How Do You Paint a Staircase


    – Which paint to use for a staircase?

    – Step 1: Organize the painting of the staircase

    – Step 2: Prepare the staircase

    – Step 3: Sand the staircase

    – Step 4: Apply an undercoat or primer

    – Step 5: Paint the staircase

The staircase is as much a decorative element as a place of passage. Painting a staircase allows you to enhance it or renovate it by giving it a second life.

To paint a staircase, it is, however, necessary to be organized to:

    – have access to the floor during the painting work;

    – properly prepare the surfaces to be painted to obtain a durable result;

    – and choose the right paint, which must be resistant.

Here are the materials and steps to paint a staircase.

Which paint to use for a staircase?

The paint for a staircase must be resistant; choose polyurethane paint for floors. There are commercially available paints for the floor “frequent passage,” which are pretty suitable for painting a staircase.

If you are painting a wooden staircase, plan to apply a primer (undercoat). This is a product that makes the wood less porous and allows the paint to adhere.

If you are painting metal or aluminum tiled stairs, plan to apply a suitable undercoat for the painting’s surface.

1. Organize the painting of the stairs

Painting a staircase means you won’t be able to use it until the paint is dry. To avoid this inconvenience, paint the stairs in two stages.

    – Paint every other step and let the paint dry before painting the remaining steps.

    – Start painting from the top of the stairs and finish at the bottom.

Tip: To avoid putting your feet on freshly painted steps out of habit, put post-its on the steps you can use.

2. Prepare the staircase

If the staircase is already painted

If the staircase is already painted and the paint is in bad condition, you must strip it before repainting.

    – Apply a thick layer of chemical stripper with a brush.

    – Leave the stripper on for the time indicated on the package (usually about 30 minutes).

    – When the paint softens and blisters, scrape with a spatula.

    – Remove the last traces of paint by scraping them off with a wire brush.

    – Work step by step from the top of the stairs.

Necessary: Wear gloves to protect your hands and ventilate the room.

If the staircase is waxed or varnished

If the staircase is waxed, apply a wax remover on the steps and let it work.

Sand with No. 000 fine steel wool to remove the wax.

Clean the staircase

Paint is applied to a clean surface. Before painting, clean the staircase to remove dust and stains.

3. Sand the staircase

Necessary: Wear a helmet, mask and goggles when using the sander, ventilate the area you are working and keep children and pets away.

If your staircase is made of wood or is tiled, sand it with fine-grit sandpaper to create microgrooves that will increase the surface’s adhesion.

    – Before sanding a wooden staircase, check for protruding nails; otherwise, hammer them in. Fill any holes and cracks with wood filler.

    – Before sanding a tiled staircase, make sure that there are no broken or loose tiles. If there are, you will need to change a tile on the floor and re-glue loose tiles.

    – Sand the steps, risers and handrail of the staircase with an angle sander :

        ◦ Never park the sander on for too long, as this can damage and gouge the surface.

        ◦ If the staircase is made of wood, always sand in the direction of the wood grain.

    – Clean up dust from sanding with a broom or vacuum and a damp mop.

4. Apply an underlayment or sealer

When the staircase is ready and clean, apply a primer or undercoat.

    – Apply the underlayment or primer with a brush.

    – Start at the top of the staircase and finish at the bottom.

    – Allow drying before painting.

5. Paint the stairs

To paint the stairs:

    – Start by painting the railing with a brush. For the delicate parts, use a bristle brush.

    – Then, paint the steps with a brush. Be sure to start at the top of the stairs and paint every other step.

    – Apply the paint in two thin coats.

    – Sand the paint very lightly with fine-grit sandpaper between the two coats. Do not use the sander, sand by hand.

Finally, you can varnish the paint on your wooden stairs to enhance protection.

Equipment for painting a staircase


$5 approx.

Paint stripper Starting

at $10/L

Wax remover

$10 approx.

Thick protective gloves

$10 approx.

Steel wool

$6 approx.

Safety glasses

$6 approx.

Protective mask

$1 approx.

Sander Starting

at $30

Wood underlayment

$10 approx.

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