Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Painting Your Stairs


Before I get to the stair painting, let me briefly recap my home buying experience:  when we walked into the house, I knew right away that it could be home.  After looking at over a dozen other houses, this was the only one that made me feel that way.  I could see beyond the orange kitchen counter tops and brown melamine cabinets.  I knew there was hope for the glaringly bright green and black tiled bathroom.  And I could even forgive the pink walls and pink carpet.  Yes, pink carpet. Because hiding underneath that pink carpet was oak.  I will never understand the choice to cover beautiful oak wood with carpet, never mind one that resembles Pepto-Bismol. 

(Please forgive the photo as it's a scanned version of the listing photo I kept from 9 years ago).
Do you see the pink?  Can't miss it, huh?
So, the first order of business was to pull up all that pink carpet.  But, alas, the oak did not make it's way to the staircase.  We just had plain, ole' pine wood.  Rather than replace all the treads with oak, I decided to keep the cost down by painting and stapling on my own runner.  This was a vast improvement and fit well with my decorating style at the time.


But times do change.  And so did my decorating style.  Deciding I could not find an affordable runner carpet that I liked, I went for the full-on painted stairs.  And although there was a few glitches along the way, it was a pretty easy to do.  Just have a bunch of patience in reserve because you will probably need it.

I knew I didn't just want to paint a solid color, nor did I just want to have a "runner" painted alone down the middle.  Of course I had to get fancy and add the strips on the side.  Your job will be infinitely easier if you decide to NOT take this step as I did.  Although, in the end, I am glad I did.


Tools needed:  paint and primer, tape measure, pencil, lots of painter's tape, an angle, and a DVD movie case.  DVD movie case?  Well, I used the movie case because the width of the spine is about how wide I wanted my outside grey stripe.  Seriously, why do the extra measuring if you can find something around the house that does the work for you?


For a little bit more info. on the paint, I decided to go with a low-lustre enamel paint.  I chose the Porch and Patio Floor paint from Behr and had it color-matched to go with my furniture.  After first priming then painting the outside of the stairs my base color (which happens to be the trim in the house), I went to work on taping.  I used a tape measure and decided how wide I wanted my center "runner" to be, used the angle to get a straight line then used painters tape to create a line on each step.  It definitely gets tricky going over the lip and trim pieces, so you want to make sure you seal the edges well.

After getting the first piece of tape on, I marked the width of my trusty DVD case (we were watching The Lion King, so what the heck?!?), made a straight line with the angle and applied this next line of tape parallel to the first, making sure, again, to seal the edges well.  Then do it all over again on the other side of each step.


Here's a photo of the tape lining both sides of the stairs.  I think she's ready for the grey.

I had a little help with the priming.
Since you are working with stairs, and chances are you need to use them at some point before you are finished, you will need to think of how to paint them so it doesn't affect traffic.  I first painted the outside lines and the risers (fronts) of the stairs since no one really steps there anyhow.


Even though I thought I was being painstaking about making sure the tape was on good, I still had problems.  My husband says to try the "green" tape next time, as he thinks it would have done a better job.  Well, guess what buckoo, there will not be a next time.  ha ha


Houston, we do have a problem.


Oh, for the love of Pete, does it look like I even applied tape?


But, you see, this was just a small set-back in the life of a DIYer.  And it was nothing that an artist's flat brush and a dixie cup of paint couldn't fix.  And hours out of my life.  Over days.  And days. But I have a sweet reader who reminded me of a very special tip (that I forgot until AFTER the stairs were painted):  paint over your tape edges with your base color.  If you do so, you will seal the tape with the base color, and the next color (in my case grey) can not get under that pesky tape.  BRILLIANT!


Once I had those lines as clean as can be, I then painted the tread of the stairs.  You may want to paint every other step, giving yourself a dry place to climb the steps.  I chose not to do that since there was enough dry room on the sides to step up and down.  Let it be noted that I did add paint additive that gives the stairs a little rough texture and creates traction.  I didn't want my little girl to wake up one January morning, socks on feet, and slipping down the stairs to me.  Additive can easily be found in the paint section of your paint store.



And there she is.  I've decided I like the stairs.  They are much easier to clean too, as I just sweep down and vacuum up.  I chose not to put poly on the stairs, but I have no problem with them looking "worn" over time.  Oh, by then my decorating style will have changed again anyway.  :)




48 comments:

  1. GORGEOUS!!! I love it! And I totally feel your pain with the striping. Remember the navy stripes I did on Wes's white walls. Sheesh. Same process as you. Hours of taping and it looked like I hadn't even bothered to tape! Artist brush and dixie cup fixes all! The stairs are awesome, Deb. Well Done!

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  2. the stairs look great!

    i saw a tip on pinterest dealing with the tape-first you tape of your stripes, then put on a thin coat of the original color along the edges of the tape, in your case the white. then paint with your accent color.

    the first coat will 'seal' the edges of the tape so when you do your accent color it doesn't leak! i haven't tried it personally yet but it sounds like it would work!!

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  3. I adore the name of your blog. I call my painting projects my therapy sessions. LOL Stopping by from the blog hop. New follower your welcome to visit anytime. http://www.southernmadeintheshade.blogspot.com

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  4. This is absolutely brilliant!! I am so doing this on the stairs from the garage into the mudroom - and love your stripe technique. The found item used for width...again, brilliant!! Thanks for the tip about the rough texture additive.

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  5. Oh My Heavens!!! This is EXACTLY what Im going to do to my stairs!! I too can not afford the runner Id like to have so Ive been looking and looking for a cool painted runner and FINALLY!!!!! I LOVE this!! I was even thinking about the outside stripes before I even saw this! Great minds eh? lol You rock! Thank you:)when Im done I will send you a pic:)

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  6. P.S. Im so following you stop over and chat sometime:)

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  7. What a cute idea! I am so glad you added the stripe to the side! I love it. I think I am going to do this to my back porch stairs :)

    blessings,
    karianne

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  8. Oh I wish I owned a house instead of renting to do this with.
    The hard work paid off, the stairs look phenomenal!

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  9. I'm so glad that Kerrianne mentioned your blog today, Debbie! I picked up alot of very informative tips from your "disaster-turned-success" stair project. :) Thanks for sharing them! They look totally professionally done!

    xoxo laurie

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  10. Love it.....thanks to Thistlewood Farm for bringing me over. :)

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  11. I love the stripe! Great tips too!

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  12. Your staircase looks fantastic with the paint runner :-) And even though it was extra work, the two narrow strips down each side really finish off the "runner" nicely :-)

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  13. Wow...what a BEAUTIFUL transformatin. You might want to try the tip located in the link below if you ever try painting stripes again. Again...your finished project turned out just beautiful.

    http://livingwithlindsay.com/2011/06/paint-perfect-stripes.html

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  14. It's party time over at Debt Free Mommy Blog and you're invited! Please come by and link up any post(s) related to making your home a better space. I hope you'll join us for Making Space Mondays. Hope to see you there! -Tabitha

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  15. Wow, you really made these stairs a statement piece! Good idea to use the porch and patio paint, love the colors you chose as well. I'd take these stairs any day.

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  16. Saw your painted stairway at Power of Paint. I simply love them. I built a new Craftsman-style house five years ago, which I love, but we'll be downsizing in a few years and hope to buy a fixer-upper. I adore painted floors, so I will be looking for wood floors, even if they're in bad shape.

    When I first saw in your photos that the paint had seeped under the tape, I was thinking of the same tip that another reader gave you. If I ever get the patience to paint stripes (the idea of all that measuring and leveling the tape scares me), I will definitely be painting the base coat over the tape to seal in the edges. I've heard it works great.

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  17. Great idea and I think the outside stripes just made it look more incredible.

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  18. That’s awesome with what you did with your stairs! If you think about it, instead of applying a carpet, you can also just paint them. The effects are the same, they add beauty. :)

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  19. awesome! It's true haven't seen you put much painting up here in a while, but really

    sweet!
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  20. I love this, love this! Thistlewood Farms sent me here too, to see the painted stairs. I'll be back.

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  21. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  22. I think the hardest part of this project is aligning the tape on both sides of the stairs. That’s pretty hard, huh! You have to make sure that the tape is aligned properly, so that the paint won’t unnecessarily go over the edges. Well, you did very good. Your idea turned out really amazing! The stairs looks gorgeous now. I’m amazed how big a difference it made to the overall aesthetics of your interior design. Kudos, Debbie! ->-Reed Suder

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  23. The painted therapy for replacing the carpet stair is very remarkable. Having a stairway like that is the wisest thing ever because you won't be cleaning the carpet every time.
    - Leeanne Dyson

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  24. Great article! Any tips for painting a Spiral Staircase? Thanks.

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  25. Great article! Any tips for painting a Spiral Staircase? Thanks.

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  26. Wonderful blog & good post.Its really helpful for me, awaiting for more new post. Keep Blogging!
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  27. awesome! It's true haven't seen you put much painting up here in a while, but really sweet!

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  28. Gorgeous! I found your blog because I'm researching the best technique for painting my stair landing. Thanks for all the tips!

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  31. Painting the stairs is also an important step; well painted stairs enhance the beauty and looks of your house.
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  33. What paint additive that gives the stairs a little rough texture and creates traction did you add?

    I am Canadian and am having some troubling finding any.

    Your help would be greatly appreciated and I will be trying to tackle this in the next few weeks.

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  35. Great, your painting turns out to be professionally made, Congratulations and thanks for sharing your photos.
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  36. Looks awesome. I was looking for some painters in Melbourne, Vic to do some work around my house, but maybe I can do it myself.

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  37. Incredible, at first this looks like next to difficult to finish, but congrats you made it. I would like to follow the same procedure in my house painting, by the way, what kind of paint and tape you used at this instance?

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  39. Hi, exactly, how you got fixed those painting overlaps and paint sipping beside the whole length of tape? thanks.
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  41. What you did with your stairs is just amazing, and add that to the fact that you had hitches along the way. Other DIY entusiasts who have had the same smudging problem after painting usually end up frustrated and just paint the whole thing with the color to hide it. Good job on soldiering on and applying the appropriate remedy!

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  42. Stairs are looking very beautiful after painting. thank you for sharing painting tips.

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