I would like to paint my staircase black (treads) and white (risers). I would like it to look something like this:

enter image description here

When I bought the house the staircase was carpeted. After removing the carpet and underlay there was quite a bit of old glue residue that the carpet fitters used. There were also a lot of staples, which I have removed. From what I can tell it looks like it originally had a carpet running just up the middle, with gaps at the sides which were painted white:

enter image description here

There is also a mini landing, which I want to paint black. Is there anything special I should do here ? I wondered about laying plywood over the whole area first ?

enter image description here

So far I have done quite a bit of sanding and filling, but I am not sure how to proceed from here.

My questions are:

Should I sand (or strip?) it all back to the wood?

How should I prepare this staircase for painting?

  • 8
    You might consider painting every other step in two stages...so you don't get trapped upstairs or downstairs and can still use the staircase. Jan 12, 2023 at 15:53
  • 6
    This comment is intended for safety, not to criticize. While the stairs in the first pic are attractive, the smooth painted treads are slippery in socks and could be a hazard. Painted treads also quickly show the effects of use. This is probably why there was carpet in the middle originally.
    – RMDman
    Jan 12, 2023 at 16:12
  • @SteveWellens Interesting that you say that. The practicalities of doing this keep me awake at night ! I have 2 teenage kids, 3 dogs and 3 cats :D Jan 12, 2023 at 16:41
  • @RMDman thanks for that, it is something I have been thinking hard about, since we don't wear shoes in the house. I was thinking about putting some kind of "No-slip Strip" down, like this: amazon.co.uk/Anti-Slip-Safety-Treads-Clear/dp/B07PTDJ6PD Jan 12, 2023 at 16:45
  • 2
    @RobertLong There are "slip-resistant" floor paints that might be helpful for you in this case.
    – gnicko
    Jan 12, 2023 at 17:52

1 Answer 1


You don't need to strip to bare wood for painting. You do need to sand well enough that old paint lines are gone. They will make an appearance in your fresh coat, otherwise. This will likely expose some bare wood, so you'll need to prime properly per the instructions on the paint of your choice.

Other prep mostly involves filling or sanding out defects, scuffing remaining glossy paint, and removing any oils or other problematic substances from the wood. Basic paint stuff. As KMJ suggests, take appropriate precautions if you suspect the presence of lead paint.


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