What color do you paint the handrail for stairs?

19 Replies

What color do you paint the handrail for stairs? We had a stair handrail that was painted white and before the contractor even got through working in the house they had dirty nasty handprints all over the white. I had him repaint the top more of a brown color To hide dirty handprints for future use. Now the property manager is saying that white looks better and that a perspective Complained and the PM advising us to paint it back white. I’m having new stuff pop up all the time and I’m not just starting.😂

Put in a prefinished oak handrail or buy one and put a few coats of polyurethane on it. Painted cabinets and handrails are going to be an extra source of cost and labor for you in the future. 

If you cannot do a stained wood handrail, see what your local paint store recommends. For instance maybe they have some really nasty oil based product that dries very hard and wipes down easily. 

Originally posted by @Joe S. :

What color do you paint the handrail for stairs? We had a stair handrail that was painted white and before the contractor even got through working in the house they had dirty nasty handprints all over the white. I had him repaint the top more of a brown color To hide dirty handprints for future use. Now the property manager is saying that white looks better and that a perspective Complained and the PM advising us to paint it back white. I’m having new stuff pop up all the time and I’m not just starting.😂

 No don't paint it white. Handrails get very dirty. The best is probably a medium stain on wood with a couple coats of poly. If you are going to paint it a color, brown or darker grey would be better. You don't want something that shows the dirt, unless you plan to clean it every week.

If a perspective tenant complained about the color, either the color was a really bad brown or the tenant is very picky. Can you pose pictures? 

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Originally posted by @Joe Splitrock :
Originally posted by @Joe S.:

What color do you paint the handrail for stairs? We had a stair handrail that was painted white and before the contractor even got through working in the house they had dirty nasty handprints all over the white. I had him repaint the top more of a brown color To hide dirty handprints for future use. Now the property manager is saying that white looks better and that a perspective Complained and the PM advising us to paint it back white. I’m having new stuff pop up all the time and I’m not just starting.😂

 No don't paint it white. Handrails get very dirty. The best is probably a medium stain on wood with a couple coats of poly. If you are going to paint it a color, brown or darker grey would be better. You don't want something that shows the dirt, unless you plan to clean it every week.

If a perspective tenant complained about the color, either the color was a really bad brown or the tenant is very picky. Can you pose pictures? 

Staining at this point is not an option, because it has already been painted. I suspect The tenant probably never even thought through handprints on white. I have rented other properties with stare before and don’t even remember what they were painted because it was never even an issue. I do not have pictures of the handrails at this moment since it is out of state and I haven’t went back lately. If I am able to get pictures from the property manager I will post them here.

Handrail was white.

Then panted dark.

Prospective renter shows up and says I love this unit, I love this neighborhood, the rent price is just right for me--but Arrrg that brown railing--if it were only white I'd sign on the dotted line--but it's not so I'll never live here (per Manager).

I wonder if the Manager really likes white too--what a coincidence that would be.

My first thought was "who the heck wants a perspective tenant that complains about the color of the handrail?"

I once had an applicant come and view a property and complain that the "front yard looked much bigger in the pictures".  She also commented that her landlord doesn't fix "anything" (the usual complaint) and when I ask what was happening she said her doorbell didn't work.

The woman screened herself out with those two comments.

Keep the handrail brown.

Originally posted by @Gail K. :

My first thought was "who the heck wants a perspective tenant that complains about the color of the handrail?"

I once had an applicant come and view a property and complain that the "front yard looked much bigger in the pictures".  She also commented that her landlord doesn't fix "anything" (the usual complaint) and when I ask what was happening she said her doorbell didn't work.

The woman screened herself out with those two comments.

Keep the handrail brown.

I personally think white handrails is a bad choice of color, But hey what did I know?

@Joe S. since handrails are such a high traffic surface, I recommend a hard enamel-type paint in a satin or semi-gloss finish. Flat or matte paints are generally more likely to blemish and can be harder to clean.

Originally posted by @Wale Lawal :

@Joe S. since handrails are such a high traffic surface, I recommend a hard enamel-type paint in a satin or semi-gloss finish. Flat or matte paints are generally more likely to blemish and can be harder to clean.

Appreciate the recommendation. :-) What color would you recommend?

@Joe S. I would use gel stain in gray and comb it to mimic wood grain, then poly. Or buy a new one, stain and poly but code now makes you tie the wood into the wall so easier to use the existing.

If they complain about things that have nothing to do with safety or cleanliness during the showing, then they’ll complain about every little thing after they move in. Steer clear - there are plenty of other deserving tenants standing by. 

Non issue. Leave it the color it is and move forward. Also, I'd probably fire your Property Manager. They seem way to small minded to be able to focus on the bigger picture.

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@Joe S. black, white and gray are commonly use if you are going for a modern look. Here is a link that will add extra information: 

https://newkeyconstruction.com/what-color-should-stair-railing-be/#:~:text=The%20key%20to%20adding%20color,and%20excitement%20to%20the%20stairs.

Who cares if white gets dirty. Your tenant will be the one cleaning their handprints off it once they move in. Just keep it clean for showings. 

I either stain them or paint them white with high gloss exterior type of paint.  Light colors are easier to see at night.

@Joe S.

Joe, white and yellow handrails really help low-vision types. But yes, white will show the dirt. The best solution is probably to sand it down well with 100 grit, prime it with two coats of Kilz Original Interior/Exterior oil-based primer (hand-sanding with 220 after the first and second coat) and then two coats of Rustoleum white gloss oil-based paint, hand-sanding with 220 after the first coat. It takes time, but you'll end up with a finish that's much easier to clean than any other sort of painted wood surface.