You’ve decided on wood balusters. You may have even settled on a design, but the question inevitably comes up: painted or stained balusters? Although this typically comes down to personal preference, there are a few things you should keep in mind when you are selecting your finishes.
First, be aware that “stain-grade” wood is generally better. You can paint almost any species of wood–even MDF–and end up with balusters that look very similar. This is where WoodStairs.com differs from our competitors. We sell only solid wood balusters. Even our paint grade balustrades, handrails, and newel posts are solid poplar. The differences are hardness, durability, and quality. To compare different species of wood, consult the hardness scale found on any of our product pages.
Second, nicks, dings, and dents tend to show up more on a painted surface than a stained surface. The wood-grain and texture of a stained baluster tend to hide blemishes in the wood. However, a good painter can prepare and repaint worn or damaged painted balusters more easily than they can a stained wood surface. The final clear varnish coat on a stained baluster is more difficult to sand and often requires the entire baluster to be refinished; this limits your ability to perform spot touch-ups.
Third, consider your hardwood floor, baseboards, door casings, and even your cabinets. If you spend some time thinking about the spaces that your balustrade connect, it may make it easier to decide on the finishes for your stairs. We offer primed balusters that are ready for your painter. We also offer raw wood in almost any profile in over 20 wood species that can be finished right along with your cabinets.
If you want to match turned accent corners in your kitchen or hearth, call us to replicate custom newels or balusters. If you can’t find the turning you like, call to speak with one of our stair specialists. They will help you turn a CAD file or photo into a template for us to use to create your ideal balustrade.