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Painting staircase

Hello everyone,
I’m in the middle of a job and leading up to the bit that I am most worried about - the handrails and spindles. It’s a new loft conversion but not including the loft room (already done) down to 1st floor landing with 6 and a half doors. It was day 7 today and I have never done so much filling and rubbing down!
Anyway, it’s nearly time to do the handrails and spindles. I undercoated them today and found it quite difficult what with the awkward angles and knocking bits I’d just done with my brush while doing the next bit! So, I’d like to be better prepared for the finish.
Should I consider doing the spindles, handrail, base plate and newel posts as separate jobs to avoid messing up half dry paint?
I’ve got Axus lime green sleeves, a Fox sash brush (16), a set of silver Fox brushes, Floetrol and peanut butter sandwiches.
Any suggestions to lead me to a better finish would be great.
PS using Dulux retail WB eggshell over WB primer/undercoat

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May I ask what filler your using? Its not about the paint, or materials but putting your flare into it, floetrol is a great product.For walls I like touprett redlight, its really worth looking into.

If you’re finding you’re messing part-dried paint then I would forget the Floetrol - it’s not keeping the paint open long enough for you. Don’t get hung up on it - you don’t need it.

I would always do the spindles in one session and the handrail and other sections on another. Just concentrate on one thing - sash on the spindles is a good idea because you have plenty of control. Sit and study the job before you start and work out how you are going to do it to avoid going near paint that’s started drying. Apply some logic.

Also I suggest giving the hand rail additional top coats to add to the durability and get a better finish. Obviously sand gently between top coats as usual.


Hello Jason, I’ve been using Toupret TX110, Painters mate caulk and Fillrite 2 part. Hopefully my decorating flair will appear sometime soon!

Hello Green Painting,
About the Floetrol; I’ve not used it before but after reading about it on here I thought it might help as I’m probably a bit slower than most on here in my application of paint. The last time I used QD (WB) gloss for trim work I had trouble keeping up with the wet edge hence the addition of Floetrol to my kit.
Will definitely give the handrail additional coats - which grade abrasive would you suggest for between the top coats? I have 320, 240, 180 abranet in my box.

If you really feel you need the extender then go ahead. It’s what it’s designed for after all. All I am saying is don’t let it become a crutch to lean on like some people seem to do. If you have trouble with keeping wet edges going what you really need to do is look at your technique - what can you do to speed up without compromising quality? It can come down to the right combination of paint and brush so that you get the paint in the right place with the right coverage without needing to go back over it too much. It might take a while to find the brush that works for you so don’t necessarily feel you’re doing something wrong when you can’t get your desired result with a brand everyone likes to recommend.

Between top coats - 320 is good.


Good point re my technique. So, it may be that I could get the paint on and laid off without conditioner if my techinique/planning improves? I might try painting with and without the Floetrol to compare.
Thanks for all your input on this.

I agree with GreenPainting re Floetrol and other ‘conditioners’ , they’re there for exceptional circumstances - temperature, assist with spraying, etc - not for default use.

The new QD Dulux range is really very good, Ive been using it since P&D show. I think its the first acrylic hybrid trim paint Dulux have really succeeded at and I’ve had no need to add Floetrol or Xim to it. (it’s a heavy resin hybrid acrylic so brushes need regular and thorough washing - it can be a wee bit sticky when abrading between coats)

re spindles it does seem theres as many techniques as there are decorators! i think you just detect your own way and find the system to suit you. And it does need a systematic approach whatever your method

For what its worth I use a 4" long pile mini roller working from the top spindle on the staircase side, roller out 8 spindles then lay off vertically (i know someone who gently ‘slaps’ horizontally!)
Then after 8 spindles on the staircase side I get to the outside of the staircase on the ladder to finish off the outside edge. And then repeat, progressing down the staircase. Once the spindles are done I work on the treads and risers.
I’ve found it to be my most time efficient method giving a good quality finish

Just experiment on what works well for you


I tend to try identify the difficult sections and do them first. i.e. get the fiddly bits out the way!


Hello Dave.
Well, as it turns out the Dulux QD WB eggshell isn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. I used the Dulux QD WB gloss on my last job and it was drying really quickly on me! So you roll out 8 spindles at a time 3 sides and then jump round the other side and do the 4th side on all 8 and the paint is still wet enough. I’m doing one at a time and by the time I get to the 4th side sometimes it’s nearly dry or starting to get sticky.
Today I did all the vertical bits first and did them alternately so I had a dry one behind me. Then base plates then handrails.
More practice.

Andy. Saving a handful of easy panelled doors to do last!

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