Banister Makeover

Monday, May 2, 2016

After enduring honey oak cabinets in my kitchen for 8 1/2 years, one of the things that I insisted we would not have in the new house is... you guessed it, honey oak.  It shocks and horrifies me how many houses have honey oak cabinets in their kitchens.  Hubby thinks I'm the odd one for not liking them because not only did so many houses have them - they even brag about it in their listing descriptions! But I keep referring him back to the many pinterest posts on how to makeover oak cabinets and telling him that I am far from the only one!  Anyway, I was thrilled to find a house without oak cabinets in the kitchen, but I do have oak in the bathrooms and the stair banisters.

The banisters were removed when we first began painting, and they hung out in the basement for several months because, well, there were a lot of other things occupying our time.  Instead of putting them back on as is, I decided it would be the perfect time to refinish them.  One more thing checked off the list and NOT put off til a distant future day (like never?).

Hubby was a bit nervous about me doing this since replacements would cost.... well I don't know how much but probably a lot.  I somehow convinced him that I would take good care of them.  I decided to follow the directions from this post, which happens to be about cabinets, but the steps worked out pretty much the same.  I'm not going to go into details because, really, these instructions are wonderful.  Just go read her tutorial.  Really :)

I am, however, going to share my own process photos so you can see how similar this was to the cabinet refinish and because I'm so happy with how they turned out.... well, I just want to brag a little.  It kind of makes me wish I had been brave enough to do this in our old kitchen... maybe I wouldn't have wanted to move SOOOO badly.... yeah, j/k I really wanted to move for more than the oak cabinets.  (but they were up there on the list of reasons why :P)


Yeah, I didn't really plan on refinishing these things so quickly, so I didn't get any decent pictures of them before they came off.  These are my general stairwell Before pictures, old carpet and all.


Lightly sand:

First light coat of stain:

2nd coat

Here's where I deviated from the tutorial... I wiped on the second coat with the handy dandy sock and personally, I didn't see a difference in the darkness of the stain between the first and second coat.  I decided I really wasn't interested in doing number of coats in order to achieve the dark, rich brown that I was going for, so I pulled out a foam brush and put it on heavier than my first coat.  Not heavy, just heavier.  I did get some streaks and brush marks because of it (which disappeared after all the layers were done anyway), but it served the purpose and got it dark in a hurry.  So use your own judgement and preferences on your choice of application product.

3rd coat




Honestly I only spent a few hours of actual work on these, but because of the lengthy drying time, it was spaced out over an entire week.  The amount of effort was totally worth it, though.  And the gel stain was only $9!  Make sure you seal it with your choice of polyurethane or other clear coat, though, or the stain will likely rub off on whatever brushes against it (I applied two coats of a satin polyurethane).  They turned out great and it's a really close match to our floors.

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