TIPS & INFO: Railings

We finish new and existing natural wood railings and existing painted railings on houses and decks with many combination of natural finishes and paint. We believe that railings arbors and structures that extend out from the house should be design elements on most houses. They can be painted and stained creatively. A look at our railings photo gallery will show you the great variety of looks that can be achieved with railings. And you thought railing were boring; they should be interesting to view.

Top Railings - Starting from the top down, we strongly recommend whenever possible that the top railing be stained (may need to be strip sanded first). Horizontal painted areas deteriorate first, especially rail tops. Stain is easier to recoat on railing tops than paint and usually won't peel as opposed to paint.

Vertical Spindles - These surfaces can be re-stained if they were not previously painted. If the spindles are already painted, they need to be repainted. Vertical surfaces hold up well with paint. We recommend that they be painted a medium to dark color, instead of typical white. White tends to be glary, show the dirt and environmental debris and is not as good of a choice in the Northwest.

Vertical Posts - The posts be painted an accent color to break up the monotony of a solid block of stain or pint color. That color typically looks the best when it is darker than the spindles. Colors on railings tend to look more washed out, so we suggest a bit bolder colors to compensate for that.

Accents - A narrow Horizontal accent board on many railings can be painted in yet another accent color. Another accent could be a post cap or natural breaking point on the post or some other element. The goal is to produce an attractive, classic color combination that people will notice, that blends with the adjoining house colors.

These same principles apply to arbors or other structures that come out from the house, especially where a vine is growing. A light color looks very dirty in a couple years and may be impossible to ever make it look good. We suggest a medium to medium dark color in a satin or eggshell paint to shed the dirt better than flat. What we are trying to avoid is the monotone look of railings all one color or worse yet, railings the same color as the deck surfaces. Let your imagination flow.

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