Advice on redoing stair rails needed

House is about 2 years old...we now realize the one thing we don't like is the color of the stair handrails/spindles/balusters. I'd like to restain them a dark red or brown color. My question is how to prepare the existing rails and spindles to do this. I'm sorry but I don't know the type of wood they are made of. They are a very light tannish color with a shine to them (I'm assuming polyurethane). I'm also assuming it's not an expensive wood...it's not a very expensive house. So is this a elbow grease sanding job or is there a product I can buy to better prepare for staining?
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The Other Mike wrote:

Two approaches.
Paint remover and or a lot of sand paper. This is going to be a lot of work. Lots. ...
Use a colored finish. A clear finish with a stain in the finish. See your local paint store.
--
Joseph Meehan

Dia duit
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If you dont know what type of wood and finish is on then first find out , going in blind you are very likely to just make a mess of everything. Light wood ? Pine and Birch need a prestain treatment, oak doesn`t. Without prestain on pine or birch it will look like crap. A colored poly needs a pro to do it even. Get a few bids from wood refinishers and learn before you start. Stair railings are detailed intricate work, cross grain sanding or a poor staining can ruin a job making clear or paint necessary. You realy have to learn about wood refinishing before taking on such an important piece. Many times ive seen homeowners so proud of their wood job, only to inside laugh at it, knowing it needs to be redone, or is ruined needing paint. Only a pro seeing it can help.
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Colored finish, toner, is usually sprayed to avoid stripes from lapping at wet edge. Gel stains can be applied over a sealed surface and can be wiped on, maybe must be wiped on. Check at www.refinishwizard.com forum
On Sat, 26 Nov 2005 21:19:35 GMT, "Joseph Meehan"

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