Maximum Durability on Painted Handrails

Updated May 8, 2024 | Posted Nov 21, 2019 | Professional insight, Product Advice | 12 comments

About 15 months ago, I decorated this hall, stairs and landing. I wanted to test something out. The handrail takes a battering, and customer wanted something to last. However, they had opted for a dark eggshell / satin finish and ring marks etc would probably ruin it pretty quick.

The other problem handrails normally face is the oil from peoples’ hands can damage and lift paint over time. That’s why you often see paint lifting on handrails or newel posts when all the other paintwork in the room is sound.

We needed something which was going to be tough!! Something that was going to last!! Something with maximum durability!!

Knowing how good a finish Zinsser Allcoat is, I opted for that, but because it would mark easily on something like this. I thought I would give it a coat of Tikkurila Unica 20 oil varnish to protect the finished paintwork. Polyvine Decorators’ varnish is supposed to do the same job, but I’ve never used that. Tikkurila is a brand I know and love!

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It was a bit trial and error, as I hadn’t used varnish on top of paint before, but it dried smooth as silk. It actually improved the finish of the Zinsser Allcoat, which is pretty awesome in itself! As you can see from the pictures, it added depth and a richness which looked amazing!

So, over a year down the line, there isn’t a mark on it. Even at the bottom where people pivot and swing round it. The pictures were taken today.

Also did the same method on this front door, and drove past it the other week, still solid 👌🏼

So, if you have dark handrails or the like to do, this is a sure fire hit for extra durability 💥

For more information on Zinsser AllCoat click here

For more information on Tikkurila click here

Maximum Durability on Painted Handrails

Blog written by Wesley Knight – Professional Painter and Decorator

Updated May 8, 2024 | Posted Nov 21, 2019 | 12 comments

About the Author

About the Author

Mike Cupit has been in the decorating industry since 2002 and has mostly worked as a Trade Decorator in the domestic sector (peoples’ homes). Self-proclaimed “product geek”, Mike has a passion for paint and decorating tools. Mike now spends most of his time testing paint products and tools, comparing them to similar products on the market, and blogging about the industry in general.

12 Comments

  1. Paul

    Looks great
    has anyone tried this method of Tikkurila oil varnish on Kitchen cupboard doors after painting them to give added protection…. Just wondering..

    Reply
    • wesley

      I havent tried, but on darker units, I dont see any reason not to

      Reply
  2. Damian Golczynski

    Hi Wesley.Have you used Zinsser Allcoat exterior ? ( as per link) Thanks.Damian

    Reply
    • wesley

      yes, its the exterior water based zinsser allcoat. I chose that over others as with dark colours, it is a soperb product that doesnt dry with any brushmarks in satin. Then the varnish coat is applied ontop of that

      Reply
      • Richard

        Recoat touch up could possibly blister, the heat from the sun coat pull the varnish away, resulting in small blisters, especially if a dark colour.
        How can you touch up the front door with allcoat? Would it stick correctly to the old oil varnish.
        I think you are leaving yourself open to problems which no manufacturer will entertain.

        Reply
  3. Gary Melville

    Looks great and it’s obviously worked in terms of longevity.

    Had/have you previously tried any of the wb Tikkurila clear finishes?

    Reply
    • wesley

      I have tried the kiva on a light handrail, and although good, didnt match the silky, touch fee of the unica, imo

      Reply
      • wesley

        *silky tough feel

        Reply
  4. Adrian

    I’ve used Zinseer Allcoat Exterior ( can be used internally) on interior woodwork previously, it’s incredible stuff ( even though it’s microporous and slightly softer under the finished cured coat…. I recently tried the new Heavy Duty Extreme Varnish by Polyvine as a protective coat… and that’s worked fantastically well, as close to the PV67 epoxy varnish as you can get in a water based form 👌🏼

    Reply
  5. Dave King

    Does it only work on darker colours?

    Reply
  6. Peter R

    Wesley. Which Allcoat did you use?
    I want to paint [brush] bannister, newels, etc. to stairs. Previously coated in a white, oil based satinwood. The wearing areas (tops of newels and bannister) have badly worn – down to bare wood in places!
    It puts the rest of the paintwork to shame.
    Also wondered if this would be good for previously painted wardrobe doors – as they also take a ‘battering’?

    Reply
  7. John

    I’m painting a bannister in satin allcoat will it not last on it’s own

    Reply

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