My wife wants the interior handrail (varnished wood) painted the exact color
as I have some trim. For that Im using SherwinWilliams "Superpaint"
(interior latex satin).
Knowing what kind of abuse a handrail gets, Im thinking:
* Clean it good
* Sand it up a bit
* Prime (Water based 123?? Oil Bullseye???)
* Paint (Use what Ive got, mentioned above. OK; 2 coats)
* Seal it
If heard of some people having good luck with urethane (water based?? oil
based??) over paint.
So..... what do you think??
Oil or water based primer??? (Im thinking oil, to better bond with the
Oil or water based urethane??? (Im thinking water, to better bond with the
Zinnser BIN is great stuff and pretty much a universal primer. I'm
not a big fan of Kilz, or water-based 123. I prefer a primer to be
Use gloss or semi-gloss, it'll be much easier to keep clean.
Not necessary with good gloss or semi-gloss trim paint. This will
also make it easier for you do repaint as necessary. Go to a real
paint store and explain what you need. All good brands, like Ben
Moore, Sherwin Williams, Pratt & Lambert, etc... have what you need.
I would not use satin or flat on an active handrail, as skin touching
it will add a shine over time.
Oil based clear coats will yellow in a short time, which is often a
positive over wood. This is usually a negative over paint. I haven't
seen a water based clear sold in a home center that I've liked.
I'd probably leave it some shade of wood, but this is rec.woodworking.
I'm currently replacing all of the painted woodwork and doors in my
home with new wood, finished in toned clear coats.
Sears Best Weathereater with Polyurethane, made by Sherwin Williams exterior
latex should doo fine. Covers well with no need for too much preperation.
Skip the clear coat afterwards. Exterior paints doo better than most
If you use a latex product over your oil varnished handrail it will
eventually peel. If talking your wife out of painting over beautiful wood
is not an option then this is what you need to do: Sand the varnish
lightly, prime with an oil based primer (Sherwin-Williams will help you out,
probably with their oil ProBlock, since you shop there anyway) and paint at
least two coats of an oil based paint. If your handrail is really dark you
may want to use two coats of primer, as the shape of a handrail does not
lend itself to getting great coverage, esp by brush. You can use a
semi-gloss latex paint like SW Super Paint or latex ProClassic (which also
comes in oil) if you really want, but nothing beats oil for durability yet.
Sherwin-Williams satin Super Paint is considered a "low lustre" sheen. They
will even go so far as to tell you that SuperSatin (as we painters call it
for brevity) is in the flat family. It will not work on a handrail very
well for very long. It is essentially a wall paint. Semi-gloss in the same
color will appear a shade or so darker depending on the available lighting
but it will hold up much better. Don't waste time, money, or elbow grease
doing bizarre things like using the wrong paint and adjusting the sheen with
polyurethane. You can use oil poly over oil paints without much problem.
Typically, oil products can be used over latex paint, but there is no reason
to buck the odds, esp on a handrail, and certainly not if you are going to
end up with multiple coats over top. Never use waterbased clear unless you
have to. Right now you have (probably) stain and poly on your handrail.
There is no need to switch to Bin (which is white pigmented shellac - very
useful for other applications), an alcohol based primer mentioned in another
post, that often requires several coats to give any semblance of coverage
(read as: a lot more work), then follow with latex paint and finish with
poly. You'll end up with at least five products on your little handrail,
which definitely increases the likelihood of failure. KISS, esp when it is
so easy to use products with 100% compatibility. Go back to SW and get some
oil primer and SG oil paint, or semi-gloss latex if you can't handle the oil
paint. There is no reason to "seal it" as you put it, or do anything beyond
prime and paint. In the woodfinishing sense, your handrail was "sealed" as
soon as it was stained, and if its not stained, then the varnish definitely
did the trick. HTH.
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