Tuesday, September 23, 2014

How to Paint Stairs

If your staircase is showing signs of wear and tear, why not give it a fresh, new look with paint. With a little time and preparation, you can create a spectacular staircase that will add unique design appeal to your home. This easy guide on how to paint stairs will get you started.

Gather Your Tools

* tape measure or ruler
* carpenter's square or angle
* pencil
* utility knife
* painter's tape
* square paintbrush and paint tray
* paint and primer

Preparing the Stairs

Carpet – If your stairs are carpeted, you'll need to remove the carpet and remove tack strips, nails or staples. Fill any holes or gaps with spackling paste, smooth it out even with the stair tread, then let it dry. If there's plywood under the carpet, you don't need to sand the surface.

Hardwood – If your stairs are hardwood, you'll need to give them a light sanding to remove the sheen from wax or sealers. You want to provide a slightly rough finish that will absorb the primer and paint.

Tape and Prime

Painter's Tape – After you finish the prep work, you're ready to tape and prime the stairs. Using your painter's tape, carefully tape around all stair edges that butt up to a wall, on one side or both sides, to keep the primer and paint off the walls. If you're painting the stair treads and risers, you don't need tape further, but if you're only painting the stairs treads you'll need to tape below each tread to keep paint off of the risers.

Primer – Choose a good quality primer/sealer and apply one or two coats to cover stair surfaces. Let each coat dry thoroughly (overnight is best) before applying your paint. You can skip a separate primer by choosing an all-in-one paint and primer. When applying primer, the job will go faster with a roller, but a paintbrush will be easier and neater.


Choose your desired paint color in a flat, eggshell or semigloss finish. Cover 1/3 to 1/2 of your brush with paint and then remove excess. Starting at the back of the tread, apply paint lengthwise across the stair with one long stroke. Start the second stroke next to the first stroke and continue down the staircase. Apply paint with light, even strokes until stairs are finished. Let the staircase dry, preferably for a couple of days, before you use the stairs.


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