How to Refinish Orange Staircase Railings with Stain

My staircase railing was previously an outdated orange wood tone, as it seems most builders-grade homes are today.

The orange staircase railing looked terrible regardless of the surrounding paint or flooring.

Why was this orange staircase ever a thing!?

I didn’t want to spend the money to replace the entire structure, so I looked into a cheaper alternative to update my staircase railing.

how to stain an orange staircase
It’s like a spray tan gone wrong for staircases. This is not an actual photo of my staircase, but mine looked very similar before staining.

Quickly Update an Orange Staircase Railing

I couldn’t live with an orange staircase railing, especially with recently installed floors that didn’t match.

To save money, I decided to stain my staircase railing instead of replacing everything.

Since I recently installed Pergo flooring in the color Java Scraped Oak, I went with the stain color Kona by Varathane.

pergo flooring update
Here is the the new flooring!

The Kona stain matched my Java Scraped Oak Pergo floors and DIY Console table perfectly.

If you are interested in learning how to install laminate flooring to match your newly stained staircase railing, view our post here.

Items Required to Stain a Staircase Railing:

  • 1 quart of Varathane stain with poly in the color Kona Semi-Gloss.
  • Wooster Brush for Stain and Varnishes
  • Lots of rags and drop clothes
  • Painters tape
  • Mask
  • Gloves

Items Required for Painting Spindles:

my favorite products for any paint project

My Favorite Paint Products!

I have painted my entire home top to bottom, so I found some really great paint products along the way.

Here are my go-to paint products!

dark stair railing ideas
The Staircase Railing Matches Perfectly!

How to Prep a Staircase for Staining

I first wiped down the staircase with a damp sponge to remove any residue or dust from any areas that were going to be stained.

After I wiped the staircase with a damp sponge, I dried the staircase with a towel and placed several drop clothes under the areas that I would be staining.

I also, used painters’ tape around the top and bottom of the spindles to achieve a clean line.

The spindles on my staircase were already white, so I only had to touch up the spindles with a quick coat of white paint.

I used semi-gloss trim paint and a paint brush to touch up the spindles.

My favorite trim paint is Showcase by Sherwin Williams in semi-gloss.

If your spindles aren’t already white, you may want to use a painter’s mitt to apply the paint quicker.

dark stair railing
Tape the railings

Tips for Staining Your Staircase Railing

  • Wear a mask
  • Stain in a well ventilated area
  • Wear gloves
  • Reuse your brush multiple times by placing it in an airtight bag
how to stain a staircase railing
You can use this tip for paint and stain!

How to Stain a Staircase Railing

I preferred to use a brush when applying the stain to the staircase railing, but I know some people would rather use a rag or an old t-shirt to apply the stain.

Either a brush or a rag will work great to apply this stain, it is all preference here.

Begin applying the first coat of stain with a Wooster brush made for stain and varnishes.

I lightly applied the stain with my brush in the same direction of the grain of the wood.

Make sure to go with the grain or your stain will look really sloppy when it dries.

The first couple of coats of stain looked very streaky, so don’t panic it will look better after another coat of stain.

Before applying the second coat, make sure the stain feels dry to the touch.

After I applied the second coat of stain, the staircase railing already looked so much better.

I used a total of three coats of stain to complete the staircase railing.

If you are using a different color stain, it might take more or less coats of stain to cover the orange staircase railing.

how to update a staircase

Top Protective Coat

Since the Varathane stain has polyurethane mixed in with the stain, there is no need for a top coat.

You cannot go wrong with Varathane stain with poly because this product really lasts!

I have used Varathane on so many wood projects throughout my home.

Even with crazy toddlers running around beating up everything in my home, the stain holds up great!

I stained this staircase a few years ago and it still looks amazing!

how to update an orange staircase

It’s really that’s easy to get rid of a cheap looking staircase.

This staircase railing dramatically updated the whole look and feel of my home!

how to update an orange staircase railing
update staircase railing with stain

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