I don’t normally post queries from readers, but since I got two in one week about painting banisters and railings, I decided it might be a good idea to share the information I gathered. One reader had decided that spending around $3,000 to refinish an oak railing to match her new flooring didn’t make good financial sense. Instead, she wanted to repaint it, and asked what kind of paint and finish would work best. Never having painted railings (thank goodness!), I asked Bev Bell, paint expert for Home Hardware, for her thoughts. Bev responded that the task would be pretty easy to tackle (really – even the spindles?) and was optimistic that the results would be great. She suggested that the reader prepare the surface by washing it down with TSP or Safe Prep before lightly scuffing it with 120 grit sandpaper or a fine sanding sponge. Then she advised using Beauti-Tone’s melamine paint — an alkyd product that’s enhanced with urethane and has an eggshell finish. It’s high adhesion, self levelling and does not require a primer. It comes in pre-mixed black and white (which can be tinted). There, that was easy! Any more questions?