Painting wooden stairs

How to paint wooden stairs and timber stairs – DIY Guide

Whether you want to paint your timber stairs for the first time or think redoing wooden stairs is a good idea – to get a new, fresh feeling in the house, or because the stairs simply need refinishing –, the paint to paint the wooden stairs/ timber stairs inside the house clearly determine not only the visual look but also the durability. As you want the most durable, longest lasting finish on your stairs, it is worth looking into what the best paint for stairs is. Colour choice is of course all yours. Stairs that are used intensively need a high-quality stairs paint, perhaps with a non-skid surface finish.

We show you how to paint your wooden interior stairs so that the paint stays on for years, and give an overview of the best paints for stairs that are heard-wearing.


Buy the best paint for wooden stairs

If you are unsure what kind of paint to use on stairs, it is good to know that floor paint is designed to be durable, hard-wearing and stain-resistant, thus most floor paint is suitable for wooden stairs that are walked on a lot. Find below a few paints to paint your wooden stairs at home:

GoodHome Floor & stair paint Durable Paint North Pole Matt 0.75L
GoodHome floor & stair paint Durable Paint
  • North Pole Matt
  • 0.75L
  • 2‑component paint
GoodHome Floor & stair paint Durable Paint Fairfield Matt 0.75L
GoodHome floor & stair paint Durable Paint
  • Fairfield Matt
  • 0.75L
  • 2‑component paint

GoodHome floor & stair paint Durable Paint Sedona Matt 0.75L
GoodHome floor & stair paint Durable Paint
  • Sedona Matt
  • 0.75L
  • 2‑component paint
V33 Renovation Floor & Stairs Paint White Satin 2L
V33 Renovation Floor & Stairs Paint
  • White Satin
  • 2L
  • no undercoat
V33 Renovation Floor & Stairs Paint Soft Grey Satin 2L
V33 Renovation Floor & Stairs Paint
  • Soft Grey Satin
  • 2L
  • no undercoat

Painting stairs and redoing stairs – Step-by-step Guide

To paint a complete staircase, you need a weekend of time to do it. Good news: It is not hard to paint stairs, if you are conscientous on the prep work – as that’s half the battle.

Discover the fun in painting stairs by following the following 8 steps of preparation and actual painting:

STEP 1: Preparation of the stairs before painting

1. Cover the floor the floor that is not to be painted with tape and large paper covering from a paper roll.
2. Remove any covering or carpet from the stairs. If there is none, go ahead and clean the wooden treads as well as the wooden risers with detergent and suitable degreaser. Let it dry. As adhesion is key when apllying paint, you should not rush the cleaning process.
3. The following step involves sanding the wooden surfaces to prepare it for the coming paint. Start with a rough grid (approximately an 80 grit sand paper when old paint needs to be removed) and move in steps from a 120 grit to a fine 240 grit.Use sand paper and a sanding block; a mouse sander facilitates laborious sanding work.
4. Check for dents, cracks and holes that needs repairing. Fill them with a strong wood filler and sand it to an even, smooth surface.
5. Free the stairs from dust with vaccum cleaner. a brush and wipe away all dust with a damp microfiber cloth.
6. If necessary, create a grease-free surface by using isopropanol/ rubbing alcohol and a cloth.
7. Tape off and cover all areas that must not be painted with masking tape and sheeting, like the wall.

STEP 2: Paint the stairs – Redoing treads and risers

You are finally ready to paint the stairs!

Tip: If you want to make sure you can keep using your stairs while the paint is drying, paint only each other step. Mark the treads you will not paint the first time with a cross of tape.

Also: Work from the top of the stairs down.

  1. Use a wood primer that is compatible with the paint you intend to use for the stairs’ finish. If you use paint that needs no primer, or you paint on existing, compatible paint, skip the wood primer.
  2. Cut in with an angled, sharp paint brush along the edges and use a small, fine roller to create a smooth finish for the whole surface of the treads and the risers. Always try to follow the wood grain with the brush and particularly the roller. Start with the risers, end with the treads. Let dry the first layer of paint.
  3. If you marked the unpainted stairs with crosses, remove the tape cross after the paint has dried, and put it on the dry painted ones. Paint the remaining steps as in step 2.
  4. Apply the number of coates that is recommended by the paint manufacturer.
  5. Remove all masking tape around the edges.
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