The Kind of Paint Used for Banisters & Doors

Choosing the right paint for the right use helps your paint coating last longer and allows you to repaint less frequently. Paints come in several levels of glossiness. Generally, the more gloss a paint has, the better it can withstand fingerprints, dirt, wear and frequent washings. Frequently touched surfaces such as banisters and doors require paint that can withstand continuous hand contact.

Paint Wearability

Banisters need durable paint that can stand up to dirt, fingerprints and body oils.

For high-use surfaces such as banisters and doors, choose a paint that offers good wearability. Areas that receive regular contact are not places for cheaper paints. Purchase the highest-quality paint you can afford. More expensive paints contain higher amounts of chemical compounds that bind to the surface to give a higher resistance to wear. Oil-based paints last longer than latex-based paints, which makes them a good choice for high-wear areas like doors and banisters.

Degree of Gloss

Paints vary in the amount of sheen, or light reflection, they possess. The degree of sheen or gloss is determined by the ratio of binder to pigment in the paint. The more binder in the paint, the glossier the finish, according to home improvement expert Bob Vila's website. Flat paints reflect light at a minimum level. Semigloss paints and eggshell paints have a medium ability to reflect light. High-gloss paints create very shiny surfaces. Generally, the higher the gloss, the better its ability to resist dirt and wear. Flat paints hide imperfections better than other types, while high-gloss paints make surface flaws more apparent.


Oil-based high-gloss paints can withstand repeated washing and have been the recommended type of paint for doors and banisters traditionally. However, paint manufacturers now offer formulations that rival the washability of oil-based paints, according to home improvement authority Tim Carter's Ask the Builder website. These paints tend to be higher in cost but provide good coverage and washability on walls for households with young children. Doors and banisters, however, may need additional wearability. Read labels carefully before purchasing to ensure you have chosen the right paint type for your needs.


Primers are base coats that moderate a multitude of surface problems and provide a suitable foundation for topcoats of pigmented paints. Primers increase the binding capability of paint to surfaces, which means it's a good idea to use a primer when you're finishing high wear and usage surfaces like banisters and doors. Many paints contain primers, providing a convenient way to get extra durability of a painted surface.

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