Oak Banister Makeover | Gel Stain With No Stripping

Oak Banister Makeover | Gel Stain With No Stripping

hi fans are Pretty Distressed it’s
Christina welcome back to my channel if you’re new to my channel and you like
what you see please subscribe or give me a thumbs up today I’m doing something a
little different I will not be working with track paint or furniture I’m gonna
be redoing my banister this is a project that I have been wanting to do since we
moved in about four and a half years ago we redid our floors when we moved in so
we have hardwood all throughout this floor and it’s kind of like a like a
walnut color so it really doesn’t go with the honey oak banister that we have
the banister sturdy it’s in pretty good condition so I couldn’t justify
replacing the whole thing especially for how much that cost so I just wanted to
update it with a little bit of stain and a little bit of latex paint I’ve used
general finishes gel stain before and I know you can use it right over finish
surface and you didn’t have to strip or sand which I was really excited about as
I was researching what I wanted to do to my banister I couldn’t really find the
right tutorial for what I was wanting to do so I decided that I was gonna make a
tutorial for you guys that my process went well
I’ve already completed most of my banister I have a second story for you
and I have a catwalk up here I learned a lot of things along the way so I wanted
to share that with you guys and luckily I saved this little tiny section at the
bottom of my stairs so that I could do a step-by-step tutorial for you we’re just
gonna update this with a little bit of gel stain and some latex paint today so
let’s get started all these items can be found at your local hardware store Home
Depot or Lowe’s if you don’t like going out to the store I will link everything
below in the description box to Amazon please know that if you purchase these
these are affiliate links and pretty distressed will get a small Commission
for anything that you buy the first thing we want to do is clean off the
banister so for any parts that are gonna have the stain applied I’m gonna use
this mineral spirits to clean that section off do not want to use this on
the sections where the latex paint is gonna go for that we’re gonna use this
denatured alcohol water down by 50% and we’re gonna put that in a spray bottle
these are Scotch pads or final stripping pads we’re gonna apply either the
mineral spirits or the denatured alcohol to these and clean the corresponding
parts of our banister these blue gloves are nitrile gloves I hope I’m saying
that right I prefer these over latex they’re just a little bit stronger and
break as easily you’re gonna need these to protect your hands from these
chemicals that we’re using and then we’re also going to use them when we
stain so make sure you get a big box so here I’m taking the mineral spirits and
applying it directly to my sketch pad I don’t recommend you doing this because I
actually spilled it all over the floor and made a huge bust the better idea is
to get a stainless steel bowl put a little bit of the mineral spirits in
there and dip your sponge in there so the next thing you’re going to do really
easy just rub this all up and down the portions that you’re gonna stain as you
can see it’s kind of dripping all over the floor so do make sure that you cover
up the floor and the carpet with protective covering before you get
started this stuff is really important to make
the stain adhere correctly as you can see there is a lot of gross stuff
sitting on there so do not skip this step
okay now we’re moving on to the portion that I’m gonna paint in latex so I’m
taking that denatured alcohol water down 50% in my spray bottle sprayed it
directly on a cloth and I’m wiping all that section down right here as you can
see this one is very dirty as well so make sure you clean it up the reason
we’re using the denatured alcohol versus the mineral spirits is because mineral
spirits and water-based paints do not work well together so I just want to
make sure that everything’s gonna adhere to the best ability so that’s why I’m
using two different products here so while that’s drying I’m gonna go ahead
and tape off all my areas that I want to protect from my stain my stain is an
oil-based stain so it is heavy duty pigmented and I do not want it getting
on anything because once it gets on stuff it is very difficult to get off so
make sure that you over over tape so that you’re protecting everything you
also wanna make sure again that you’re protecting your carpet and your fluorine
underneath your banister at this point we really don’t have to worry about any
of the stain getting on parts of the banister that we don’t want it to
because we’re gonna cover those up with primer and latex paint so don’t go crazy
and be super sloppy but you do not have to tape off the spindles below the
banister next we’re gonna want to make any repairs or fill any nail holes that
you might have in your banister so just take a basic wood filler and a putty
knife and just fill up all those holes then let it dry
check the drying time on the can of your wood filler once it’s all dry you can go
ahead and sand it I am using a 220 sanding pad just to smooth everything
out and get it ready for finishing sorry about this crazy lighting change the Sun
started going down on me right now what I’m doing is getting all that dust off
that we created from sanding so I’m just using a paper towel to dust this off you
could use a tack cloth or anything like that just get all that residue off for a
clean surface okay final prep step before we start staining is we’re going
to take that sanding pad I just used and give the wood at just a light rub down
you’re definitely not taking off any finish just roughing it up just a little
bit to give that stain something to stick to and finally you’re gonna take
that damp paper towel or tech cloth and just wipe down any remaining dust that’s
on the banister before we break out the stain we are finally ready to start
staining so here I am opening my can of a general finish’s gel stain it’s in the
color antique walnut they do have a variety of shades Java gel is its most
popular color I believe which is a little darker but again I’m trying to
match it to my floor so I did select antique walnut it’s a very thick gel
based oil-based stain so you want to make sure that you wear gloves and you
want to give it a great big astir before you start applying it the items I’m
gonna need for staining are these paint rags I got these at Menards they’re
really interesting they are lint-free which is the key they almost feel like a
paper towel they’re all dried out but they are actually cloth once you wet
them very very cool and I’m going to use this applicator it’s just a foam brush
these are like 79 cents at the hardware store so I’m gonna take my foam brush
and I’m gonna dip it in my gel stain and I’m gonna pick up that lint-free cloth
and I’m actually going to turn this into a polishing pad so what I’m doing is
putting some product on here as you can see just painting it on getting that
cloth nice and wet and you’ll see what I’m gonna use that for in that just a
second well I am diving right in I have dipped my foam applicator into my gel
stain again and I I’m just painting that on I’m gonna
paint this on the handrail as well as the newel post and the balusters I am
leaving to paint with latex later so again I’m just gonna do a nice coating
all up and down here you want the stain to set a little bit before you start
wiping it off so make sure you take this in sections you could pack this stain on
really thick and just leave it kind of almost like a paint I don’t like that
look so what I’m doing is actually taking this polishing pad and wiping
most of this stain off I’m using a very light hand and since I do have some
stain on my rag it’s actually pushing some of that stain back into the grain
when you’re doing this you want to make sure that you are going with the grain
of the wood so it doesn’t get all funky and streaky and make sure that you don’t
have any big blobs just rub it in all really well with a light hand so now I’m
just zooming you in a little closer doing the exact same thing that I did on
the hand rail I have sped this process up a little bit just so this video
doesn’t end up being 30 minutes long obviously take your time and be as
methodical as you want to be this process does take a while to get the
hang of it so I recommend starting in an area that isn’t seen that much and work
your way down to the most heavily viewed area of the banister on this first day
of staining you’re also gonna stain underneath the handrail you’ll only have
to do one coat under here we just want it to match everything but you really
don’t have to pay a lot of tension under here just make sure you do this on the
first day we’re gonna let this dry for 24 hours before we do any more coats I
ended up doing three coats on this piece just to match what I had done upstairs
if you like the way it looks after one coat or after two coats please feel free
to stop there it’s really up to you how deep you want the stain the process is
going to be exactly the same for each additional coat so just follow all the
steps that we went over on day one just a little side note make sure you dry out
these applicators and recks each day outside before you are throwing
them away here I’m doing one last tight shot for you in real time just so you
can get a feel for how this goes this is my last coat putting on my third coat so
you can see how this process here will deepen this up so I’ve now achieved the color that I
want with the stain after three coats so I’m gonna let this dry again for 24
hours then I’m gonna begin to prep the banister for priming and painting so at
this point I want to protect any pieces of the banister that I do not want to
get covered with paint or primer so I am going to tape underneath the handrails
at the spindles or the balusters and I’m also going to tape the wall to make sure
I don’t get any white paint on my wall and I’m also going to protect down by
the newel posts so again just cover up any of those sections of wood that you
don’t want to get white paint on this is the 3m Scotch blue pre-taped painters
plastic it’s not a sponsored item I just wanted to try it out this product is by
no means necessary but I did see it at the store and it really caught my eye so
I’m trying it out today it is actually a painters tape and drop cloth and one so
you just paint the put the painters tape on like you normally would and then you
can pull out this really a nice a big drop cloth so amazing for priming today
I’m gonna be using this Zinser bullseye to a multi-purpose primer and sealer and
I’m gonna be using this Worcester shortcut angle sash paint brush it’s the
best brush to use to get in-between the spindles a long handle is really gonna
get in the way the reason I selected this primer is it is a water-based
primer so it makes brushes and everything really easy to clean up it’s
also stained blocking and the best part is that it sticks to any surface without
sanding there’s no real special way to apply this you’re just gonna paint it on
like you would a latex I do recommend going with the grain because it just
makes things a little easier and it will hide some of your brushstrokes you are
gonna still be able to see some wood coming through so don’t think this is
going to completely cover whatever wood you have underneath I only did one coat
of primer you’re more than welcome to do – I’m just a little bit lazy so that’s
why I did one just to make things easier on yourself make sure that you don’t
have any huge globs or drip marks so you won’t have to stay in those later when
it dries this is ready for topcoat after 1 hour of drying for the topcoat I’m
going to be using Sherwin Williams Pro classic interior acrylic this is
water-based so again it’s easier to clean up I have this on hand
because this is what we use to paint our trim this is a high-performance coating
it’s non yellowing and it withstands a lot of wear and tear so it’s perfect for
a banister and the best part is this formula goes on smooth without brush
marks you can also tint this paint to any color that you want I like a really
bright white so I actually did not tint it at all overall I did two coats and I
was happy with the coverage you’re more than welcome to do as many as you would
like to get the coverage that you want next up I am going to use a top coat on
the stained portions of my banister I’m gonna be using this general finish’s
high-performance top coat and flat it is water-based so it’s easy to clean up it
looks kind of milky all you have to do is stir it up and then you can start
applying it with a foam brush so you’re just gonna dip your foam brush right
into the can and apply this in a very thin coat it is milky white and
consistency but then it dries down very clear and flat just make sure when
you’re going along that you don’t have any drip marks or really noticeable
bubbly white patches you really don’t want to overwork this so as you’re
putting it onto an area just really smooth it out and then move right along
and do not go back over it and try to fix it in a couple of minutes because it
will have already kind of set and you’ll just make a big mess this step you could
actually do right after you’re done staining the only reason I painted
before I added my top coat is because I did the top coat all at one time so I
did the catwalk in the upper part of my banister as well as this little section
all at the same time general finish’s recommends doing three coats of this top
coat or more I did three on my heavily used areas and then on areas I know
where people aren’t gonna be using the handrail as much on the catwalk I only
did two general finishes also recommend sanding in between your coats with a
really fine sandpaper like a 400 I tried to do this and it started scratching my
stain and taking some of it off which I was not happy about so I decided not to
stain in between coats I don’t know if that’s gonna affect wear but again it’s
up to you if you want to stay in between the coats or not and here’s a little tip
for you in between coats you can save this foam brush and just stick it in a
ziploc bag squeeze all the air out of it and you can reuse it and reuse it
until you’re done dry time for this top coat is two to four hours if it’s a
little cooler you’re gonna want to wait eight to ten hours to recoat it so here
is just one more shot of me putting on my final and third coat of top coat as
you see it goes up really wet and shiny but this does dry down to a very flat
finish which I really like so this project is finally complete from this
honey oak banister to a two-toned beauty I’m really happy with how it turned out
I do want to warn you guys this project isn’t for the faint of heart you do need
to enjoy painting and you do really need to take your time and be methodical with
it it’s not something you’re gonna be able to knock out in a couple of days I
actually it took me about two months I think to complete this thing but I’m a
stay-at-home mom and I have kids so you might be able to knock it out a little
faster than that but I just want you guys to have realistic expectations
going into it thank you for watching this video all the way to the end if you
liked it give me a thumbs up don’t forget to subscribe before you leave and
you can always check out pretty distressed calm to see some more of my
work I’ll see you guys next time

100 thoughts on “Oak Banister Makeover | Gel Stain With No Stripping

  1. Ξ€his banister work you did is gorgeous! Would love to do this in our home BUT all trim (banister, riser, spindles, baseboard, window, crown moulding & doors) are stained the same colour and would mean a ton of work.πŸ˜”

  2. Very dedicated to the project, but as a professional painter that’s been doing this type of work for 25 years. The end result turned out pretty good for a homeowner but she made this project WAY too complicated. She created too much work for herself. Probably bad advice from the people at the store. So if you have an endless amount of time to do it this way that’s great but there are simpler ways to do this. All in all it turned out pretty well.

  3. I am impressed~ well done.! ( I am even MORE impressed that you didn't get paint or stain all over yourself.. … I must be a paint/stain magnet as I end up with paint all over me …even though I am very careful. )

  4. I just completed my banisters! They look so much better. Thank you for your video. I would share pics, but I’m not sure how to.

  5. So just to paint white, just wipe down with denatured alcohol, zinsser then paint? The wood grains won't bleed through? Looking to paint my banister all white 😊

  6. Great video…so I have the Honey Oak handrails and the spindles are already painted white…I was thinking of replacing the spindles with iron, but now you've got me considering just staining the railings and posts…hmmmm…thanks! What was the stain color again?…Antique Walnut…ok

  7. Your banister looks great. I wish I saw this video when we were refinishing our banister. We hired someone to do it but it’s not the shade I wanted as I wanted it darker like yours. I wonder if I can redo I again to the dark stain I want.

  8. Is the banister sticky? Did it hold up? Just curious… I've been in some homes where this type of this was attempted, but the new finish was either "still sticky" feeling or it was easily scratched off by the slightest touch with a fingernail.

  9. Thank you for the video !!!!! Did you paint white over your brown trim? And if so, may I ask what you used and the process? Thank you 😊

  10. You should sand between clear coats. It will take out any bumps or ruff spots for the next coat. Always sand down last coat and just wipe clean with damp rag. The finish will be super smooth and feel nice on the hands and won’t leave any marks.

  11. I used gel stain cleaned area …the gel stain did not soak into the wood at all,tried two coats and still no soaking in at all

  12. Couldn't find the General Finishes at Home Depot, but we used a similar top coat with good results. We painted ours straight up black. Hoping it doesn't show too much wear and tear over the years! Yours looks great. 3 months is quick! πŸ˜‰

  13. I am considering doing this to my outdated banister but I wanted to ask how this gel stain is holding up since it's been a few years? πŸ™‚ Thanks for the video!

  14. Great job there! Love how in depth you've gone with this tutorial, really helpful! Thank you for sharing πŸ˜‰

  15. Thank you so much for this tutorial! This is exactly what I needed to see, and thanks for the links to the materials.

  16. All u did was put it on and wipe it right off. Why even put the gel on??I see no difference in color

  17. Thank you for this video. I just finished my banister yesterday and it looks amazing. I never would have done this without watching this How to video. It was very easy but what a difference. Goodbye old oak banister!!!

  18. I wish I saw your video yesterday. Doing the same thing with my honey oak 1989 railing. I tried gel stain just washing it but it didn’t take. Never thought of using mineral spirits. Oh well half sanded now. Lol. Great video and explanation. πŸ‘

  19. You did a fantastic job. Great choice of stain. Additionally your detailed instructions and tips make this an A+ tutorial. Thank you for taking the lead on making this video when there were no others around.

  20. Following your video and I have 3 coats of the gel stain already on and it is not near as dark as yours. What am I doing wrong. How long do you leave the stain on before wiping off?

  21. Great job and nice video. Keep that paint out of your hair, but mostly keep those chemicals out of your eyes! This video gives me a great idea for an old floor. Thanks for posting! DD

  22. Very good! πŸ™‚ Love the stained newel post..Bannisters and spindles are not an easy to do job…fiddly for sure πŸ™‚

  23. Thanks so much for the tutorial. We are planning on doing our banister as part of a remodel and this is very helpful. I am curious though how you decided to use the two different products, the alcohol and mineral spirits to prep your surfaces. Is this strictly for cleaning purposes? When refinishing furniture we have always used trisodium phosphate to degrease and prep all of our projects regardless of the final finish. The paint desk at HD recommended we use liquid sand paper to create a better bond. Do you have any experience with these products? Are they a viable alternative?

  24. I am new to your channel. I love the result! You do a great job, your lighting, and instructions, and details you provide are really helpful. This is the answer to my dilemma at home, we replaced carpets with wood flooring, and now I have to update/modernize my bannister and spindles. The cost is way too high to replace, so I like this idea of changing the stain, even though it does look labour-intensive. Thanks for motivating me. Watching you do it, knowing how long it will take, will allow me to try it out for myself! Pretty and talented!

  25. So … how critical is it that I keep to the 24 hours between gel coats? I started staining at 4 yesterday (first coat). I didn't finish the first coat until 7 and had several breaks in there for dinner and so on. So … do I start at 4 or do I need to wait 3 more hours?

  26. Beautiful! You stated the topcoat dries flat. In the video it looks a bit shiny. Is it completely flat? I am trying to decide what topcoat to use for a buffet I am refinishing. I would like a bit of a shine. This flat seems very popular. Thank you for sharing! πŸ™‚

  27. I’m definitely going to try this. Just wondering what the name of your wall paint color is. I’m new to this channel πŸ™‚

  28. Great job..you are very good at explaining..this is close to what I need to do to my banister..As I am looking at your video..I’m thinking wow your house is designed exactly like mine and close to the same age that you mentioned in another video…I’m looking at your video and the upstairs are identical..imagine that..

  29. That is a very impressive banister! We have the exact honey oak and I'm considering doing this…at some point ….over a long slow winter! Thanks for sharing all the details and tools used!

  30. I just had my cabinets painted with oil-based paint – and now my wood banisters look so out of place so I would like to do this project – I have bought – oil based bronze color for my metal fixtures and painting them – do you think a metallic bronze with white ballusters (semi-gloss) would look good for my stair railings or should I go with water-based flat paint? thanks!

  31. What a huge impact this made to your space! You did a great job and it really looks good! Thank you for the video! So helpful!

  32. Thank you for putting so much time and editing work into this tutorial. I am in the middle of this process and the first railing I did came out perfectly. I scuffed up the old poly finish with fine sanding pads, wiped down the wood with some Jasco deglosser and finished with a tack cloth. I used the General Finishes Java gel stain on that railing and it went on like a dream. The General Finishes stuff is magic in a can. I’m getting ready to do the rest of the railings and would never have even attempted it had I not watched you do it. I even copied your zip lock bag trick to keep my foam brush from drying out in between coats. My wife is happy and that’s a WIN! Kudos to you!

  33. Looks great! Have been painting and refinishing for about 15 years love the GF products. Gel stain is not my favorite being it’s more of a topical stain vs. penetrating. Maintenance with another coat every year or two. Water based poly needs more coats then a oil poly due to the mil. Build up. Try general finishes stain blocking primer on oak when going white and you will avoid any tannin bleed or yellow streaks that come through.

  34. You can use a really soft brillo pad for sanding between coats of clear. The feeling of the pad should feel like it wouldn't really do much, but it definitely smooths it out. They are gray as opposed to the green one people generally use for cleaning. They really do help give a nice smooth look and feel.

  35. (HUG) You did a beautiful job —> I have a catwalk and railing like yours and want the same color and stain as yours – I would love to try it yet i am so glad you told us that it takes time. You did such a beautiful job something to look forward to doing when I have some time off from work thank you. GOD has blessed you with a beautiful talent.

  36. I'm a 23 year painter and this is very amateur. You should be able to paint balusters freehand without ever having to tape.

  37. I love your tutorial…I am about to go shopping and thanks to your list it will be easy! I am starting with a handrailing which is just stain then I have an area in kitchen with a railing that looks like your cat walk but much shorter thank God, It divides kictchen from sunken family room. I need to do gray tone because my new flooring is going to be Greystone Oak. I hope it wil come out gray but my oak is not as blonde as yours. Maybe more coats will do the trick. The spindles will be white like yours. I think it will be a fun project and since I am finally getting new white cabinets and quartz countertops I am so motivated now after watching your great video. Tnak you!

  38. Did your banister have poly before you started? Mine is stained and poly – do I need to get that down to the wood or just scratch it up like you did?

  39. After watching all the other wood stripping videos, I am surprised at how there wasn't hours of stain removal and sanding involved and it appeared that the right stain color was achieved. I was almost going to spend a lot of money to have the banister replaced but decided against it. Hope mine will turn out as well as yours. Thanks for the encouragement.

  40. Would be interesting to do a cost comparison for each job vs replacement. Also what is that paint color on your walls from upstairs view?

  41. I have all my supplies except denatured alchol. I can't find in in California….any recomenadtions for what else I can use before I paint spindles? Thanks!

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