My Experience and Recommendation
I had a similar project a few years ago. Our stairs were very dated - pink carpet, off white railings, only hardwood on the treads. Attached are the photos of the project. The carpet had to go. I laid oak flooring on the landings and upstairs hallway. The real challenge was what to do with the odd hand rail and metal balusters and newel posts. Cleaver as I am I decided to strip and paint the metal railing black, install new oak handrails and for the pièce de résistance I would make oak box newel posts to wrap the vertical metal posts, 3 total. Easy, right? It took every skill and piece of knowledge I could apply to make this work and look like it was an original. Mitered all the long corners with splines on the miters corners for strength and a perfectly matching two sided back piece to enclose the metal post which went throughout a tight fitting notch on both back pieces. It came out great but it was quite a challenge!
My recommendation... replace your newel posts! Build your own or buy them pre made. Your sanity is worth it!
Hope this helps!
Saw Dust Rules
“In God we trust. All others bring data.” - W.E. Deming
Dave in Rochester, NY