painting a staircase
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Sean



Joined: 27 Dec 2006
Posts: 170
Location: Salem, MA

PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2008 1:08 pm    Post subject: painting a staircase Reply with quote

I have a triple run stair that I'll be painting soon and I have a bunch of questions. The stair treads have always been painted, so I'll be painting them too. My question is what kind of paint should I use? I'm assuming some type of oil, but I'm worried about the drying time because I can't not use this staircase as it goes to the bedrooms. My other concern is traction. The stairs are quite steep and we've both had our share of slips on them. I was wondering if there are tiny silica beads or some kind of sand I can add to the paint to create a little traction without having to buy industrial traction stickers you see on commercial stairs.

I'm also wondering what to do with the banister, which also was always painted. It has a dark brown color that I've seen used on floors. Is there a special color that was used for this application or did they just use somehting dark to hide the dirt.

I'll put up some pics.



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Sean



Joined: 27 Dec 2006
Posts: 170
Location: Salem, MA

PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2008 2:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've got another question about this. As I'm scraping off the lefover glue and felt paper from the linoleum, wood fibers from the most heavily traveled areas are coming off very easily. The wood isn't wet or rotted, but it feels a little "fuzzy" in the center of the treads. Is this an instance where a wood consolidator would be appropirate, considering the stairs will be repainted and heavily used?

This linoleum stuff is terrible to remove. One step took me almost an hour.

Sean
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Kate



Joined: 07 Mar 2007
Posts: 32
Location: Vermont

PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2008 7:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sean - I hope it's not to late for me to offer some advice on your project.

I would strongly advise against using any additive in your paint for traction. Paint stores do sell sand that can be added to paint, but this is typically for use outside on steps that are apt to be icy. If you were to use this on your stairs you would wind up with a rough finish that would be difficult to keep clean.

Many homes, both old and new, have smooth stairs. Just don't race up and down them in stocking feet.

You are right to assume you should use an oil-based paint (and of course an oil-based primer). I stripped and repainted my stairs a couple of years ago. On the treads I used Ben Moore's alkyd Satin Impervo, and it has held up beautifully. I'll try to post pictures, if I can figure out how.

You can use your stairs while painting them in slow drying oil-based paint by painting every other tread and stepping only on the treads not painted that day. This is sort of awkward, but not insurmountable. And since you need to prime and then give each tread two coats it might get confusing, so you should mark the treads that can be stepped on that day with tape.

Your other question about the fuzzy wood in the center of your treads might be better answers by someone else on this forum, but I would treat the area with Minwax Wood Hardener and then Minwax Wood Filler to fill in the dents. If you've been doing restoration work you are probably familiar with these products. If not, read the directions carefully and heed their advice about ventilation.

Good luck on your project, and please post pictures when you're done.
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Kate



Joined: 07 Mar 2007
Posts: 32
Location: Vermont

PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2008 7:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry but I can't seem to figure out how to attach a picture. I'll try again another day.
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Sean



Joined: 27 Dec 2006
Posts: 170
Location: Salem, MA

PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2008 10:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the reply. You weren't too late, I'm just starting the actual painting tomorrow. I'm very concerned about the slickness of the finished stair. Our bedroom is on the third floor but the bathroom is on the second, necessitating lots of one-eye-closed 4 am trips down the stairs. Is the oil finish something that will hold up to foot traffic but become less slick with use?

Also, I had a contractor tell me to skip using the primer because the primer would be too soft and not hold up to foot traffic. I'm assuming this is not the case and the primer should not be skipped, but I wanted to put this remark out for comment.

How long do I need to let the oil paint dry before doing a second coat? I was planning on doing 1/2 of each stair tread then going back and doing the other half after it was dry. Is this a good method? I'm concerned that the mark where I stopped in the middle will be too visible, as there won't be a runner to cover it up. Or is that something that can be sanded lightly?

Sorry for the barrage of questions. I just want to make sure I get it right the first time. thanks for the help
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Kate



Joined: 07 Mar 2007
Posts: 32
Location: Vermont

PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2008 7:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sean - I sure don't think it would be wise to skip the primer. The primer will give you better adhesion and a consistent sheen. But that's just my opinion. Why don't you ask a knowledgeable person at your local paint store.

About dry time - most alkyds can be recoated in 12 hours. But read what it says on the paint can, and don't rush it.

I think your idea of painting half the stairs would work as long as you feather out each coat. Don't tape off the half you're painting or you'll get a hard edge. Bear in mind that oil-based paints take up to a week to fully cure even though they're usually dry in 12 hours. So you may see an inconsistent sheen in the two halves at first, then the sheen should even out.

It's true that oil-based paints become less glossy over time. You'll probably use a satin or semi-gloss paint, and it may wind up looking more like eggshell over time, but don't confuse this with loss of smoothness. I still say - don't race up and down the stairs in stocking feet (but don't wear hobnail boots, either.)
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Sean



Joined: 27 Dec 2006
Posts: 170
Location: Salem, MA

PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 8:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Questioning whether I should skip the primer on the stairs, I contacted the local high-end paint store. (They sell only California, Ben Moore, and C2). The man who deals with oils told me the same thing the other contractor did, that priming is unnecessary because the Ben Moore porch and floor alkyd enamal is self priming and would be harder than the primer underneath. The thought was that the primer wouldn't be able to handle the constant wear and motion and fail, taking the top coat with it.
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Kate



Joined: 07 Mar 2007
Posts: 32
Location: Vermont

PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 4:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Come to think of it, I got the same advice when I painted my porch floor and I used the product you mentioned. And it has held up very well.

By the way, you're lucky to live near a store that carries C2 (not for your staircase, but for future projects.) I love their colors and those large paint chips they have, but the store that used to carry C2 near here no longer does. I really wish more paint stores carried C2.
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jomercer



Joined: 30 Aug 2006
Posts: 28
Location: MARYLAND

PostPosted: Sun Apr 13, 2008 12:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My dad taught me to paint 2/3 of a step starting from one side, let it dry, and then paint 2/3 of the way across from the other side. That way you have 2 coats of paint down the middle where there'll be the most wear each time you have one complete width painted. And, if the stairway is wide enough and you are nimble enough, you can carefeully walk up the unpainted or dry side while the rest of the tread is drying.

I've never painted steps starting with bare wood--just lightly sanded he existing gloss porch & floor paint and added another coat.

And yes, plain-stockinged feet are slippery on these steps, so wear the little footie socks with a tread on the bottom!
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BenS



Joined: 08 May 2018
Posts: 14
Location: Victoria, British Columbia

PostPosted: Wed Sep 18, 2019 9:03 pm    Post subject: Exterior stair painting Reply with quote

I am about to embark on painting my exterior stairs and would like to know what the thoughts of the preservationists here are on staining vs painting and what solvent to use (water vs spirits), in terms of longevity and wear resistance.

My stair treads are weathered but just dimensional lumber, so, while I'm keeping the wood, I'm going to choose replacement of boards over epoxy etc. Would a consolidating oil resin pre treatment be appropriate with either stains or paints (particularly if no primer is used under an alkyd floor paint)?
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