How to Paint a Staircase Black and White With All the Details!

Redoux Interiors
by Redoux Interiors
45 Hours
Pull up that old carpet and paint your staircase in a sophisticated black and white. Everything you need to know to get you started and obtain the stairs of dreams.
Our stairs is one of the first things you see when you enter our home. The stairs were originally carpeted. After 11 years, that carpet was looking pretty shaggy, and I am not referring to the cut of the carpet! It was time for it to go.
In a burst of DIY energy, we pulled up the carpet on the stairs, even enlisting our kids. This stage takes a while. Many tacks and staples need to be removed before moving on.
There was a lot of trial and error. We tried painting the OSB sub floor at first. The overall effect was not what we were looking for. Back to the drawing board. We decided to purchase and install Builder Grade Oak Stairs treads from Home Depot. These are not recommended for staining, but they are solid, durable, affordable, and perfect for painting.
After installation, the priming began. This stage took the longest. It is imperative you build a smooth and solid foundation for the paint. The primer will raise the grain, so be sure you sand thoroughly between coats. I used Zinnser Oil Based Primer. I wanted to make sure the paint had an impermeable base. Oil based primer is smelly, but will make all the difference in your finished painted flooring project.
When priming is finished, time to paint! I used CeCe Caldwell's Beckley Coal and Sherwin Williams Pro Classic White Trim paint in Semi Gloss. I recommend painting every other stair tread from beginning to end. This way, you can still walk up and down your stairs.
I applied 5 coats of CeCe Caldwell's Endurance for my sealer. This product is not rated for flooring, but I opted to use this because it is a hard wearing, non yellowing polyurethane, with practically no odor. It has been two weeks since this project was finished and there is not a scratch or a ding.
I couldn't be happier with the new look. Painting the stairs has changed the entire look of our home.
It was a challenge to finish this project with my dog and the hair everywhere. However, with patience, and lots of dog hair removal, my stairs are perfect for everyone. After the stairs had dried and I moved the barriers, my dog was right back at her perch. Be sure to check my post for more details, and especially to see the major mistakes we made. Hopefully you can avoid them by reading what not to do!
Redoux Interiors
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
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  2 questions
  • Melissa Paul Melissa Paul on Jan 09, 2019


    What a lovely staircase. I have been contemplating on updating my oak banister but haven’t yet pulled the trigger. I am not familiar with CeCe Caldwell paints but the product looks high end. How did you decide on a black paint to use? Also, when applying the Endurance finish, does it give the paint a gloss like finish? I am

    trying to achieve that look. Any other tips you can provide are welcome.


  • Melissa Puyana Melissa Puyana on Aug 14, 2019

    What was the name of the black paint you used for the stairs?

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  • Pat Pat on Jul 24, 2014
    Sorry one more thing I forgot to add in case anyone else has this problem. After all that work, I loved them, especially the ease of cleaning, but my elderly dog kept falling down the stairs. Arghh. Of course. So....I bought Flor carpet tiles in low pile black, cut them to fit end to end, and adhered them with carpet tape. I hate the fuzz they show and the difficulty in vacuuming, but she is now running up and down with no problem and the black and white look is the same. Assuming I vacuum...

  • Mike Williamson Mike Williamson on Feb 04, 2017
    Nice work!