Painted Stair Treads: Pros, Cons & The Durability Question
Considering painted stair treads in your home but concerned about spending time on a DIY project only to have them chip, scratch, and scuff? The DIY painted stairs in our home have been one of the most popular DIY projects we’ve ever written about.
But if you’re still on the fence about painting your own stairs, we get it! Today we’ll break down the pros and cons of DIY painted stairs,
and share how ours have held up over the past 5 years! We’ll share our experience with the durability of painted stairs treads, and discuss the best type of paint to use for stair treads and stair risers.
Oh, and before we get into the pros and cons of painted stair treads, if painting your stairs is a project you’re seriously considering, then you should grab a free copy of the printable stair painting DIY guide.
Click here or on the picture below. I’ll immediately send your free printable supply list and step-by-step stair painting instructions⤵️
It’s great that this painted stair treads project is one that has resonated with readers. Because it’s not that hard, and it’s SO inexpensive! The painted stairs tutorial was published in 2016. But the project was actually completed in mid-late 2015.
Painting the stair treads was one of the first projects we tackled in this home. Why? Well, take a look at the before picture of the stairs below ⤵️. I didn’t feel like I had much of a choice but to get the stair makeover done STAT 😳!
To be honest, I kind of thought initially that the painted stairs would be a bit of a bandaid. I figured we’d slap some paint on them, and eventually, when our budget was a little beefier, we’d overhaul the staircase completely.
BUT, now that I’ve lived with the painted stairs for 5 years,
I definitely no longer see this as simply a temporary thing. These stairs have held up SO well. I’m honestly SHOCKED at how insanely similar they look today as compared to the day we finished painting them.
Sure, there are a few scuffs on there and a couple of little dings. But that is about it. And that would be true of ANY type of flooring.
And just a reminder…don’t leave here empty-handed!
Grab your free guide for this DIY painted stairs project! Click below to start ⤵️, and I’ll send your guide immediately!
I’m going to list the pros and cons to painted stair treads, as I see them today:
Painted Stair Treads – Pros & Cons
Painted Stairs PROS:
- Relatively easy way to makeover your stairs
- No more slippery than stained/regular hardwood stairs
- Can introduce lots of variety, color, patterns, etc. – personalize the look of your stairs
- Great solution for wood stairs that are not high-quality wood/stain-ready wood
Painted Stairs CONS:
- It’s a fairly time-consuming DIY project (it took us a weekend). If you add stair spindles, it will take much longer, too
- May not be the best solution for resale value in certain circumstances
- Stained hardwood or painted hardwood do tend to be more slippery than carpet (perhaps adding a carpet runner would be a good fix if you’re concerned?)
I frequently get questions about these stairs, one of them being, “what paint do you use?” While I cover that in the tutorial, I’ll re-iterate here as well:
The best product to use for your DIY painted stair project is porch and patio paint!
Porch and patio paint is a special type of paint that is specifically made for floors! So, it shouldn’t be any wonder that it works well, really. We used Behr, but it is made by every major paint brand.
Porch and patio paint, just like paint for your walls, comes in different sheens. Behr porch and patio paint is available in two sheens: low luster (similar to flat) and gloss.
We used the gloss sheen.
Why? A couple of reasons: 1. I prefer the look of having some shine. 2. The higher the sheen (more glossy), the easier it is to clean the painted surface. I figured since stairs were a highly-trafficked surface, ease of cleaning would be key.
Now, did choosing the gloss over the low-luster sheen make my stairs more slippery than they would have been if I chose the low-luster? I can’t honestly answer that question since I’ve only used gloss.
But what I can tell you is that since porch and patio paint is made specifically to apply to floors, the brands have gone to efforts to make these products safe…I doubt any of them want lawsuits headed their way because their paint makes people’s porches ice skating rinks.
But if you are concerned, then go with your gut, or seek more guidance and counsel from paint experts at a local paint store, possibly.
Still not convinced…
they could have possibly held up this well? I made a video for you a while back about how they looked after they’d been painted for over 2 years. And it has a CLOSE-UP video of the painted stairs…
[adthrive-in-post-video-player video-id=”qK5ura9K” upload-date=”2018-04-19T01:25:19.000Z” name=”painted stairs – 2 years later” description=”DIY painted stairs 2 years later”]
In conclusion, let me answer a question that I frequently get asked:
“Would you recommend painted stair treads to others?”
In short? YES. Absolutely. If you are looking to update some stairs, but don’t have the budget to install new stairs, treads, etc., or even have the budget to carpet, then I’d highly recommend this update.
It takes some elbow grease if you’re going to add a painted runner, as we did. If you just want a solid coat of paint, then that makes it easier.
The stairs we did this project on were cheap, basement stairs made of pine, which is a very soft wood that is easily dinged up. It’s also a wood that is not easily stained.
That made painting the stair treads an even easier decision. Below is another “before” shot of the basement stairs…
Over the past five years,
these stairs have seen a lot of foot traffic. And despite that, the painted treads (and risers) have held up beautifully! Sure, there are a few scuffs and dings. But the paint has not flaked or chipped AT ALL.
The dings are due to the wood being soft, not a defect in the paint. Overall, I’d say that the painted stairs have more than proven themselves to be highly durable. And I couldn’t be happier with how they’ve held up over the years.
Want details on painting your own stairs?
I sure hope that this update will give you a little clarity as to whether you want to try this project in your own home! If you’re ready to give it a go –>> head to the painted stairs tutorial.
Grab your copy of the free printable PDF stair painting guide below⤵️
And if you need some more examples of how painted stairs can look before you decide to take the leap, then check out these gorgeous examples of painted stairs I gathered up for you! You can click the image below to head straight to that post⤵️
Or if you’re interested in painting wood floors, you’re in luck! We’ve done that, too! And we did it the REALLY lazy way, without sanding!
Those white floors in our kitchen seen above were originally a cherry red. Beautiful, but not our taste. So we painted them and shared the DIY painted wood floors tutorial for you.
On the hunt for more DIY home improvement, and budget-friendly home decorating ideas? Be sure to check out these articles, too!
Pin this post for later! And if you try this project, leave a comment (or better yet, a photo) on the pin! That helps others know whether they want to try this project, too!⤵️
Pssst…before you go, I sure would love to hang out with you again really soon! Sign up now and get a FREE copy of “Builder-Grade To Beautiful: 10 Totally Transformative Home Decorating Solutions, All Under $100!” Click here to enter your email or on the image below. Your copy will be sent right away!
Thanks for this and what a beautiful design, mimicking the traditional carpeted look with paint.
We have young kids and I fear that the smell of the paint will be too overwhelming. Did you use oil or water based paints and how long did it take to cure and harden. How long before you could walk on the stairs?
I chanced upon your website with a search in google. We are in England.
Hi James! The brands here and there are likely different, but look for a low to no VOC paint…that will cut down significantly to completely on the smell. The curing time varies from brand to brand. My best advice is to call a local paint store and chat with them about options. A paint clerk has never steered me wrong! Just for reference, we were able to walk on ours after about 24 hours (probably even a bit less, honestly), but we really tried to “baby” it (stepping over every other step, trying to avoid using them for a few more days, no shoes, etc…just to give the paint the best shot at fully curing before heavy foot traffic set in. The paint I used was water based, not oil. Good luck on your paint project!!