RealMilkPaint Web Full Gallon TerraCottaIf you’re looking for a way to breathe new life into your entryway or hallway, consider painting the stairs for your next project. Whether you have wooden stairs that are ready for a paint job or carpeted stairs that need a big makeover, painting stairs can provide a big boost of color and style to your living space. The best part is that you don’t need to be a professional painter to get a beautiful finished product when you decide to start painting your stairs with Real Milk Paint.

Step-by-Step Guide to Painting Staircases With Real Milk Paint

Painting stairs is simple when you have a high-quality paint like Real Milk Paint as your medium. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to paint a staircase, whether it’s made from bare wood, concrete flooring or wooden stairs with an existing coat of paint on them.

Key Takeaways

  1. Gather your supplies: Organize all the tools, paint and supplies you need to complete your painted stairs project.
  2. Choose your color: Pick the paint colors you want to use on your stairs and pair them with a paint stick for stirring and container for mixing.
  3. Prepare the surfaces: Different painted stairs projects have different requirements, so be ready to tape off, sand and repair surfaces before you start painting.
  4. Paint the stairs: Use the paintbrushes and rollers to paint the steps exactly as you envision them.
  5. Drying and maintenance: Give the milk paint time to dry, then add a sealer top coat to protect the color of your painted stairs.

Tools You’ll Need to Paint Your Staircase

Tools You'll Need to Paint Your StaircaseThe first step in painting stairs with Real Milk Paint is gathering the tools and supplies you need for the project. Depending on the template you decide upon and the condition of your stairs, you may not need all these supplies, but it helps to have them on hand for future projects, even if you don’t use them on this one.

Brushes and Rollers

Both paint rollers and paintbrushes come in handy when you’re painting stairs. Rollers provide excellent coverage on flat, smooth surfaces, while paintbrushes get into cracks and crevices that rollers miss. You may want to keep rollers and brushes in various sizes to accommodate any smaller or larger areas than usual as you paint a staircase.

Painter’s Tape and Sandpaper

Painter’s tape lets you section off areas for templates or cover spaces you don’t want to paint at all. Sandpaper helps you achieve the tooth you want to make the milk paint stick to the stairs, and fine-grit sandpaper in particular works well for smoothing out small imperfections in the wood.

Other Necessary Supplies

Some other supplies you need include drop cloths to prevent paint from dripping onto areas you don’t want to color. You also need a paint stick for stirring the Real Milk Paint after you mix it with water at a 1:1 ratio, and if you want to ensure the medium sticks securely when applied atop old paint or other finishes, you may also want to add our Ultra-Bond Adhesion Promoter to your list of necessary supplies.

Choose the Right Color for Your Staircase

The right color to paint a staircase depends on the look you wish to achieve, and Real Milk Paint comes in 56 gorgeous shades that simplify palette creation. For instance, white milk paint shades distressed at the edges lend farmhouse flair to your space, while black milk paint hues take your home’s sophistication level up a notch. Keep in mind you can mix and match your color selections to create high-contrast drama, like with black and white combinations, or a soft complementary look, such as those created by pairing gray milk paints with shades of green to craft a balanced, earthy home design.

Prepare the Staircase Surface

Preparing to paint stairs requires cleaning, inspecting and repairing the surfaces before you get started on the task at hand. Since painting stairs with Real Milk Paint doesn’t require using a good primer, a good wipedown with a high-quality cleaner like our Tri-Sodium Phosphate removes any dirt or debris that might interfere with coverage. After applying the cleaner, let the wooden stairs dry completely before moving on to the next step.

Remove Existing Paint or Finishes

Repair Damaged Areas with Oxalic Acid Wood Bleach and Wood Filler

If you plan on covering old paint with Real Milk Paint, you may just need to sand stairs with buildup a bit with some fine-grit sandpaper to ensure good tooth for even coverage. Stairs covered with old paint or stain that might bleed through or hinder your creative vision may require removing the existing finish. Use a chemical stripper such as Soy-Gel Professional Paint Remover to get the job done safely, since this formulation encapsulates potentially hazardous mediums like lead paint for easy removal.

Repair Damaged Areas

If you discover divots or dings that need some extra care, now’s the time to repair them with Real Wood Filler. Simply smooth this resin-based wood filler on the uneven area and scrape the excess away with a putty knife. Let the wood filler dry, then sand down the surfaces to complete your prep work for painting the stairs. During this step look for any metal stains on the stairs and if needed, clean the area thoroughly with Oxalic Acid Wood Bleach.

Paint Treads, Risers and Other Components

When you’re ready to paint a staircase, keep in mind the overarching design. For instance, you may choose to paint the risers and treads in different color combinations to lend visual appeal to your painted stairs. Other ways to increase interest in your design include using painter’s tape to cordon off an area and create the illusion of a runner on your stairs by using two paint colors. You can also include striping, abstract designs or even stenciled patterns as you add new paint, letting your creativity shine without the need for a specialist floor paint.

Drying Time and Maintenance

Staircase Painted With Real Milk PaintWhen you’ve decided on a theme and applied painter’s tape to set your template, it’s time to start painting. Use paintbrushes and rollers to smooth the first coat of Real Milk Paint onto your stairs, moving from one step to the next, then painting the remaining steps and keeping your color even. Let the first coat dry for a couple of hours, then use the same process to add the second coat of milk paint and let it dry overnight.

Since your stairs likely see lots of action, consider adding a top coat to the painted surface like our Pure Tung Oil. Designed to work over Real Milk Paint and made from 100% Chinawood oil for nontoxic coverage, this finishing oil cures by oxidation, not evaporation, creating a hard yet flexible barrier that helps areas like stairs easily withstand frequent footfalls. This finishing oil takes 7 to 15 days to cure to the touch and 30 days for a full cure, so keep that in mind before you apply sealer to your painted stairs.