Care and Finishing, Best Paint for Wood Porch Railing

Our wood porch railing products are designed to be low maintenance and very durable.  Here are a few considerations for painting porch railings to help ensure you enjoy your new wood porch railings for decades to come:

Storage and moisture considerations

  • Always keep in mind that your new millwork is good old fashioned natural wood and needs to be handled accordingly.  Although we use only “kiln dried” wood, it still contains between 5% and 15% moisture.  All woods eventually assume the moisture of the environment in which they are stored.  Problems arise when the moisture content changes too quickly.  Protect it from very wet or especially dry environments.
  • Never store unpainted millwork in direct sunlight, even for a few hours.  This will invariably dry the wood rapidly which causes checking (small cracks between the grain).  In extreme cases it can cause splitting.

Painting Porch Railings

  • Before you install or paint porch railings, always use a high quality acrylic (water based) primer on all surfaces, including and especially the ends.  Do this as soon as possible to help protect your investment.  Factory priming is available direct from our shop, which allows for immediate installation upon arrival.
  • For railings ordered as pre-primed, we use a premium acrylic primer, sprayed on all surfaces.  We do not apply a heavy coat of primer.  Instead, we apply the RIGHT amount of primer, which is enough to protect the wood and give a good adhesion surface for the top coat.
  • Do not neglect the ends of your millwork.  The end grain gains and loses moisture more readily than the side of the grain and needs to be protected.
  • Finish your millwork with a high quality water based topcoat exterior paint within 14 days after installation to prevent oxidation of the primer.
  • Go to your local professional paint store for the best paint for porch railings. These types of places often have more knowledgeable help, better advice, and better products than the big box stores.


  • For best results and easy installation, we recommend using our Rail Installation Kit for porch rails and our Newel Installation Kit for newel posts.  These kits are specifically designed for our products, and make for a very clean and strong result.
  • We recommend using only high quality outdoor hardware, such as ceramic coated steel, stainless steel, chromed steel, or aluminum for you porch. These products will resist rust, corrosion, staining, discoloration, and bleeding.  Always pre-drill holes for your hardware to prevent splitting.

You’ve invested the time, money, and energy in seeking the absolute best, American-made, solid wood porch railings from American Porch; take the extra time and care with the installation phase and make the most of that beautiful porch!

Paint porch railing. Multi colored Revival porch spindles

Related Articles:

Caring for Millwork (what do I do when my stuff shows up?!)

Bottom Rail: To Slope or Not to Slope?

How far apart should I space my spindles? How many do I need?