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Home » DIY Tutorials » Top DIY Tutorials » How to Stain/Paint an Oak Banister (the shortcut method…no sanding needed!)

How to Stain/Paint an Oak Banister (the shortcut method…no sanding needed!)

Our house was built in 2000.  I’m pretty sure that was right at the height of using orange oak for trim work, kitchen cupboards, and banisters…..because this house was FULL of it when we moved in.  (Remember the kitchen we overhauled??  And the window trimming we changed? Oh, and the fireplace mantel and hearth we built? Yep lots of orange oak.)  I actually like using natural wood pieces in my decor and have nothing against exposed wood.  However, the orange-y stain that this house was saturated with, just really made my eyeballs hurt.  And you know, some people can create magic and make it work, but for me…..decorating with orange-y oak is such a bugger.  Grrrrrr.

So, right after we moved in, we started transforming and/or replacing anything orange.  We replaced doors, trim, hardwood floors, window trim, blinds, etc.  The last thing to get hacked, was the banister.  Mostly because we considered for a long time tearing the whole thing out and building new chunky Cratfsman style Newel Posts, maybe adding iron spindles, possibly tearing out the carpet and installing wood steps, etc.  But to really overhaul it, was going to get really expensive and take a lot of time.  (We even had 2 different woodworkers come in and give us a quote for overhauling the whole banister/posts, so we could work on other things.  One quoted us $10,000 and the other $14,000.  Uhhhh……yeah, no.  I mean, really?!?!)  And the more I thought about wood steps, the more I realized that UN-cushioned steps are just not for my family.  The kids fall down the stairs all the time.  And heck, so do I.  Steve has even fallen down them a time or two.  So, I realized that wood steps would sure be beautiful…but totally not practical for us.

So, we decided to stain the banister and newel posts (and the wood that runs along the base of the spindles) and to paint each of the spindles a creamy white color.  And let me tell you…….for about $50, it turned out beautifully!!!!

And just so you can see what it looked like before we began, in all its orange-y glory —

The stain we used is a really deep Java brown color that I absolutely love.  Not quite black but a really rich tone that pulls in the darker colors in the walnut flooring.  And in case you’re worried??  The stain was the easiest part.  And no, we DIDN’T sand for hours and hours and hours.  In fact, we spent about 20 minutes sanding rough spots and gouges in the wood from the previous owners.  But no need to sand off the old stain and polyurethane.  Nope, you don’t need to! (More info about that below.)

If your spindles are already white, jump on this PRONTO!  This really won’t be a terribly time-consuming project (except taping will take some time).  Or if you don’t care for the two-toned look and want to stain everything the same color — this would be a relatively quick project!  But if you have to paint your spindles like we did…..that takes a little more time.  Okay, a lot more time.  But for a savings of thousands of dollars??  Worth it!

And now, my friends, all of the orange in our home is gone (okay, not the basement….shhhh!!)  And everything ties together and makes me so happy!

***The “Home State” Scrap Wood Art hanging on the wall in the background…is another tutorial.

Oh wait — some of you have seen little snippets of the finished banister and even saw me writing about it a little bit on Instagram over a year ago.  Aaaaaaand, here’s why:

We started the banister process right before Thanksgiving of 2013.  Yes, over a year ago.  However, once the staining was done, I was pregnant with little Oliver.  So this project halted right then and there.  Because, well, pregnancy is a pukey time for me. ;)  So we lived with a dark stained banister and orange spindles for a looooong time.  (Yep, really ugly…but with a head in the toilet, I didn’t care At. All.)  But once Oliver was born (this past summer), we jumped on it and painted those spindles.  It took about a week of painting 10-20 spindles each night, after the kids were in bed.

And then, I still couldn’t stomach sharing a photo here of the finished banister because we hadn’t replaced the carpet yet.  You’ll see down below that we cut along the sides of the old carpet to get it away from the wood while staining and were careless with the carpet since we knew we were replacing it.  So it was ugly.  But, we didn’t want to replace the carpet until we finished all the baseboards upstairs in the all the bedroom closets and painting all the door frames.  Anyway, blah, blah, blah….this house has been a process!  But, we just had our carpets replaced a few days ago and HALLELUJAH — new carpet!!!!

So, I can safely say that even after a year, the stain on the banister and posts has been fantastic!!  And most of that time, it didn’t even have the protective clear coat on it……and it still held up so well!  But now that the clear coat has been applied, it’s even more protected and slightly shiny.  (We opted for a satin finish, which is still plenty shiny, but not a super high gloss.)

I think spindles are typically installed right down into the steps of your stairs.  Ours, however, are attached to some wood that runs along both sides of the steps.  So, beneath the stained wood, we added a bit of painted trim, that really makes the stained wood pop. And I absolutely love this detail all the way around the stairs!

Up at the top of the stairs, there’s a little lookout onto the family room down below, with more spindles and banister.  We stained and painted that too.

I know you either love or hate the two-toned banister/spindle look……but I really love it!  It just gives the eye so much to look at — and is such a cool contrast.

***The “Home State” Scrap Wood Art hanging on the wall in the background…is another tutorial.

Okay, and since I’m a sucker for a good before/after shot……here’s another (even though the angle is slightly different).

***Oh, and do you see those light fixtures that I re-painted so long ago?  I love seeing the before/after of those too!  Painting Light Fixture tutorial HERE.

Okay, I know I took a trillion pictures of this ol’ banister, but I’m just so happy the carpet’s installed.  And that I can finally say the banisters are DONE!  And for very little cost and several shortcuts……this project was very VERY worth it!!!

Want me to show you how to transform your banister??

Okay, you’ve got this! ((fist bump))

Supplies:

  • Gel Stain, General Finishes Brand, Color: Java (I have used a variety of stain over the years and this brand worked really well to cover the orange.  It really soaks in and wears really well.)
  • Polyacrylic Top Coat, General Finishes Brand (we used a water based top coat so that it would dry faster and was less smelly. we also opted for a satin finish…so it wasn’t overly glossy.)
  • sponge brush (for applying stain and top coat)
  • soft cloths (for wiping off excess stain)
  • rubber gloves (the stain will stain your skin and doesn’t come off with soap and water.  because it’s oil based, you’ll need a paint thinner to remove this…so USE GLOVES!)
  • Primer Paint (if you’re painting spindles, a coat of primer helps to seal everything and give yourself a nice base coat before adding your tinted paint)
  • Semi-Gloss Paint (if you’re painting spindles.  if yours are already white, then you don’t need this.  and in case you’re wondering, I painted mine with Swiss Coffee by Benjamin Moore but color matched at Home Depot, just like all the trim/doors/baseboards in my home)
  • Paint brush (if you’re painting spindles)
  • Face mask (the stain is strong and since we stained ours in the winter and couldn’t leave the doors/windows open, we bought a respirator mask for about $25
  • Painters tape (for taping around edges that touch the wall, floor, and/or spindles)

Okay, I know I told you that sanding wasn’t necessary.  And it’s not.  But the banister on our stairs was so beat up in some areas.  So, we sanded in several areas, just to even out the nicks and bumps.  But you don’t need to sand down to the un-stained wood.  There’s no need. :)

And your stairs may not have the wood along the base like ours does, but if you do, we found this sponge sander that got into cracks a little better than the mouse sander.

And again, we only sanded down here to even out the nicks and scrapes in the wood.

If you sanded anything at all, just be sure to wipe off the dust with a wet cloth.

For all the staining that I did, I only needed a quart plus about half of a pint of the stain.  That was it. :)  (I bought this at a local woodworking store. But I’ve also seen it HERE  on Amazon.)

To apply the stain, we used a wide sponge brush and completely covered the banister in a coat of the stain.  Be sure to apply even and smooth coats, without any globbing.  We let the stain sit for about 5-10 minutes (yours may take longer or shorter…..you’ll need to experiment) and kinda soak in….

…and would then wipe off the excess with a soft cloth.  Only work a section at a time so that the stain doesn’t dry in globs.  Once you wipe the stain, you’ll see some of the orange peeking through, and that’s okay.

Oh, and if you’re painting your spindles anyway, don’t worry if you get some of the stain onto them.  Just be sure to smooth out any globs, or it will look bumpy after you paint.  (However, if your spindles are already white, make sure and tape around each one so that your stain doesn’t get onto them.)

Oh, and if you are getting rid of your carpet, consider cutting some of the old carpet so you can really get the stain down where it needs to go.  Otherwise, you’ll need to tape of your carpet too.

Repeat applying the stain, letting it set, and then wiping it off, until everything has been coated.

Then repeat with a second coat, and possibly a 3rd coat.  We waited a day between coats and always looked carefully at the stain in direct sunlight, to see if some areas needed another coat.

Once you’re happy with the stain, paint a coat of your primer onto your spindles.  Use a fine paintbrush around the edges that meet with the stain and be extra careful to not get any paint on the stain.  Then apply 1-2 coats of your semi-gloss paint to each of your spindles.  (We would paint in sections.  I would paint 10 or so spindles and then take a break and work on something else.  It gets a little monotonous…so break it up!)

We opted for this water based top-coat because we knew it would dry faster and not smell as strong.  It worked really well and gave a nice satin shiny finish. However, the lady at the woodworking store where we bought it, said that the more layers you apply, the glossier it will appear. Just an FYI.  (I also found it HERE on Amazon.)

We applied 2 layers with a clean sponge brush (making sure to keep it really smooth with no bubbles or smears) and were happy with the finish. Also, all brands are a little different, so be sure to read the instructions on your particular can. :)

And that’s it!  A complete transformation!

Now go on, be brave, and turn your banister into something you LOVE!

-Ashley

how to stain or paint wood stair railings (oak banisters and newel posts)

How to stain or paint wood stair railings for under $50 the easy way (Oak Banister Makeover)

Yield: Beautiful Stair Railings
Active Time: 1 day
Additional Time: 1 day
Total Time: 2 days
Difficulty: easy
Estimated Cost: $50

Learn how to stain or paint your wood stairs to get a makeover for under $50. Get suggestions on what paint colors to use for your railings, spindles and oak banister. Sanding optional.

Materials

  • Gel Stain (General Finishes Brand, Color: Java)
  • Polyacrylic Top Coat (General Finishes Brand)
  • Primer Paint
  • Semi-Gloss Paint

Tools

  • Sponge sander
  • Mouse Sander (optional for sanding)
  • Paint brush
  • Face mask
  • Painters tape
  • Sponge brush
  • Soft cloths
  • Rubber gloves

Instructions

Sanding Optional:

If you decide to sand, start the project by first sanding down nicks and scrapes using a mouse and/or sponge sander. Wipe off the dust with a wet cloth.

    1. Stain (brand and color of your choice) the banister thoroughly using a wide sponge brush
      General Finish java gel stain
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    2. Wait for the stain to soak in and dry for about 10 minutes. Wipe off excess stain with a wet cloth.
      How to stain/paint an oak banister (the shortcut method…no sanding needed!)
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    3. Continue applying, drying, and wiping stain at different sections of the stairs until everything is coated.
      How to stain/paint an oak banister (the shortcut method…no sanding needed!)
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    4. Optional: add second or third coats between days.
      How to stain/paint an oak banister (the shortcut method…no sanding needed!)
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    5. Next, paint a coat of the primer onto your spindles. Use a fine paintbrush around the edges that meet with the stain and be extra careful to not get any paint on the stain.
      paint spindles
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    6. Next, apply 1-2 coats of your semi-gloss paint to each of your spindles, working one section or about 10 spindles at a time.
      polyacrylic top coat for wood stairs
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    7. Finally, apply 2 layers of the Polyacrylic Top Coat on the hand railings with a clean sponge brush to avoid bubbles or smears.
      How to stain/paint an oak banister (the shortcut method…no sanding needed!)
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    That's it. Here's the before-and-after:

    How to stain/paint an oak banister (the shortcut method…no sanding needed!)
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Notes

  1. Stain dry time could vary more or less than 10 minutes, depending on the brand. Keep an eye on it.
  2. If you get any stain on your spindles, which you're going to paint anyway, be sure to smooth out any globs to prevent bumps. If your spindles are white however, tape around them to avoid getting stain on them.
  3. If your stairs have carpet, cover with tape also.
  4. Look carefully at the stain in direct sunlight to see if some areas needed another coat.
  5. Water based Top Coat dries faster, doesn't smell as strong, and gives a nice satin shiny finish. Keep in mind, the more layers you apply, the glossier it will appear.

. . . . .

Looking for more house projects???

Check out how I used the same method to Stain Our Oak Bathroom Cabinets

DIY Board and Batten……ahhhh, I love this stuff!

Turn a naked window into a beautiful one……..by Trimming Out Your Windows.

. . . . .

Something else a little fun for you……check out this quick video!!

Save

Ashley Johnston
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Ashley Johnston

Owner at Make It & Love It
Ashley Johnston is a professional DIY costume maker, sewist, crafter, and owner of Make It & Love It. She is a mom of 5 and a wife to a very patient (with my craft clutter) husband. In case you’re wondering, she always chooses crafting/sewing/designing over mopping/dusting/wiping base boards……but bathrooms/laundry/full bellies are always attended to. Whew!
How to stain/paint an oak banister (the shortcut method…no sanding needed!)
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Comments

  1. Kendall says:

    Great job! I love the white paint with the stained banisters. What is the paint brand and name of the color you used for the spindles? Did you paint them with a brush? If so, can you see brush marks. Thank you

  2. Bianka Ruiz says:

    I tried this on my banister and it does not seem to work. I lightly sanded to remove the sheen but the gel stain just wiped off the first time. So I let it dry longer but then when I wiped it it was sticky and clumped a little. now I have about three uneven layers that are still sticky 24 hours later. What did I do wrong?

  3. Bened says:

    This blog is fantastic if your trying to build something
    with wood, I found this site: https://bit.ly/PlayWithWood , it learned me
    alot of tricks how to create a masterpiece out of wood, hope it will help
    some of you too, and take woodworking to the next level.

  4. Jenn says:

    I love this!!! Looks amazing- would this work for the steps?

  5. Katie Sapp says:

    For the staining of the banister project….two questions
    1. do you think WHITE stain (same brand and kind that you used) would cover an oak banister. I want white – not pickled white.
    2. Why did you stain the railing but paint the spindles

    Currently have white spindles and oak railings – and want the whole thing white

    THANKS

  6. Jill says:

    The stain is oil based but the clear is water based? I always heard you can’t use oil based with water based.

    How has it held up? How does it look now?
    Can you use oil and water together?

    Love all your work. So beautiful!
    Thank, Jill

  7. Brittany says:

    Hi there! I've done a couple of projects already using this same gel stain and I've had great success with our oak bathroom cabinets. I'm in the middle of doing our stair railings now but finding that some areas just won't dry completely. I know this could be possible if you put the stain too thick but I'm convinced we didn't. We're feeling kind of stuck at this point. Any suggestions on what to try? Thanks!

  8. Lauren says:

    Quick question – if we do sand our banisters, would the stain "stick" better? Our banisters are very glossy so I just want to make sure we are totally good to go. And my husband is out of work right now, so he has the time to sand. lol

  9. Katie Withers says:

    It's such a relief that you don't have to sand off the old stain because that'll save me a lot of time. I want to restain my house to make it look a little more modern than it is right now. I think it'll sell for more that way. https://www.maddenmetals.com/round-handrail/

  10. Shaylee Packer says:

    We recently moved into a home that has the older-looking stair railings. I as trying to decide if it would be worth it to stain them to a different color, or if I just want to take them out and start over with something custom. I do like the color that you chose for your railings, so I will have to keep that in mind as I make my decision. https://beromewoodrails.com/

  11. Stephanie says:

    Hi!

    Just wondering if you used the top coat on the spindles also. Or if that would cause yellowing. I’ve read on the GF website not to put the top coat over white paints.

    Thanks!

  12. Eunice Jimenez says:

    Hi Ashley,

    We just bought a house and it's full of orange, too! This post of yours is really helpful.

    By the way, may I know your wall color?

  13. KRK says:

    Love the stairway transformation. How much paint and primer did you use for spindles?

  14. Rebekah says:

    Hi there! Did you put the general finishes top coat over everything or just the spindles? Thanks!

  15. Sarah says:

    Am I reading it right, you didnt remove the varnish beforehand? The gel stain is just applied directly in the top if the old bannister? We have exactly the same bannister and want to do exactly what you did to achieve that look but we've read in a lot of placed that you need to strip the varnish off first.

  16. Beth Duning says:

    Your post about staining your oak staircase was just what I needed. Please tell me you are still happy with the gel stain and that it is holding up. And no heavy duty sanding of existing stain right? Thanks so muchB

  17. Ariana says:

    I think my house was built in the same orange oak era!! I am dying to do something like this on our stair railings, although mine are no where near as grand as yours. Thank you for letting me know that I do not need to sand my railings back to the bare wood… that has saved me a whole evening of work. I hope they will come out as well as yours.
    xoxo Ari xoxo

  18. Lori says:

    Ashley,

    I have oak cabinets and would like to stain…would this process work to do a white wash or grey stain, or does it need to be darker than the original wood to work? Thanks!

  19. Linda says:

    I went to buy the gel stain you used and store employee told I needed to sand of old poly. Now I am confused do I sand or not sand. I am so excited to try this. What to do sand or not sand?

  20. Laura says:

    Ashley, I just found your blog today and I keep reading, thinking, I SO wish I had found this years ago! I too am living in a home filled with 1990s-era orange (and pickled!) oak, and we’re trying to fix it up in hopes of selling it next year (we bought our condo in 2005 before the real estate bubble burst, so we outgrew it years ago). I was searching for guidance on what to do with my ORANGE OAK banisters—which stretch not only from the ground floor to the 2nd floor, but from the 2nd to the 3rd floor and the LENGTH OF OUR LOFT, which overlooks our living room. They’re so banged up, but there’s so much wood that I knew it would take me 6 months if I had to sand it all down. This gives me hope that I won’t have to! And when I clicked on your link to your kitchen remodel, I found exactly what I’m looking for! The cabinets have been a huge hurdle for me—I’m not afraid of tackling DIY but my husband is, and we have no free time. Or money, LOL. I priced cabinets very similar to yours (which look great with the exact same Lumber Liquidator’s engineered hardwood we installed!) and found myself looking at a $12K kitchen if we paid installers. I’ve always been a bit of an IKEA skeptic, but now I feel like I have to check them out. I also wasn’t crazy with the solution I was given for my blind corner cabinet (ugh), so maybe I could play around more with the design. Anyway, this is my long-winded way of saying thank you thank you thank you for sharing so many details in such an easy-to-follow way. I’m feeling like my updated house might not be as much of a pipe dream as I thought!

  21. Cody says:

    The before picture looked so much better. It’s a sin to cover up the nice wood.

  22. Kim says:

    On the skirt going up the stairs on the wall, why did you leave it white and not stain that too? So looking down the stairs with the walls one side would be dark and the other white. Just trying to figure this out for my stairs as one side is wall going up to the landing and again up to the second floor.

  23. Carol-Ann Burge says:

    Ashley,

    Your home looks stunning!!! Fantastic job that has inspired me to try for myself! I have spent over 1.5hrs reading all comments to see if your floor information was provided. I’ve previously read that you no longer live in that beautiful house, but am hoping you remember where you purchased your flooring!? Was it hardwood or laminate and what was the colour of the flooring?

    All information would be greatly appreciated!

    Thank you

  24. Amanda says:

    Did you sand between the topcoats?

  25. Holly says:

    Hi! We’re just starting this exact project and I love how yours turned out! One quick question: did you poly over the latex paint you used on your spindles?
    Thanks!

  26. Shelley says:

    Have you ever used a different stain color on other projects? Does it work as well? Is it possible to “mix” General Finishes gel stain colors together to get more of a “rustic” color? (i.e. Antique Walnut + Gray). Just wondering if you’ve tried colors other than Java and how it came out with no sanding. THanks! Your projects are fantastic!

  27. Amber says:

    My railings are similar (however a little bit darker oak stain than yours) with white spindles. So you stained the railings first and then re-painted the white spindles? I’m wondering how you stain without getting it all over the spindles.

  28. Sarah Blom says:

    Looks amazing! I plan on doing this in our new house – what is your wall color?

  29. Nicole says:

    We are just getting started on this project. Do you suggest starting with the banisters before the spindles or vice a versa. Just wondering if there is a method to doing one before the other as our spindles and banisters are all orange. My first thought was to do the spindles first, but after reading your post, was wondering if you feel doing your way was best.
    Thanks so much

  30. Lexy says:

    I wanted to send you a message (but the contact page doesn’t seem to work right now, so i’m leaving a comment), because I almost cried when I discovered your website. My husband and I are trying to buy our first house together, and we’re a younger couple and don’t have millions of dollars to have a custom home built or to hire a designer to come and make an existing home the way we’d like it. I’ve been really dejected and upset, lately, coming to terms with the fact that we might just have to settle and live in a house that we may not really love. After reading through dozens of your tutorials, I realized we could save so much money by buying a cheaper house and just making things happen on our own, designing and renovating for a fraction of the cost. You’ve really made my day and brought back the happiness of house hunting for me, so I really wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart. Thank you so much, and please keep the tutorials coming!

  31. Gina says:

    I am going to try this on my new home! I also wanted to ask the brand and color of carpet you installed for the stairs. I love it! :)

  32. Teena says:

    Your home looks beautiful!! I too have an orange banister similar to yours. I appreciate all the tips, but have one question about the spindles. Did you sand them then paint them white or did you just paint right over the existing stain? Thank you for your response!!

  33. Susan says:

    Did you put the satin finish on the painted spindles as well?

  34. Joey says:

    My cabinets has a glossy/shinny finish coat. Do I need to sand it off before applying the gel stain?
    Thanks much

  35. Lisa says:

    Did you have business with this company?
    https://www.jenrogersdesigns.com
    I was looking for an interior designer on Craigslist. one of the pictures from this company was what I remembered seeing from Pinterest. Its the same before after picture of your stairs. It was Craigslist Sacramento, CA region.

  36. Jessica says:

    You have done a beautiful job. Thanks for sharing. What flooring did you use? I love it!

  37. Charles Fowler says:

    Your blog is amazing! Can’t wait to start doing my DIY project to paint my 20 yr old oak cabinets white. I recently had a guy darken my honey oak original stain to a cinnamon color, that turned out to be a disaster. He put a thick coat of polyurethane semi gloss on the top coat. How much sanding would I need to do to get the gloss off? Or do you think only lightly sand and then prime? What number on the sandpaper? Thanks so much

  38. Alex says:

    What color paint is used on the walls? Looks beautiful :)

  39. Cassie says:

    I’m staining my bathroom cabinets I bought all the supplies you listed. Should I be letting each coat of the stain completely dry before wiping it? I’m having trouble with it wiping all off and I am leaving imprints on it from wiping and tips?

  40. Pattye says:

    Ashley, your projects have turned out beautifully. Even a year or so after your posts, you are still inspiring. I am going to redo my my orange oak dining room table this weekend using your techniques. I love the Java color of the stain and will purchase the same brand. I’ll also be purchasing upholstered chairs from World Market and these will bring a whole new set together for about $1000, The set will cost me less than 1/5 of what I would have spent with one of the popular furniture/home catalog and store companies. Thank you!

  41. Blake says:

    Love this look. How did you do your floors?

  42. Susan says:

    I love the transformation! It’s exactly what our stairs need. I’m so tried of the orange oak too. I bought the gel stain and started to apply it last night. It’s very tacky when you touch it. Is this what you experienced too? I’m thinking it may need to dry longer. Also, after you applied the stain with the brush, do you always wipe it off with a cloth afterwards? I felt like I was wiping the stain right off. Any tips you can provide would be much appreciated. Thanks!

  43. Urvy says:

    Love the wall paint! Did you do it all over the house? Does it feel dark or is it fresh and airy?

  44. heather smith says:

    this article…it’s like you live at my house. orange oak. love for craftsman style. same ideas as us! SO glad you did this first for me to copy!! <3

  45. Tim says:

    What did you use to strip the poly off the old rail system? I have orange rails and hate them!!

  46. Angela says:

    I was going to sand and use minwax. Because of your post I drove downtown to a specialty shop to match our new hardwood floors to a General Fin is color. 3 days and coats later we have gorgeous matching bannister (to our floors). So easy. Next painting the spindles. Best of all we are installing the wood stairs and we’re going to use a combo of 2 stains for the rightbcolor. Now we are using the same General Finish color. Thank you so much. All your added hints helped make it easier for us.

  47. Karla says:

    We started using the gel stain on kitchen cabinets and the stain still hasn’t dried and it’s been almost 9 hours. Is this normal? I washed the cabinets before staining but didn’t sand per instructions at paint store.

  48. Cheryl says:

    Ashley. Sorry. I entered by email address incorrectly. Same information and question as above.

  49. Cheryl says:

    Ashley: I’m not certain if you are still monitoring this post since I’m sort of late getting in the game. Your project turned out so awesome. I am ready to starting eliminating my oak orange bannister and cabinets (both in the bathroom and kitchen). The base (where your spindles attaché) are painted white like my spindles. Do you know if I can use the gel stain on a painted surface. I would much rather have the railing and base in the gel strain (rather than the base being white), but I’m not certain if the stain will work. Any ideas? Thanks.

  50. Brigid says:

    Hi!

    What is the make/name/color of the carpeting you put in on your stairs after staining the bannisters and spindels? I have the exact same BEFORE in my new home and want to try this project. Love your carpet choice!

  51. Karyn says:

    Beautiful. I was wondering what paint color you used in your foyer?

  52. ann says:

    question… to paint the spindles did you remove them paint then reinstall or paint as is? if so did you put lots of tape for precision or use a small brush? I have this on my list to do but am scared of making a mess.

    Thanks

  53. Laurie says:

    Hi Ashley! Your home looks beautiful. Fantastic transformation on the bannister! Have you tried using a different color of the stain over all that orange-y oak or you have only tried the Java color? Im wanting to do my cabinets (they are the orange-y oak with gloss over them.. they are so ugly! lol) but Im not sure I want to go quite as dark as your bannister so Im wondering if Im able to go a little lighter or if the orange is going to show through still. Any insight?

  54. Christine says:

    Wow! I love it! I was just taping my spindles and took a break to see if there was a shortcut and ran across this post. I’m also in the process of painting my kitchen cabinets the same color. I’m waiting for my husband to finish adding some decorative trim to the cabinets before I finish painting. I thought I’d make myself useful and start prepping for the next project. I’ve been using the rustoleum transformations kit in kona and the color looks identical to yours. No sanding necessary. If I run out when I’m done with the cabinets I think I’ll switch to the product that you used, when I paint my banisters.Thank you for the pictures and info!

  55. Cindy says:

    I did my bathroom cabinets with the stain but used a method which didn’t wipe off between coats (it stated specifically to not wipe off) and it took forever to dry plus it seemed to lift stain in places on the second and third coats. I think that I will give your method a try and am hoping to have a better more efficient stain project!

  56. Keisha says:

    I really enjoyed this article, I was dealing with the same dilemma and had a laugh when I saw not only your orang-y banister but the exact same paint color and carpet that I have. I’ve already changed my orange-y hardwood floors and next will be this project and my orange-y wooden blinds. Thanks for your vision, it’s perfect!

  57. bryan says:

    Love it. Great Job. One question, did you put the last top coat on the painted spindles as well as the stained banister?

  58. Kim says:

    I absolutely loved the look of this stairway! So i had to try it myself. I’m almost finished with all the white banisters. But I have to say, I’m not a fan of the gel stain. It’s been two weeks and it still hasn’t dried everywhere. And places it was dry rubbed off. I was going off your suggestion that sanding wasn’t required. My banister didn’t have any dings and didn’t have any high gloss coat on it or anything. It’s twelve years old so I didn’t think I had to worry about it. Well I was wrong. I’m having to go over areas with my black spray paint. So lesson learned. Still like the look, just would sand first if you use any kind of stain!

  59. Joni pilmaier says:

    Did your railing turn out closer to black or dark brown? It looks different in pictures.

  60. Sheri says:

    Just did my banisters and LOVE it!! Just wondering if this would work on a dining room table too?
    Would love to change to darker colour.
    Thanks

  61. Sparklinone says:

    My general finishes, after one coat did not really dry. When I went to put on the second coat it literally took off the first. I don’t know what I did wrong. I used a Deglosser desander liquid and also sanded some areas prior to application. Suggestions?

  62. Tara says:

    Hi- I love your work. I was told you need to remove the glaze polish from the oak before staining, but it seems you didn’t need to? I know sanding takes off the finish but you said sanding isn’t necessary. Please let me know!
    Thanks

  63. Andy says:

    Did you topcoat everything ? I noticed in your step-by-step you did it last, but didn’t specify if it was just the rails and posts or if you top coated the spindles as well ?

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Hi, I'm Ashley

Hi, I’m Ashley—the DIY-enthusiast behind this crazy blog!

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