Stair Banister Refinishing

Stair banister refinishing can help revitalise a stairway and restore a banister to its formal glory. Due to the high amount on detail of many banisters, removing the old finish and stain may be very difficult and may require the use of several different detailing tools.

Performing this project will be sure to improve the look of the banister and offer an opportunity to change the colour of the wood's stain to match other updates that have been made to the house.


Stair banister refinishing will require the use of several products. The initial coat must first be removed with a chemical stripper. It will also be necessary to use lacquer thinner and shellac thinner to clean up some of the smaller details. You will need a scrapping tool and some smaller utensils to clean out the crevasses. You will most likely need some wood bleach to remove any stains or blemishes. You will need to choose a new colour and type of stain. Oil stain is typically the best kind of stain for a refinishing project because they come in opaque styles that can help hide blemishes and damages. Due to the amount of traffic that a banister will encounter it would be prudent to apply a clear-coat sealer to protect the finish.

Stripping process

The stripping process can be the messiest part of the job due to the toxicity of the chemicals used to remove the old finish and coat. It is important to apply the stripper in small areas due to the large size of most banisters. If too large of an area is selected, the stripper may dry beyond the point of being able to be removed. Once the flat areas have been stripped it will be time to move on to the more detailed areas. You will need to use an awl to remove the old finish in the cracks and crevasses. If there are any remaining patches after the initial stripping you will need to use steel wool that is saturated in a 50/50 mixture of lacquer thinner and shellac thinner to gently buff these areas clean.

Staining process

Once the banister has been stripped and let dry, you can begin the process of refinishing the banister. You will want to begin the process by bleaching out any blemishes or stains. You will next want to apply your stain. If you are using a fast-drying stain you will want to be sure to apply the stain and wipe up any excess immediately. Once you have stained the banister to the colour you desire you will want to apply a sealer to protect the finished coat.