The DIY Doghouse
The DIY Doghouse
  • Hometalker
  • Langhorne, PA

Stair Rail Update

9 Materials
2 Days

Our stair rail was the head of the 1980's welcoming committee before it got this much needed update into the new millennium. Check out how we transformed this oak beast into the belle of our foyer!
stair rail update
Here’s our stair rail.  Not the best, yet far from the worst. Again, this is just another piece of 1980’s builders grade material that plagues our house.
stair rail update
Use the painters tape to tape around the spindles and cover the carpet.
stair rail update
I had a little helper for this step 
stair rail update
Then take the old sheet and pull it through each spoke. The tape is for the white paint, the sheet is to protect the carpet against the wood stain.

(This sheet was on my bed in college. But it has been given a different purpose in it’s new life here at the Halle House. It has been a part of every project we’ve ever done. There’s 5 different colors of stain on it and probably 4 different colors of paint. When I said “this will never go on a bed again,” I sincerely meant that. Use one sheet that you can dedicate to all your DIY’s.)
stair rail update
Take your dish towel and cut it in half.

Use one half of the towel to apply the wood stain remover to the railing. WEAR GLOVES. This stuff is no joke. If you have a paper cut and get this in there, you will feel the death of a million bee stings in your hand.

The can says “apply liberally.” I thought that was a joke, like “lather, rise. Repeat.” It’s not. It will not remove the stain properly if you don’t slodge it on there (slodge might not be a word, but you know what I’m getting at). You will know when the finish is ready to be removed when it starts to bubble up. Give it about 5 mins.
stair rail update
Then scrape it off! Once you remove the finish, you can sand the rest of it down. Here’s what the railing looked like after the finish was removed and sanded. It’s not as dark and polished as it was before. It looks raw. Make sure the surface is smooth.

Note: When you’re sanding, move with the grain of the wood.
stair rail update
I vacuumed after I finished sanding. Wipe down the surface to remove any small dust particles. I also vacuumed the surface of the railing with the vacuum attachment. I like things really clean 

With the other half of your dish towel, apply the wood stain. Use latex gloves if you have some. Stain is incredibly annoying to remove from your skin.

stair rail update
Welcome to the new millennium, wood! Let that dry for a few hours before you start painting the spindles. It’s better to work when the stain is tacky and not wet. It will take a full 42 hours for the stain to completely dry. An oscillating fan will speed up the process.

This part is pretty straight forward… paint the rest white!
stair rail update
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Suggested materials:

  • Wood finish remover  (Home Depot)
  • Semi Gloss White paint  (Home Depot)
  • Wood Stain of your choosing  (Home Depot)
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The DIY Doghouse

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


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