How to Paint Stairs and Get on With Your Day While the Paint Dries

I've never painted stairs before, but when we went to paint our basement stairs, I suddenly realized that I didn't want to get stuck in the basement while the paint dried. How do the professionals do it? I had no idea, and didn't have time to research. Since it was only our basement stairs, and not a professional stair painting project, the idea of only painting half the stair at a time made sense to me.
We were painting the basement floor at the same time, so it was going to be a long weekend and being trapped in the basement was not an option.
We started out with carpet covered stairs. The carpet was grungy and gross. I pulled up the carpet and scrubbed the stairs to make sure the paint would adhere.
Next I ran a piece of 1-1/2" blue painters tape down the center of the stairs from top to bottom.
Using a paint roller, I painted one side of the stairs from top to bottom.
I pulled up the painters tape right away and we made sure only to walk on the unpainted side -which goes without saying ;D But meanwhile, I was able to tackle the task of painting the basement floor.
The next day, I painted the other side of the stairs, overlapping slightly onto the painted portion. By then we were able to walk only on the dry side.
All the while, we could go up and down the stairs and get on with our day as the paint dried.
Thank you so much for checking this out.
To see how the stairs and the basement turned out you can find the details on the blog in the link below.

Amy Ellis @ StowandTellU
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

Frequently asked questions

Have a question about this project?

3 of 5 questions
  • Eap29261769 Eap29261769 on Nov 05, 2017
    How do you paint wood inside doors with white oil based paint?

  • Barb Struppa Visage Barb Struppa Visage on Aug 08, 2018

    We have dogs, any ideas?!

  • Pat Hubbard Pat Hubbard on Nov 14, 2018

    Would taping off half the stairs work if you were staining and applying polyurethane to your stairs? Just wondering if it would blend or be noticeable.


Join the conversation

2 of 71 comments
  • Pmono7690 Pmono7690 on Feb 10, 2019

    A painter I knew always did every other step. That way you will not have a raised rib in the middle.

  • Dfm Dfm on Feb 14, 2019

    I second the every other step method.