Finally! (and Banister Part I)

I wanted to start this blog when we first moved into our house over a year ago but settling into a new house + a new school + renovation projects galore with a blog to boot was too much!  So, here we are a year later and I’m finally on the ball.

Since moving in, we’ve done a lot but it never feels like enough since our house is a fixer-upper and there’s always a long list of projects to complete.  It’s funny how our house seemed a lot more “move in ready” when we bought it but after settling in and really looking around, I want to change almost everything!  On a budget though, you have to pick and choose what needs to go and what can wait.

One thing that definitely needed a quick update was the outdated banister in our foyer.  It screamed, “Put some M.C. Hammer pants on me and you’ve got a party!”  It was all 90s!  Image

Meet the offending banister 🙂

Because the bannister is one of the first things you see when you walk into our house, it needed an update.  So after doing a lot of researching, we decided to strip, stain, and poly the bannister.  First I gathered our materials:

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And then I set out to work.  First the bannister needed to be stripped.  I chose an environmentally friendly stripper (that sounded weird :)) since I didn’t want a lot of nasty chemicals in the house and because it’s better for the environment.  I used Citristrip and it worked great.  The only problem that I had (and this was totally my boneheadedness) is that during the clean-up, I vacuumed some paint chips that still had stripper on them and the stripper melted the plastic in my vacuum hose such that the huge hole the stripper made is now covered with duct tape…  Won’t try vacuuming up stripper again!

Alright, so I taped everything off so that the stripper would not get on the carpet and I applied the stripper just as the bottle recommended.  One coat, let it sit, then wipe off.  I used a fairly hard bristled brush to work into the crevices of the balusters.  I then used another coat just to make sure all the shine was off the wood.  Image

If you leave any shine on the wood then the stain will not soak into the wood.  After I wiped down the banister a couple times with a little water then with mineral spirits, it was time for the stain.  I used Miniwax brand in “Ebony”.  It looked black on the sample, but when I applied it, it was a beautiful rich brown color.  Image