Wednesday 25 April 2012

Painting Stairs (well, strictly 'Priming Stairs', but who's being pedantic?)

Our staircase was needing work done, but we have not yet decided what exactly to do with them. 
One thing we did know is that they will be painted

• We have bare hardwood floors throughout the house 
(We are not fans of carpet)

• The stairs contain wood, plywood and MDF components 
So a varnish or stain is out of the question

• Painting is the only other option

We sanded the stairs down as much as practicable, but as it wasn't essential to get all the muck off we didn't worry too much, our corner stairs are made of MDF so they didn't get sanded (MDF is nasty stuff you don't want bits of it floating about) 

Always use a hoover when sanding
it makes a HUGE difference to the dust created.

Then I washed down the stairs with white spirit on a rag - this is important as it removes all the teeny bits of grime and dust, just as important is to leave it to dry (or the paint won't adhere properly)

Take a dry paint brush to dust down each step just before painting.

Working on the second stage
Paint stairs from the top down, and only paint every other step. When the first stairs are dry and before starting the next stage, mark the steps (so everyone knows where they can and can't stand)

We won't be leaving them white, about 3 hours of use and you could see every footprint on the white stairs and, since I have neither the time nor inclination to scrub the stairs every day, I fear that white is not the colour for us

We may go for grey, We may go for red... the jury is still out.

We have now decided to also paint the bannister, but I ran out of primer so the 'after' shots will have to wait for another day.

Nitty Gritty

  • Stairs - a mix of pine and MDF with plywood riser (I think the style is called 'half turn')
  • Sander -  an orbital 1/3 sheet sander, we find it suits every job. Bought from (and branded) Wickes, we believe their power tools are made by Draper
  • Hoover - is an old dyson animal with washable foam filter (which gets washed after every job)
  • Paint - is B+Q wood primer and undercoat


  1. Lol..its a nightmare doing stairs..ours has a runner up the middle and painted whiys down the and yet effective..when tots are grown we will go without carpet..but for now its ok..
    Thankfully ours are hardwood and had been covered with thick carpet for years so in good condition underneath it all..
    have a good day i'm off to start tiling the kitchen and remove 2 top cupboards and a big base unit..
    take care

  2. Ours are half-done. Yet to decide want to do, my initial intention was to stain the top of each step, which I've done, then wallpaper the front of each step using free sample pieces, something like I still like that idea, but I've yet to find the right wallpaper or get around to finishing them off. I need to go raid the shops again ;)


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