How to Safely Paint a Stairwell


If the stairwell in your home is looking rough, it could be time to freshen things up with a coat of paint. Painting a large but unnoticed section of your house such as the stairwell can bring new life into the entire home and improve the overall ambience. In this post, I’ve gathered all the tips and information you need to paint your stairwell safely!

Photo by Ryutaro Tsukata from Pexels

Paint, stain, and coating are applied to walls and ceilings, buildings, bridges, and other structures by construction and maintenance painters. Painters working on bridges and structures may be suspended from extraordinary heights by ropes or cables. In 2016, the rate for painters’ injuries was 75.0 cases per 10,000 full-time workers. 50 construction and maintenance painters died as a result of work-related injuries. Falls were responsible for more than half of the deaths.

Nonfatal injuries among maintenance and construction painters were likewise the most common, accounting for 63.7 percent of all nonfatal injuries. Many painters were also injured as a result of irritants like drywall dust.

To safely paint a stairwell, it is vital to verify the accessibility of the place and cover the surfaces with fabric to avoid spills. Ladders must be stable and used with a caddy to avoid unnecessary moves. Start at the top and move downward using a roller extension to ensure safety while painting.

Painting a stairwell is a little different than painting a typical one-level room. Risers, elevation, and difficult-to-reach places must also be addressed when painting stairwells. You must ensure your safely above all else when painting a stairwell It is difficult to overstate the value of protection.

“Stairs are a common source of injury among all ages, and the frequency and rate of stair-related injuries are increasing,” - Dr. Gary Smith of Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

According to National Safety Council there are over 1 million injuries that occur annually due to stairway fall in U.S and they result to over 12,000 deaths annually as well. Falls down stairwells, staircases, and stairwells are a very serious hazard in everyday life, both at home and at work, according to these statistics.

According to OSHA, Slips, trips, and falls from stairs account for 15% of all accidental deaths, second only to motor vehicle accidents. Each year, they account for 25% of all reported general industry accident claims. Furthermore, falls account for almost 17% of all debilitating workplace injuries.

It is thus vital to really take the appropriate precautions when we undertake such job and follow those 6 hacks when painting a stairwell.

Don’t paint somewhere not easily accessible

Don’t ever try to paint in a region that cannot be easily accessed. Don’t use a ladder that is broken or unsuitable for the work. Never put a ladder on shaky ground or in precarious, uncomfortable places.

Protect your surfaces and equipment against spills with fabric

Painter’s tape can be used to cover all doorways, smoke detectors, light fittings, central air vents, and skirting boards. Drop cloths can be used to cover the banisters and steps. You must be prepared for plenty of paint drips and spills so it’s better to take precautions.

When coating the roof, use plastic sheets and masking tape to cover the walls. Anything else should be done with canvas drop sheets. Spilled paint can seep into old sheets and blankets, so these are not a good choice to use.

Start at the top and work downwards

Walking on drop cloth-covered stairs should be avoided since they are prone to slipping off the step when you move on it. Begin at the top and make your way down the stairwell’s edges. Working downwards is much simpler and give will your completed stairwell a high quality finish.

Use a caddy to carry your painting equipment

The less frequently you have to climb and descend your structure or ladder, the less paint splashes and stains you will risk. For this reason, you should invest in a caddy that can carry your paints as well as your brush, roller and other equipment in one place.

Get an extension poll for your roller

Load the roller, then pass it over the paint tray rake to push off surplus paint. This may serve to reduce paint drips. Get an extension pole in conjunction with the roller to occupy a larger space without needing to adjust the scaffolding.

Keep painting with a standard roller with a half-inch nap on a medium or long extension pole to reach a larger region without needing to reposition the ladder, plank, or scaffolding. Spread the paint in ten-inch portions over the polished cut-in to maintain a consistent texture.

Start at the top corner and roll slowly to prevent paint splatter

To prevent paint splatter, begin at the top corner and roll slowly. Painting a stairwell is a fast and easy way to upgrade your home and give it a fresh appearance. The challenge of painting stairs and stairwells, on the other hand, renders this a more complicated painting task in most situations.

How Much Does Painting a Stairwell Cost?

Painting a stairwell would then cost on average between 350$ and 450$.

There are many sections of a stairwell that have to be painted, and the final expense of the job would depend on which features are included in the new paint job. The expense of painting a stairwell includes the price of paint and various equipment, as well as preparation and cleaning materials.

If you want to get skilled painting completed, you must also consider the cost of labor, which differs by country. It might be more cost efficient to do a complete paint job or involve the stairway in a larger painting scheme, but it can certainly be completed as a stand-alone venture.

The estimated costs discusses above are just for painting the walls of a stairwell. You could also get the stairs painted or stained, and has comparable labor and construction costs that can necessitate more detail work due to the edges and corners of the staircase.

Taxes must also be considered. Interior decoration does not normally necessitate a permit. However, before beginning any home renovation work, consult with the local authority to ensure that you are not violating any laws.

An estimation based on a straight stairway would take just one gallon of paint. Your prices can change whether you need additional color for a bigger region or want an oil-based paint over latex.

Depending on the firm, skilled painting labor may be quoted as an hourly cost, dependent on square feet, or per work. If you get a work estimate, make sure the breakdown of costs is reasonable.

Can You Paint a Stairwell By Yourself?

If you have sufficient technical skills and can handle the job yourself, you can save a huge amount of money on the expense of painting a stairwell. After all, the supplies are just a small portion of the overall expense of this undertaking.

If you are coating, staining, or repainting the individual stair treads, use sturdy fabrics that can withstand foot traffic. If you want a do-it-yourself paint job, you will need to hire or buy a ladder to access all parts of the stairway safely.

Do not place the ladder on the stairs unless another individual is present to supervise you as you operate. This can be very risky.

What is the Best Way to Paint a Stairwell?

  • Paint the walls from beginning to end wherever possible to ensure an even coat.

A half inch lamb’s wool roller cover may be used to paint a wide region of the stairwell.

  • If the walls need several coats, cut-in the high spots as needed before rolling

To hurry up the drying process, use a fan. As a result, the ladders would not be leaning on a newly painted surface. The large ladders may also be moved out of the way when they are no longer needed.

  • Using an extension handle on the roller frame at all times

However, use the shortest one that can enter the region to be painted. Start at the top of the stairwell and work your way down, rolling the highest areas first. To roll the lower regions, use a shorter extension wherever necessary.

  • Make use of high-quality paint

Stairway walls are easily scratched or damaged. A satin finish or eggshell paint can be better to handle and easier to clean.

  • Use tape to cover the areas where the walls and trim intersect at sharp angles

To avoid paint from dripping through the tape and into the surface, use a low tack tape to gently burnish the edge. Several lighter coats can also help to avoid leakage.

Every stairwell is unique, but taking sensible, secure measures would contribute to a good outcome. As mentioned above, you need to use drop cloths to prevent seepage, and it’s a good idea to use tape on the drop cloths so they don’t slip and slide. Tape will help hold the drop cloth in place which will avoid tripping.

Look for holes and areas that ought to be patched by using a bright light source such as a torch. Search for spider webs and dust in high places and clean if necessary. If dust is painted on, it can spoil the painted wall.

Don’t forget about the ceiling. If the ceiling is not decorated, newly painted walls will make it look horrible. Make sure you have some low tack tape on hand to protect the lower trim and skirt boards.

It’s a good idea to remove the handrail completely. It is normally simpler to strip the rail than it is to paint over it. If the handrail is removed, make sure there are no safety issues.

Final Word

Painting your stairwell can be an excellent idea if you’re looking to freshen things up in your home and embark on a home improvement project. You can use this article as a guide on your home improvement journey. Good luck!

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