Can you recommend a clear coat for painted stair banisters/ handrails?


Hi, I've started an ambitious painting project and decided to paint all the trim, baseboards, windows, door frames, and doors in my house, because the honey oak was dated and in terrible condition from previous homeowners. Along with this came the fireplace and stair banisters and handrails, which has taken over my life, ugh. I've been using Sherwin Williams pro classic latex enamel semi gloss in extra white, but for banisters and handrails I've been using Sherwin Williams emerald latex in Iron Ore.I want to put some sort of clear coat over the handrails/ banisters (everything that's black) as well as maybe the top of the fireplace.What kind of topcoat would be best? I was looking at General Finishes high performance water based topcoat in either satin or semi gloss, but I'm also considering something oil based because lots of hands will be touching it, and my cats sometimes walk on it and their nails might scratch it so I need something that dries very hard.Thank you!!

  7 answers
  • Gk Gk on Mar 05, 2020

    Hello Erin! As long as you have been using Sherwin Williams products I would go back to the Sherwin Williams store to see which product would work the best with their products. I know it can get pricey but Sherwin Williams usually offers some sale prices on and off for their products. Good choice in paint by the way-perfect choice for those particular jobs! I would choose a matte or satin clear finish. I am not a "shiny" person so I am not fond of gloss or semi gloss clear finishes.

  • Kathy Gunter Law Kathy Gunter Law on Mar 05, 2020

    Polycrylic would be my first idea but I would double check with a Sherwin Williams rep as Gk suggested.

    If you hadn't already painted, I would have recommended RustOleum's enamel paint oil based paint. It's the most durable all in one I've used.

  • on Mar 05, 2020

    What a huge project! Way to go. :) We usually use water based polyurethane for clear coats. Doesn’t yellow. :)

  • William William on Mar 05, 2020

    Go with the water based topcoat. Any good brand will work. Put down three coats. Each coat should dry in about 1 to 2 hours. Oils based has a yellow cast to it and does yellow over time. General Finishes is one of the top brands. I prefer Minwax products since I've used them for decades.

  • Erin Good Erin Good on Mar 05, 2020

    Thanks everyone! I've already painted, and smSherwin Williams makes minwax

  • Pamela Pamela on Mar 06, 2020

    Hi ! I would check with a paint store ! First , I was told that you shouldn't mix paints like latex and oil based and for above the fireplace , you might need to use a heat resistant paint . Good luck !!! I hope you are taking pictures , so you can post your re do !!! 😊

  • Benjamin Moore Ever Clear