Old stairscases can be made to look new by simply applying a coat of paint. Stairs are a focal point in the home and a high traffic area that needs to be maintained regularly to keep it looking good. There are different methods to follow when painting stairs that depend on the type of wood it is made of.
For solid wood treads with a nice wood grain, you can follow the bare-wood method of refinishing by staining the treads and painting the risers and sideboards. If the stairs are covered with carpeting, you may find perfectly solid wood treads underneath. However, if they consist of manufactured chipboard material or other low-grade wood, your only option is to paint both the treads and the risers.
Bare Wood Refinishing and Painting
– Remove all nails and staples from the wood and remove all dirt.
– Remove all traces of old varnish and paint with paint stripper and a stiff brush.
– Use a belt sander with 60 – 80 grit sandpaper to sand solid wood treads. Sand the corners by hand as well as the risers and any sideboards and trims.
– Vacuum thoroughly to get rid of all dust and wash down the area to prevent dirt from getting into the paint.
– Choose a stain or paint color to match the décor.
– Paint the banisters, trims, or sideboards first.
– If you are using a stain, apply the first coating with a brush allowing the wood to get saturated. After a few seconds wipe off the residue with a cloth and apply a second coat. Allow it to dry for several hours.
Next, apply a coat of clear oil urethane finish. For excellent durability apply two more coats. To achieve a fine finish, sand the surface with fine grit sandpaper in between coatings.
– After 24 hours the treads will be dry enough to take light foot traffic and you can commence with painting the risers.
– Prime the bare wood after sanding by using a high-quality latex wood primer to seal the wood and improve adhesion.
– If the treads have been stained, tape it off with masking tape around the edges before painting the risers.
– Starting at the top of the stairs, apply two coats of high-quality enamel trim paint with a quality sash brush. Choose a color that matches other trims in the home. You can also use off-white for a neutral effect or make a statement with dark or bright colors.
– Leave the paint to dry completely before stepping on it.