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From Stained To Painted Wood – How You Can Paint Your Stairs

Old wood stairs can be an ugly scene if you don’t take good care of them. If you bought the home recently and you are trying to patch it up, redoing the staining and painting yourself can help to extend your budget. But, there is always the worry of it not turning out as good as if it were done by a professional. However, with proper guidance, you should not be worried so get your tools ready.

Preparing the stairs

The preparation has to be right for you to get good results. If the stairs are carpeted, you will need to remove the carpet to check the state of the wood underneath. If the wood is in good condition, then your work is cut by half.

Remove all nails, staples and other items that stick out of the stairs with pliers and vacuum any dirt out. Use putty to fill out the holes that have been left behind by the nails and staples you removed. Adding putty and blocking out the holes will improve the final look and give you a fine final finish.

Once the stairs are clean and all the tiny holes and dents have been sealed, sand the treads of the stairs to get an even look and also to clean up the wood. Sanding has two benefits. The first is it helps to get rid of unevenness and the second is it helps to get rid of the dirty layer of wood for a more colourful and even look.

When sanding, use a 60 or 80 grit paper. You can use a belt sander in the beginning, but you have to use your hands to get the corners and the final touches looking right. Remember that also the raisers of the stairs need to be sanded as well.  Once you are done sanding, vacuum thoroughly and wipe the stairs to remove any dust speckles.


You can pick any colour of stain that you want. However, if you are going for the dark rich look, the darker stains are better. Darker stains are also perfect when you are trying to hide imperfections in the wood.

The medium tones are great for that weathered antique look, and if you don’t have any concerns with your final look, you can also go for the lighter tones. Even though you can get 2-in-1 stains, it is best to always get separate products for each step.

Painting your stairs

It is best if you apply two coats of stain but, you can also do with one coat. Give the stain a couple of hours to dry. After it has dried off, you can apply a coat of urethane finish. If your stairs are a high traffic zone, you need to get the best quality finish possible and apply up to three coats for durability.

After 24 hours, your treads are dry and can handle light foot traffic. The last phase is the painting. Start by taping off areas where you don’t want to spurge the paint and prime the wood using a wood primer. Apply two coats of a high-quality enamel trim paint and make sure you use a high-quality brush leaving a couple of minutes of drying before applying the next layer.

Once done, give the stairs ample time to dry out. If you want to have a captivating look, you can have alternating colours between the treads and the risers.