Staircases are usually the focal point of any home. They are also a high traffic area, which needs to be maintained and upgraded every few years to ensure it doesn’t bring down the value of your property. Most homes in Pakistan mostly feature interior staircases made of marble or wood, two relatively durable materials that can withstand general wear and tear for a very long time before showing any signs of distress. Since marble or tiled staircases can simply be polished to restore their shine, a wooden staircase requires to be stained and painted at regular intervals. Also, contrary to popular belief, you can paint a staircase all by yourself without spending additional money on hiring a professional.
Sounds great, right?
Since painting the stairs can instantly improve the overall look of your home, you need to be extra careful while undertaking this DIY project.
For your convenience, we have put together a simple and easy-to-follow guide on how to paint a staircase that will definitely help you out.
How to Repair Your Staircase
Before you start painting interior stairs, you need to ensure they are in perfect condition and haven’t sustained any damage.
Removing the carpet
Replacing an old, worn-out carpet with a newer one is an easy way to upgrade your staircase. However, if you are planning to paint a staircase, you cannot do so if it is covered with a carpet.
To remove carpet from the stairs, you can either pry open the metal nosing at the top of the stairs or simply cut the carpet near the top stair and pull it all off using your hands. Since pulling one long piece of carpet off the stairs can be a little difficult, you can slice off small sections of the material as you go. Once the carpet has been removed, tear away the padding as well as tackless strips using pliers. Make sure you are wearing thick rubber gloves and safety glasses while doing so.
Next, remove all the nails and stapler pins from the wooden treads and risers using the claw (backside) of a hammer. Don’t forget to sweep or vacuum all the dirt and debris that must have accumulated on the surface before wiping the staircase with a slightly dampened mop. The spindles and railing of your staircase must also be cleaned properly.
This will make painting stairs after removing carpet much easier.
Sanding the Stairs
If you can see any flaws or imperfections in the wood after cleaning it, you should fix them before moving on to the next step of painting a staircase.
Depending on the condition of your stairs, they might also need to be sanded.
For minor flaws and imperfections, medium or fine-grit sandpaper should do the trick. All you need to do is sand the wood in the direction of the grain for a smooth finish. If you sand the surface perpendicular to the grain, the surface will look scratched and unattractive. Moreover, you won’t be able to fix it with paint as the scratches will stand out even more against the new colour.
You can sand the varnish or paint off the railing and spindles as well.
Choosing the Paint for Your Staircase
When it comes to choosing the best paint for interior stairs, you need to first determine if your stairs need to be stained or painted.
If your wooden staircase is in a relatively good condition, staining the treads might be a better choice as it would give your stairs a stylish yet elegant look by highlighting the wood underneath. Risers, railings and spindles can be painted to complement the hue of the stain.
However, if your stairs are showing any signs of general wear-and-tear or if you can see any visible nail holes and other imperfections, painting the stairs would be a great way to camouflage all of the flaws. In this case, you will first stain your stairs before covering them with a fresh coat of paint. This is because it is easier to clean paint off stained wood than the raw, unpolished one.
As far as the colour is concerned, you can opt for a bold and dark staircase to add flair to your neutral colour palette. No matter which colour you select, just make sure it is in contrast with the shade of your walls. Moreover, you can either paint the treads and risers in the same colour or use different shades for both.
If you are looking for some inspiration on how to paint a staircase, here are some DIY makeover ideas for stairs that will help you out.
Semi-gloss finish is the best paint for stair risers, railing and spindles. It is also the best paint for high traffic stairs since it’s easy to clean and maintain. On the other hand, you can choose oil or water-based floor paint for stair treads. The colour should ideally be a little dark to conceal dirt. It is also the best paint for basement stairs.
To find out more about different types of paint finishes, take a look at our detailed guide on the topic.
How to Prep Your Stairs for Paint
Here are the step-by-step instructions that will help you prepare your stairs for paint.
Step 1: Clean the stairs, railings and spindles with a damp cloth. Remove the moisture using a clean microfiber cloth.
Step 2: Use a latex primer to cover bare wood. Apply a layer of this wood primer on the railings and spindles.
Step 3: Once the primer is completely dry, apply stain on the stair treads and risers using a brush application. Wait for a minute or two so it can saturate the wood before wiping it off with a clean lint-free cloth. If needed, add a second coat. Make sure to check the label for specific manufacturer’s instructions.
Step 4: Wait at least 24 hours to ensure your staircase is completely dry and ready for a coat of paint.
How to Paint a Staircase
Here is how you can paint a staircase in ten easy steps.
Step 1: You can start off by painting the staircase railing in your chosen shade. Cover the treads below with newspaper to avoid any unwanted paint drops to ruin the surface.
Step 2: Once the paint on the railing begins to dry, you can start painting staircase spindles.
Step 3: Are you using separate colours for painting stair treads and risers? If so, tape off the edges of each tread with masking tape to avoid any mishaps.
Step 4: Apply a coat of paint to the stained treads using a quality brush. Usually, two coats of paints are enough for the staircase, though you can add another coat if needed. Follow the same procedure to paint the risers as well.
Step 5: Wait for the paint to dry a little and add finishing touches if necessary
Step 6: Once all of the stairs have been painted, wait for it to dry just enough for some light foot traffic. Then, apply a layer of clear oil urethane finish on your stairs. This finish is mandatory for high traffic areas in the home and is available in both water and oil-based formulae. For an ideal application, you must use at least two coats of this finish.
Useful Tips for Painting the Stairs
Here are some tips for painting interior stairs that all homeowners must be familiar with:
- Always choose a high-quality paint for your stairs
- Do not skip the primer or the clear finish at the end
- You can use a small roller brush for a smooth finish. However, you will need a brush to paint the corners and edges
- Start at the top of the stairs and work your way to the bottom
- Start painting the stairs early in the day or late at night as this project will require several hours and will leave you unable to use the staircase
On a side note, if you are planning to remodel or renovate your home, this guide on the basics of designing a staircase could be of great help. Similarly, you should also take a look at some stylish staircase design ideas that will add a hint of elegance and luxury to your home.
Meanwhile, if you are a fan of carpeted stairs, here is a complete step-by-step tutorial on how to install carpet on stairs.
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