Does Oak Railing Need to be Stripped to Match New Hardwood Floors?

As a Millcreek Painting Contractor, we understand that every project takes a certain skill based on years of experience.

Does oak railing need to be stripped and re-stained to match new hardwood floors?

To answer the question – no, we can paint the oak railing to coordinate with floor color. And the results are striking!

Why go through the labor intensive process of stripping stain, when you can paint? In this case, the client did not want to “see” the oaks natural wood grain in the hand rail or the stair treads.

The homes design lane is traditional with European influences. Our recommendation for our client was to paint the hand rail a deep brown/black to coordinate with the walnut stained hardwood floor color. Rather than replace or strip and re-stain the treads, paint the treads, risers and skirts white.

This option was the most cost effective approach and achieved the classic timeless look the client desired. Typically the large grain in oak needs to be filled with wood filler, and is a labor intensive process.

It was determined that we would not fill the grain with wood filler, on the stair treads, because we could fill it with layers of fast dry shellac primer and the current finish on the handrail was a very thick marine spar varnish, which filled the grain in the rail, a win!

Millcreek Painting Contractor

The process to prepare the oak for painting is to clean the wood with a good degreaser such as Spray 9 or Krud Kutter. No rinsing required. We avoid TSP cleaners, because certain primers are not compatible.

Preparation for adhesion of primer and paint is king. Starting with 150 grit sandpaper, to remove the gloss of the existing finish, but not take it down to bare wood. We wanted to keep the grain filled as much as possible, changing sandpaper to 180 grit for the second pass.

We use Festool, a German made sander with a hepa vacuum system. Cutting labor time in half and keeping dust at a minimal in our client’s home. Once the sanding is complete, all dust is vacuumed from the surface then wiped with a clean, microfiber cloth.

This project required a solvent base primer because it has superior adhesion properties, (over most of the water based, lower VOC primers.) Shellac primer was the choice because of its ability to adhere, and fast dry time. It provides a smooth foundation for the paint.

The primer is sanded with 220/320 grit sand paper, vacuumed and wiped with clean cloth. We applied two coats of Benjamin Moore Satin Impervo alkyd enamel, to match the existing millwork and door paint.

This project required a spray finish with the alkyd (oil based), to stay consistent with the existing Satin Impervo (oil based) finish in the entire home.

As you can see in the image; the rail has a lovely “satin” finish. In almost all cases, the desired sheen is satin.

We have applied higher sheens when required. Either designer specified or client preference.

It is rare that we use oil based paints. There are new formulated paints that act like oil, but in fact are water based and possess zero volatile organic compounds. We use these products 99% of the time. They perform very nicely and appear “oil like.”

The new formulations provide many benefits that make the choice to move away from oil products an easy one. Out with oak railing, treads and cabinets.

A carefully selected product, process and paint color palette by Painting America Inc. will bring your home into the current design trends, making it your own, and increasing the overall appeal for re-sale.

Millcreek Painting Contractor

For more information, call us today at 424-488-1192 or contact us here

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