Painting pine staircase

2 Jan 2008
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United Kingdom
I have a fairly large staircase which rises into a double galleried landing.
Unfortunately it is in varnished pine, including spindles, handrails, newels bottom rail etc basically everything is pine!!
I want to lighten it up and get a painter to paint it white. The spindles are very close together, as little as 80mm gap. Ideally I would like it replaced in oak, but even hemlock would mean prohibitive cost.
any suggestions for alternatives or rough cost to rub down and paint?
Total run of handrail is approx 50-55 feet including stair and landing.
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What colour shoes should I wear with these jeans...will the light tan ones do?...will they match the shade of blue or shall I wear these ones with them...or maybe change the jeans for these trousers...will they match better?

In other words..its impossbile to say without seing it.

Not being funny but if I was you id get decorators to give you a price..and dont bother trying to do it over the phone could end up losing money.

Its impossible to give you any sort of idea without seeing the job and anyone who does is a rank amutuer and a fool.

But even if you did manage to get three people to quote without seeing it they would all, if they had any sense bump up the price 'just in case' mat accept the cheapest quote but still be paying way over the odds for the job.

Painting over a varnish is always risky, especially on staircases first ask them what they suggested doing to make sure they intend to rub it down thoroughly...but most importantly,apply a primer/barrier coat, then the finishing coats,
Tx Zampa, i was really looking for some advice/views on alternatives to painting, eg would is be economically viable to paint or replace with hemlock and then seal, or does anyone have any other suggestions.
Looking for a bit of inspiration rather than an online quote.........
Tx for input though.
Ah right...

Ok...yeh I would go for a replacement could try removing the paint but beleive me it will be a night mare.

Have you considered destressing the wood..or maybe wiping another lighter colour in the grooves of the spindles to liven them up a bit?
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Hi Aflemi. I can't help you to chose between a new oak staircase and painting the pine one white, but I can say that spraying with an HVLP spray gun is much fastest than a brush and gives the best finish. A painter should be able to use one or you can hire it, but it can be tricky to get the paint thinned just right. Go for a water based acrylic paint. If you need to mask any part, be sure to use a masking tape that has a synthetic adhesive so that it will peel off easily when you are done. The 3M brand is fine but go to a professional decorator's merchant for advice and the materials
Power painter...why do you always assume that everyone is capeable of going to a hire shop and picking up a spray system, taking it home and producing a first class finish?..I bet your average hire shop doesnt even know what a High Volume Low Pressure system is.

You know as well as I do the complexities in spray painting, added to the fact that due to the gaps between the spindles there is going to be a hell of a lot of overspray/wasted paint.

Spraying is not always the quickest, most economical method of applying paint.

Spray systems also have their limitations.

I agree the finish may be excellent but these macines in untrained hands could be one...a waste of money...two a waste of materials...three dangerous.

By the time the staircase is masked...the area is completly sheeted, the gun has been set up, the paint thinned, experimented with, use and cleaned away again the poster could have done it by hand.

The main task here is ensuring that the paint sticks...preparation is...scuse the pun....the key, and you will need to make sure you rub down the spindles with fine abrasive paper first followed by a barrier coat of either Zinseer Bin (try washing that out of a spray gun!) or dulux supergrip primer.

Then paint it with, as powerpainter says a water based paint such as acrylic eggshell...youll find it easier of two of you do on either side of the stairs.
Hi Zampa,

Thanks for your input. I would agree that HVLP is not the easiest equipment to use, and I guess you are experienced in paint spraying yourself. However my experience in showing painters how to do it, tells me that professional painters are no better than DIY, in fact DIY often do a better job because they have the time and patience to think what they are doing. Setting up an HVLP spray gun and the paint is not difficult, but I agree that you cannot rely on hire counter staff to help much.

About the suitability of HVLP to spray these spindles, are you thinking of classic airspray, ie a "conventional" spray gun when you say there is a lot of overspray? Because HVLP is far more efficient in transfer efficiency and if you narrow the spray fan to about an inch at 6 inches from the spindle, you will get very little overspray, and any will fall to the floor as dust if you use a water based paint like acrylic.

Finally about the preparation, you are absolutely right, there is no shortcut with spraying. A careful rub down and priming is essential, but that done, the finish with spraying is superior. As for the speed of spraying compared with a brush, in what situation would you think a brush is faster?
I would have loved to have had the time to set up a spray system in one room and a brush and a roller in another..or to make it fair a few rooms..

In some situations the brush will always win over a spray others the spray...and even if it did take a bit longer the better quality finish would justify the time.

I cannot fault my old Graco 495...they didnt tell me when I bought it that I would also receive a license to print money!!!

It did earn me a fair bit.

I was more or less self taught regarding spraying..I bought the machine and unleashed myself on a few empty new builds..

Making mistakes along the way I might add..(which would have been worse if not for the telephone support I had from your company)

I have also used a HVLP system for spraying window frames prior to the glass being was problems.

But my point was that I think its easy to forget to pitfalls that await novices who attempt to do a little bit of panting with a machine from a hire shop when you are working with those machines day in day out...

Like most things...fine when they are working..murder when they arnt...and mr and mrs diyer wont have had the benefit of one of your companies (excellent) courses...mind you..nor have I :evil:

Remember the type of equipment you deal with is well maintained if not new or nearly new..a lot different to what the weekend sprayer is going to get from their local hire shop...most shops dont even carry decent brands.
Hi Zampa,

One room walls and ceilings would be about evens on time, but spraying will still use less paint and you get a better finish. A couple of rooms and spraying has to be faster. If you use masking machines with tape having synthetic adhesive and film alongside, then spray everything in reverse, ie the woodwork first without masking, then mask it when dry which is quick with a water based gloss, then spray the walls overlapping the ceiling, when they are dry, mask again and finish with the ceiling, it will be faster than a roller. You get the best time savings on a panelled door with airless; takes about 10 seconds to spray a side with one coat. Next fastest are ceilings, slowest the walls.

As for how hard it is for DIY to learn to spray, many American DIY have their own spray equipment for painting their homes; don't tell me they are smarter than our amateurs! And you say you taught yourself, with a bit of telephone help from us, glad to hear it was useful, but don't you spray anymore?
I sold my Graco 495 a while back when I finished full time decorating...sad to see it go but it was just sitting there doing nothing.

One concern I always have with spraying woodwork is sometimes a spray can be just a bit too good..inasmuch as you nornally have to thin the product to get it through the tip..on new work I found that spraying didnt cover enough of the grain .. unlike a new work undercoat.

Great for glossing though.

Regards the American market they are into anything that will save time and I noticed after a recent holiday out there how much a spray system is part of the average american diyers arsenal.

But that might also have something to do with the prices...have you ever seen how much their equipment is out there compared to ours here?..

I saw airless machines that looked comparable to ours for around 400 quid...and available in all of the DIY chains...if I could have got one in the suitcase I would have!!

Also you have to think about the easy to spray the outside wooden cladding on a nice warm day with no breeze whatsoever..unlike here when you are trying to blow in a roughcast gable end and hlaf of it is being carried up the road and covering everything in a hundred metre radius..

Been there, done it, bought the tee shirt (used the t shirt as rags to clean the cars!) :evil:

I know your going to suggest that I used a pressure fed roller..I know I

I have never used one hopeing to give one a try one day though.
Hi Zampa,

Agree with just about everything you've said, but if you have given up painting, why not teach spray painting? I bet the local technical college would be delighted.

For years I have always said that the price in US dollars is the price in Pounds, so your 400 quid in America is about $ 800 and for £ 800 you can buy a reasonable starter airless unit here. Problem is that painters over here expect the supplier to train them and then give them lots of time over the phone sorting out problems, and all that costs money, so the prices are higher. In the US, painters learn how to spray at their mother's knee; would you expect a car dealer to teach you how to drive?

One day our professional painters will all be using spray equipment, but probably in a different way than in the US. I reckon we need another 10 years before we catch up the Americans, and the Australians.

Yes give a pressure roller a try, in fact a spray roller is a good learning tool for spraying, but also a killer for applying block-filler....

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