How to Paint a Banister Quickly

Updated March 23, 2017

Painting a banister can be a time-consuming project, especially if supporting balusters are included. When available time is scarce, finding shortcuts can make the difference between completing a job or leaving it for later. Adequate preparation and planning are essential to saving time in any project. Many tools and products have been specifically designed to reduce the amount of energy and time needed to complete a painting job quickly.

Lay lightweight plastic dust sheets around and under all sections to be painted. By covering the entire area with these inexpensive dust sheets before starting the project and securing with masking tape, you save time by not having to move the dust sheet each time you begin painting a new section.

Remove the old finish from the banister using an easy to apply, fast-acting wood stripper. Closely follow the wood stripper's manufacturer instructions.

Wipe the banister, using white spirit and a soft cloth, following the container directions.

Sand away blemishes and rough spots, using medium course 100-grit sandpaper and a power sander. Use a profile sander in the hard to reach areas. Work with the wood grain, not against it. Sand the banister one additional time with 180-grit sandpaper to create a fine, smooth finish. Wipe the banister with a tack cloth between sanding. A tack cloth is a specialised wiping cloth with a sticky surface for removing dust prior to painting. Hand-sanding is an option, but is time consuming. To get the job done quickly, use power and profile sanders. A profile sander is a lightweight, portable sander ideal for sanding in tight areas.

Apply a coat of latex primer to the banister surface. This helps paint adherence and avoids peeling paint. Banisters and supporting structures typically have many curves. Use mini-rollers if you are painting balusters, or spindles. These small rollers allow you to move more quickly and efficiently, saving time when painting in small, tight and curved areas.

Brush on a coat of high quality latex paint in long, smooth strokes. Using a brush takes longer than spray painting, but allows more control. Allow the paint to dry. Apply one additional coat of paint. Using latex paint instead of oil-based paint gets the painting done more quickly due to rapid drying time between coats. Use of high-quality paint also cuts down on the number of coats needed and speeds up the process. Latex paints, in comparison to oil-based paints, also require less clean-up time.


Spray-painting a banister is a quick way to get the job done. If this method is used, however, time must be taken to properly mask off and cover nearby walls and furniture. Wear a face mask. Get several people to assist you in the paint job to get it done more quickly.


Keep the stripper damp while working the surface. If the stripper is allowed to evaporate, it will dry out the wood

Things You'll Need

  • Plastic dust sheets
  • Wood stripper
  • Scraper
  • White spirit
  • Soft cloth
  • Power sander
  • Profile sander
  • Sandpaper -- 100-grit
  • Sandpaper -- 180-grit
  • Tack cloth
  • Latex primer
  • Latex paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Mini-rollers
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