Back in the beginning of the year one of my goals was to paint the stair rail. With the help of my friends at Ace Hardware, I used paint to update the oak railing and couldn’t be happier with the results! It is the first thing guests see when they walk in, and with just a little bit of paint our entry looks like a totally different space.
I started off giving the wood a light sand with 220 grit sand paper, then moved onto using a good primer – Zinnser Bulls Eye 1-2-3. I did two light coats of primer, sanding between coats. I could have gotten away with one coat, but I could still see some of the oak under the primer, and I think it’s easier to get a smooth finish with the final paint if I’m not also trying to cover color of the wood underneath.
Next I did a couple of light coats using the Ace Cabinet, Door & Trim Semi-Gloss Alkyd Enamel Paint, letting it dry between coats and sanding between.
The colors I used are Natural Cotton for the white and Black Chiffon for the rail. I wanted the rail to contrast, but didn’t want a pitch black. I’m really happy with how the colors turned out. The Natural Cotton is a creamy white, which I tend to prefer for trim and cabinets. The Black Chiffon is a dark charcoal color which I think could look great for a lot of projects including doors and furniture.
This paint is a water based alkyd acrylic, so it self levels and dries very smoothly. It’s great for furniture, cabinets, trim, doors, or any application where an oil based paint would be good, but you don’t want to deal with the fumes and cleanup of oil based paint.
The trick to using this type of paint is use light coats. You don’t want to keep going back over your brush strokes because once it starts drying, it starts leveling out. Over brushing this paint will show the brush marks. I brushed on once then went back over it once to get it smooth, and that’s it. I try not to go back over the areas I have already painted. Let it dry completely, give it a very light sand, then do your next coat. I find this paint to be a slower drying paint, which makes sense since that helps it smooth and level out. If you do your coats too thick, you’ll come back 30 minutes later to drips.
This paint doesn’t need a top coat – it looks great and performs well as is. But, I really wanted a rock hard, super smooth, professional looking job here, and I think a clear top coat always adds a nice dimension and professional look. I also really like the super smooth feel of a top coat. I went with Minwax Polycrylic in Satin which is water based, so it’s easy to use and cleanup, and it doesn’t have a strong smell. It doesn’t yellow, and it adds another layer of protection for something that will get a lot of wear and tear (especially with our little one on the way).
I’ve read some people have problems with Polycrylic bubbling, and I haven’t noticed that. Just make sure you don’t shake or stir the can too vigorously, use a high quality, smooth brush, and be gentle when filling your brush. Use very thin coats because it is runny, letting it dry completely between coats.
- Primer: Zinnser Bulls Eye 1-2-3
- White Paint: Ace Cabinet, Door & Trim Semi-Gloss Alkyd Enamel Paint in Natural Cotton
- Black Paint: Ace Cabinet, Door & Trim Semi-Gloss Alkyd Enamel Paint in Black Chiffon
- Top Coat: Minwax Polycrylic purchased from Ace Hardware
PS – I posted a nursery update on Involving Home plus a new bump pic!
As a treat for you, I’m giving away a $100 gift card to Ace Hardware!
All you have to do to enter is visit Ace Hardware and leave a comment below telling me what you would do with your winnings. That’s it!
A winner will be chosen at random. The giveaway closes at 11:59 pm on Thursday, November 13.
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I am a member of the Ace Hardware Blogger Panel and was provided the product and supplies for this project. I was also compensated for my time, however all opinions are my own.