Are you thinking about decorating stair risers or would like to clear coat your painted decorative stair treads.

If so, you might find that it’s not as easy as one would think. Especially if your needing to use the steps while they are being painted.

Below you will find information regarding the painting process for stringers, treads and risers.

You will also find the best type of products to use for getting your job done.

furthermore, if your interested in adding a little spice to your steps, virtually every type of wall decorating technique can be applied.

From doing a faux finish to color blocking search this web site the Internet, library and bookstores to help you with ideas for decorating stair risers, stringers and treads (steps).


Depending on the surface being coated you will need to use the proper primers and paints etc.

Talk to your local paint supplier or home improvement center regarding products, tools and application advice, Doing so will help get your step painting project completed in the quickest manner possible.


Use drop cloths, painters tape, masking paper and plastic to cover and protect any and all surfaces, walls or items that you don't want to get paint on.

Another thing to keep in mind is if your using a paint sprayer or spray can for your decorative stair treads and risers as opposed to cutting and rolling your steps you will need to do a lot more covering and protecting of your valuables.

When cutting and rolling the tools you use need to fit on your steps. As an example, a regular size paint tray may not sit on the step properly or a tiny size brush will extend the job being done and a roller cover that’s to wide for the step riser will make your work more difficult.

Before you start priming or painting be sure and use a paintable caulking along with hole filler (if needed) to repair any cracks or holes your stair steps may have.


Both cutting/rolling or spraying will work fine to get your decorative stair treads, stringers and risers coated. If you do use a paint sprayer be sure your familiar with the sprayers operation and safety procedures.

Stair landings and the sides of your step (outside stringer) can be saved and painted last. Also, while your painting, try not to back your self into a corner or get stuck in a room waiting for the paint to dry.

With that said if you have a way out of a room or you don't mind sitting down in the room entertaining yourself until the paint dries then go ahead and start painting.

While painting work your way down coating the entire surface of the treads, stringers and risers, once your done find a couch that’s in the room your in to curl up on and wait.

Most latex paints can be recoated in a couple of hours. Just remember not to get paint on the furniture while your sitting around watching the big screen.


With your steps prepped out start at the top of the stairs painting the risers and inside stringers. In simpler terms, what you need to paint first is every part of the step except the surface that the sole of your shoe touches (the step or tread itself).

Once the risers and stringers are painted and dry start from the top again and work your way down. If this will keep you from getting out of the room (e.g. basement stairwell) what you can do instead is paint every second tread.

Painting every second tread will give you non-painted steps to make your exit with. Let the paint dry then finish up by painting the uncoated treads. Use the dry steps to walk on.

You can start from the bottom and work your way up. With that said you will find working up is little more difficult to do than painting alternate treads and risers.

Also, keep in mind when you are painting the risers and stringers try not to let the front of your shoe touch the wet paint as you go up the stairs.

After the paint is dry if you have any areas not painted (outside stringers, stair landings) then go ahead and paint them.


The process above is the same for each coat of primer or paint that you apply to your stringers, decorative stair treads and risers. If your going to apply a faux or painting technique to your steps it's a good idea to sit down and draw up a plan as to the procedure you intend on following.

Things to keep in mind would be what color goes first, which treads to start with, will there be steps not painted until the first set of treads dry etc. etc. etc.

Once your step painting project is done you may want to clear coat over the paint you applied. Clear coating will help your project last longer use the same procedure for clear coating as painting.

Talk to your local paint dealer regarding the best products, techniques and tools for the job at hand.

When decorating stair risers, treads and sringers, you can use the same process mentioned above or spray the entire steps at one time then let it dry and spray it again.

If you do spray all of the treads remember that you might need an alternative way of leaving the room.

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