't make a drastic color change but it will shade it toward whatever tint color you've chosen. 2 coats will change the color more than 1. Any more than 2 and you start to loose the wood grain. It is always a good idea to apply clear poly over the tinted poly so the tint won't wear off.
 
  #9  
Old 11-01-07, 05:12 AM
George's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: South Hill, Va. USA
Posts: 2,889
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
One addendum to what marksr said:

If you do use polyshades (or a similar product) keep it well stirred and apply carefully. Since you're putting on color AND finish in one application there's a possibility of 'streaking' the color if the application isn't uniform. My advice against overbrushing is critical in this instance.
 
  #10  
Old 11-01-07, 08:28 AM
L
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 6
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Marksr and George,
Thanks for the help. Maybe I'll do a few test areas to decide which way I want to go.

If you have any other thoughts, I'd appreciate them.
 
  #11  
Old 11-02-07, 07:15 AM
L
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 6
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I've decided to go with the easiest and probably best way based upon what I now understand. I'm going to sand and recoat the natural wood with new coats of Poly. I think I want high gloss, but what sheen do you both recommend for handrails?

Also, any advice on brands to use or techniques to use.

Thanks again.
 
  #12  
Old 11-02-07, 07:25 AM
M
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: USA - N.E.Tn
Posts: 48,087
Received 398 Votes on 354 Posts
The 3 basic sheens are satin, semi-gloss and gloss. What sheens to use is really a personal choice. All will preform well although satin tends not to show wear as much as a glossier surface would. If you want high gloss - buy gloss

Application would be best using a quality china bristle brush [for oil base]
 
 

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description: