Painting a set of interior stairs is a great way to bring new life into worn or chipped finishes, or bring a whole new look to the staircase. There is a little preparation to do first, and it is recommended that no one use the stairs for 24 to 48 hours before you start working on them to ensure that the wood is dry. All the tools you will need can be obtained at your local home improvement store or building centre. A good quality paint and primer will stand up best to heavy foot traffic.
Sand the staircase to remove any old paint or other finish that may already be on the stairs using 80 grit sandpaper on a sanding block. You could also use a small palm sander if you have one to speed up the process.
Sand the staircase again with 400 grit sandpaper to smooth any imperfections that may be in the wood. If there are still scratches, perform a final sanding using 600 grit sandpaper to remove them.
Vacuum the stairs thoroughly with a shop vacuum or other portable vacuum cleaner to remove all the dust from the stairs. Any dust left on the stairs will cause imperfections in the paint and primer, so be sure to get it all.
Wipe the stairs down with a tack cloth to be sure they are dust free. This step is really important if you want a great finish on your stairs.
Mask off any areas that you don't want paint on. Banister rungs and walls should be covered if they are not going to be painted.
Prime the stairs with a good quality wood primer, covering them completely. Start at the top and work down so that you don't paint yourself into the upper floor. If you are doing a basement staircase, you might want to reverse this.
Allow the primer to dry for 6 to 8 hours before painting over it. If you need to use these stairs during this process, you can paint every other tread and come back for the others after the first set dries completely.
Paint the staircase with the paint colour of your choice. If these stairs will remain bare, get the best quality paint you can so that the foot traffic doesn't ruin it shortly after you paint it.
Allow the paint to dry for 24 to 48 hours before you start using the stairs. You now have a new look for those tired old stairs. Enjoy them.