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How to Repaint Your Home’s Stairs Like a Pro

If your home’s stairs are looking a little worse for wear, it might be time to repaint them! Painting stairs can be a tricky process, but with the right tools and tips, you can do it like a pro.

In this blog post, we will discuss the benefits of repainting stairs, the tools you will need, and the steps you need to take to get the job done. So if your home’s staircase could use a little refreshment, keep reading for some helpful advice!

When Should You Think About Repainting Your Stairs?

The stairs in your home get a lot of wear and tear with normal use, so you need to make sure they are safe and look great for your family.

In addition to getting a lot of wear and tear, your stairs are also a focal point of your home since the stairs are typically the first thing people see when they enter your home.

The good news is that you can repaint your stairs to improve the look and functionality of this area of your home in no time with some simple tips and tricks!

Your stairs might need a new coat of paint if:

  • The paint is cracked, chipped, or peeling: This typically occurs if the previous paint job did not end with a top coat to seal the paint from friction that occurs when the stairs are walked on.
  • The wood is starting to show through: If your stairs get a lot of use, they are likely to start showing wood where people tend to walk the most. You can make the stairs look new by applying a fresh coat of stair paint to keep the stairs looking great throughout the year.
  • You want to change the color of your stairs: Many times stairs are solid wood, and this can make the area look bad since there is so much of one color in an area. You can add paint to the risers and trim the stairs to add a pop of color to the staircase.

There are a few other things to keep in mind when deciding whether or not to repaint your stairs. If your stairs are made of natural wood, you might want to consider staining them instead of painting them.

Tools You Will Need To Repaint Your Stairs

Before you start painting your stairs, you will need to gather the following materials:

  • A Ladder: You will need a ladder to reach the top of the stairs if you want to paint the railings or the trim around the staircase. Make sure the ladder is tall enough so that you can comfortably reach the top of the stairs without having to stand on your tiptoes. You may also want to invest in a ladder pad to prevent damaging your walls when painting the outer areas of the staircase.
  • Painter’s Tape: This will help you create straight lines when painting and prevent paint from getting on areas where you don’t want it. I recommend you use green FrogTape near the tread and risers to ensure no paint seeps into the different sections of the staircase so you can have a professional-looking staircase once the project is completed.
  • Drop Cloths: You will need drop cloths to protect your floor from paint drips.
  • Sandpaper: Use sandpaper to rough up the surface of your stairs before painting. This will help the paint adhere better to the stairs.
  • Foam Roller & Paint Brushes:  These are the tools you will use to actually apply the paint to the stairs. I recommend using a foam roller for large areas and a paintbrush for smaller areas or tight spaces. A foam roller is ideal for larger areas since it will remove any brush strokes, which can make the final project look great.
  • Paint: You will need to select the type of paint you want to use for your project. You will need special stair paint if you want to paint the tread of a stair since it gets a lot of wear. You should also use high-sheen paint like semi-gloss paint on the sides and risers since you will need to clean these areas frequently and high-sheen paint is easier to clean.

Steps To Repaint Your Stairs In Less Time

Homeowners are always looking for ways to spruce up their home’s appearance and increase its value. One project that can accomplish both of these goals is repainting the stairs.

This DIY project is relatively simple and can be completed in a few days. In addition, it is a great way to add a pop of color or pattern to your home’s decor.

1. Remove The Old Paint With A Stripper

If you are painting over an old paint job, you will need to remove the old paint before applying a new coat. This can be done with a chemical stripper or a sander. I recommend using a chemical stripper since it is less labor-intensive and will save you time in the long run.

Make sure to follow the instructions on the stripper and wear gloves and goggles to protect yourself from the chemicals. Depending on the amount of work needed, it might be a good idea to start with a sander since this option won’t interact with the paint on a chemical level.

Once the old paint is removed, you will need to sand the stairs to create a smooth surface for the new paint job.

2. Sand The Surface & Apply Painter’s Tape

After the old paint is removed, you will need to sand the stairs to create a smooth surface for the new paint job. I recommend using a palm sander since it will be easier to maneuver around the different areas of the staircase.

If you are painting over an old paint job, you might not need to sand the entire staircase. You can test a small area to see if the new paint will adhere without sanding first. Sanding down rough areas will help make the overall project look amazing, and smoother surfaces help paint adhere better. This will result in the paint lasting for a longer period of time and protect your stairs from constant wear and tear.

Once you have finished sanding, make sure to vacuum up any dust so it doesn’t get on your new paint job. Removing dust will help the fresh coat of primer and paint adhere to the stairs, plus you don’t want the dust to mix with your primer or paint since this can make the liquid paint thicker and harder to work with.

Once you have sanded down the stairs and removed the dust, you will need to apply painter’s tape to ensure you get a clean edge. This is an important step in painting your stairs because any paint that seeps into different areas will make the project look amateur. When we touched up our stairs before selling our home, I laid down painter’s tape on the tread of the stairs since I was going to repaint the sides of the stairs. This prevented me from getting white paint on the treads, and this helped me achieve clean lines to make our stairs look amazing!

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3. Apply A Primer Coat

After the stairs are sanded and free of dust, you will need to apply a primer coat. This will help the new paint job look great and last for a longer period of time. Primer should be applied to any bare wood that might have been exposed from sanding or from regular wear as people walk over the treads.

I recommend using a water-based primer undercoat since it can stop any stains from seeping through and it also acts as an undercoat so that future coats won’t be necessary. This is especially important for your stairs since the stairs in your house get lots of traffic plus spilled liquids like juices if you have children.

Make sure to follow the instructions on the can of primer and only apply it in well-ventilated areas. You don’t want to inhale too much of the fumes since they can be harmful to your health. Once you have applied the primer, let it dry completely before moving on to painting your stairs.

4. Paint The Stairs With Two Coats Of Your Chosen Color

After the primer coat has dried, you can start painting your stairs with your chosen color. I recommend using semi-gloss paint since it is easy to clean and will look great in any light. This type of paint is easier to clean than flat paint, and a high-sheen paint will make your house look larger since it catches the light and draws the eye of viewers in the area.

You should also use a paintbrush for the sides and risers of the stairs and a roller for the treads. This will help you avoid getting paint on your clothes plus it will give you more control over how much paint is applied to each surface.

Apply two coats of paint to each stair, letting the first coat dry completely before applying the second coat. Once both coats are dry, you can add any finishing touches like stencils or decals to personalize your staircase! When we were repainting our stairs, I used a foam roller on the sides of the stairs to ensure I got a flat and professional-looking finish to the stairs. This is especially important because I used semi-gloss paint on the sides of the stairs. While high-sheen paint looks amazing in these areas, high-sheen paint usually leaves more brush strokes so I used a foam roller whenever possible to reduce the risk of this happening.

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5. Seal The Paint Job With A Clear Topcoat

After the paint has dried, you will need to apply a clear topcoat to protect your stairs from everyday wear and tear. This is an optional step, but I highly recommend it since it will make your stairs look shiny and new for years to come.

You can find a clear topcoat at any hardware store, and all you need to do is apply it according to the instructions on the can. Once the topcoat is dry, your stairs will be protected from scratches, dirt, and spills.

Give Your Home A Great Look By Repainting Your Stairs!

Painting your home’s stairs can seem like a daunting task, but with the right steps and products it can be an easy project that you can complete in just a few hours. Follow our simple guide to get started on your next painting project!


Hi, I'm Chris. I'm a professional painter with over 10 years of experience. I want to show homeowners tips, guides, and advice to save them time and money when painting their own home. I know it can be daunting to take on a painting project yourself, but it doesn't have to be. With the right information and some guidance, you can easily paint your home and save money in the process.


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