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How to paint a staircase black

September 25, 2010

A word of warning on this project – people will think you’re crazy. In fact, the paint lady will probably ask what on earth you’re doing buying black, black paint then give you the skunk-eye while simultaneously scoffing when you tell her you’re going to paint your drab wooden staircase. Let the scoffers scoff. They won’t for long.

I was seeing painted staircases on design websites. Some I liked and some were ‘eh’. Some had painted runners, which immediately caught my eye. Initially I was determined to paint my plain pine staircase white with a black runner but turns out we painted our whole living and dining white so we needed contrast, baby! On a whim we ditched our plan and headed to Home Depot and asked for Porch and Floor paint in the blackest color, or non-color, they had. Like I mentioned, Home Depot employees had little faith in us. Even our friends and family raised and eyebrow or two and muttered words like ‘crazy’ and ‘really?’ under their breath, just loud enough for us to hear of course.

There was a faint lacquer on the stairs and railing and I knew we needed to sand. But looking at those spindly railings brought back flashbacks of my first car – a Super Beetle that my parents lovingly purchased for me, complete with 8 coats of Tremclad paint that took my 8 months to sand.

What I did

  • I skipped the sanding. Ooh, the horror! It was those Beetle flashbacks, I’m telling ya. A rough surface is best for the porch and floor enamel to adhere to.
  • Washed the railings and steps with T.S.P to ensure they were at least grime free.
  • Slapped on the paint with a good-quality brush
  • Did a second coat. It’ll need it, trust me.

Immediately everyone raved about the results. I’m pretty happy too. Although dust and footprints are the devil on a black floor. Oh yeah, and I have to dust now. My whole attic floor (about 400 sq feet) and staircase took me a gallon. Not bad. All up the whole project cost about $35. Here is the before pic below:

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