Stairs are an integral part of many homes.
Without stairs, our access to the other stories in the home will not be possible.
The stairs in your home are going to see a lot of use, and to ensure that these stairs are not going to break down or end up deteriorating over time, you will need to keep them well maintained.
Chances are your stairs will need to be painted or stained every few years to ensure that they look good.
Whether it is the steps or the railings, you are going to end up seeing some deterioration of paint or stain in these areas at a much faster pace.
Sometimes it makes sense to stain your stairs, but other times, you will want to paint them.
Let’s take a look at whether it makes more sense to paint or stain your stairs, and you may be surprised by the answers.
Staining Vs. Painting Stairs (Which Is Better?)
Staining your stairs tends to be a better option than painting stairs because of the longevity of a stained and sealed set of stairs.
The staining process, however, can be a bit more difficult, and your options with colors are going to be limited.
In addition, the prep work involved if your stairs have already been painted once is going to be extreme.
Let’s take a look at both the benefits and the negatives of painting versus staining stairs.
Chances are something will stand out on this list that helps you decide which is going to be best for you.
Painting or staining stairs is a great way to transform the look of the home.
Ensure that you are completing this project the right way so that it lasts for years to come.
Staining Stairs (Positives And Negatives)
When you stain stairs, you must be well aware of the process and all that it is going to take to ensure that this is done right.
The biggest issue that you will run into with staining stairs is that, if they were previously painted, the prep work is going to be quite extensive.
1. Long Lasting
When you apply a stain and then seal it properly, it can last for many years.
In fact, you can plan on it lasting for quite a bit longer than paint.
With a long-lasting stain, you will be able to stain high-traffic areas with the confidence that it is going to hold up for a long time.
This, of course, is important for families that have children or quite a few people who will be going up and down the stairs daily.
Many people who have animals and pets will also want to consider staining their stairs.
For commercial settings where people may be wearing high heels or shoes that can scuff paint, staining is also a great choice.
If you are careful about leaving your shoes outside and wearing just socks in your home, the stain will hold up even longer.
There is no questioning the fact that the time you spend working on the stain is well worth it as it will hold up for years to come.
Staining the stairs is more durable than painting the stairs.
Paint tends to chip where a good stain and a proper sealer will ensure that everything stays in place regardless of the traffic that the stairs see.
When you purchase the stain that you are going to use for the stairs, it pays to spend some extra money on the stain itself.
When purchasing stain, you will want to go with a name-brand product that has a history of durability.
In addition, it is important to ensure that the stain you are using is appropriately applied.
If the stain is applied the way it should be, then you will find that you can have the durability you need through the years.
3. Classic Style
The staining of stairs is more of a classic look.
If your home has more of a classic design, it is a good idea to consider this style in addition to its longevity and durability.
The style of the home is essential, and if you paint or stain the stairs, you will end up with a completely different look.
One option is to consider staining the stairs while painting the railings or the banisters.
This can give a mix of styles that works quite well to ensure that your home has a warm and inviting overall feel.
If you struggle with what is the best look for you, consider looking into consulting with a designer who can give you some insight into what will look best for the long term.
4. Extensive Prep Work
When you are working on staining your stairs, there can be extensive prep work involved.
Whether you are staining or painting, there will always be prep, but if you are going to try and stain over painted stairs, you have a bit of a complicated project ahead of you.
The idea is that the prep work involved in staining after paint means that you will have to remove a great deal of previous paint.
This can mean that you will have to strip the surface to ensure that the surfaces are entirely clear before trying to put your stain on.
Without the paint being stripped completely, the stain will not work, and it will not have a good, finished look to it.
The stripping of the paint sometimes takes a professional service to come in and handle this for you.
Keep in mind that there could be higher expenses involved with this.
5. Limited Colors
There are some limited color selections when it comes to stains.
Although there are many stains on the market to choose from, you have to think that the paint choices are going to be quite a bit more extensive.
Each of the stains is going to offer a unique and impressive look to the home.
However, with limited color selections, the differences between each of the stain colors are more subtle.
If you are really trying to get a certain color palette to work in the home, make sure you carefully consider the stain color that you are going to go with.
Painting Stairs (Positives And Negatives)
Painting stairs is a more popular and often easier way to transform your staircase.
However, just like staining, there are both positives and negatives to painting stairs.
If you want to ensure that your stairs are going to look great and last for years to come, here are some of the things you should consider.
1. Large Color Selection
The selection of colors that you have available for your stairs is going to be much broader than the color selection that you can choose from when you stain stairs.
The color options for stairs are endless.
In addition, the fact that you can change the color of your stairs so easily makes the paint a more versatile solution.
Having a large color selection will help you if you are interested in making the home look unique.
Some people will do several different colors on the stairs or change the color between the base of the stairs and the railing and the spindles.
You will have to decide which is the best overall choice for your home, but if you want to get unique or funky with color, painting the stairs is the best overall option to consider.
Your possibilities are going to be much greater than they are with stain.
2. Easily Transform A Home
When you become a homeowner, chances are you will create a love/hate relationship with paint.
Painting can be a time-consuming process that can prove frustrating, but for the most part, you will know that this painting process can quickly transform your home.
The transformation of the home can happen in a matter of hours.
The more quickly you work on something like this, the faster your home can become a completely different style.
You will be amazed at what paint can do to change the look, and with the stairs being such an integral part of the home, painting the stairs makes a big impression.
Those who are more likely to change the style or look of a home from year to year are going to love having the ability to paint and how it quickly will transform your home into something entirely different.
3. Easier To Install
The great thing about paint is that it goes on very easily.
When you are prepping a surface for paint, you typically need to sand it and then make sure that the paint you are using is something that can be used on top of the previous paint.
For instance, if you are changing between oil and latex paint, you will often need an extra coat of bonding primer.
The oil-based paint is quite popular on stairs because it tends to be a bit more durable than latex.
It is a good idea to talk to a painting contractor about the proper type of paint to use on stairs.
With the wear and tear that your stairs will see, the quality and type of paint are extremely important.
When you have to complete a painting project like this, you will be pleasantly surprised by the way it comes out and the impact that it has on the way the home looks.
4. Quick To Touch Up
You will hopefully not need to repaint your stairs every year.
Most of the time, you can go a few years between paint jobs, but this does not mean that you will get away without doing any type of maintenance.
The maintenance that you are doing on the stairs will probably happen yearly, and it will require a touch-up.
If you are not the best at painting, the good news is that you can touch up your stairs quite easily.
The touch-up on stairs typically only takes a few minutes, and you can usually get the stairs to match quite well between the original coat and the touch-up.
We recommend, when you decide to touch up your stairs, that you clean them quite well before.
Cleaning the stairs means that you won’t have to worry about mismatched areas due to dirt collecting under the paint.
When you paint over dirt and stains, your paint job will not last long.
5. Will Work With A Variety Of Designs
Another great feature of paint is that it is a versatile look that will fit with various home styles.
If you have a traditional colonial or a modern farmhouse, you can make the paint work on the stairs.
In addition, the combination of paint and stain is extremely popular in today’s modern designs.
The combination can bring a great deal of character to a home.
Many people will choose to stain the actual steps and then use a coordinating stain on the railings to ensure that you are bringing in several different color options and styles into the home.
The great thing about this is that the stairs are going to have more durable coverage from the stain and the sealer, and then the lower-impact areas get the benefit of nice paint color.
Although this project will take some time initially, in the end, it should work quite well to provide the proper look for your home.
6. Can Be Subject to Greater Wear And Tear
The paint is not as durable as a stain.
For those who decide to stain their stairs as opposed to painting, it typically comes down to a question of durability.
The paint does not have the same ability to resist the wear and tear that it will be exposed to under the feet of the people in your home.
One thing to keep in mind is that if you are a family that wears shoes in the home, you are probably going to want to avoid painting.
The paint gets scuffed quite easily from shoes, especially if it is a lighter color.
With many modern designs, it is popular to use lighter colors like whites and grays in the home.
Putting a white or a gray on your stairs could result in quite a bit of touch-up work for you, year after year.
The painting and staining of your home project are a bit more involved than many think, but doing this right will save you quite a bit of time and money long term.
7. Not Great For Heavy Traffic Areas
Lastly, paint is not great for heavy traffic.
If you are painting stairs in a commercial or industrial setting, or you simply have a lot of traffic in your home, you will want to consider staining the stairs.
Paint will sometimes start to peel, while other times, it will just get marks or wear when a shoe or a piece of equipment rubs against it.
Although some of this can be repaired quite easily, it is not enough to really make this a maintenance-free part of your home.
Try and consider how much wear and tear your stairs take.
If you have a dog that comes barreling through with dirty feet or kids carrying sports equipment out to practice, your painted stairs will be taking a beating.
For homes where no shoes are allowed, and people move around with more care, the painted stairs can last for years without you having to worry about repainting or fixing areas.
At this point, you should have a much better understanding of painting versus staining.
The painting or staining of your stairs is a project that will require some time, effort, and money.
Therefore, doing your research beforehand to ensure that this is a project that will last for a long time is a smart choice.
You can hire a professional to complete a painting or staining job on your stairs, but it will likely cost you thousands of dollars.
The problem with treating stairs like this is that the process is more detailed, and you can’t move through the work quite as quickly.
For those who are new to homeownership, make sure you do not come in right away and paint over stained stairs.
Remember that this is a decision that will be a tough one to deal with in the long term.
In the end, all of that paint will need to be removed should you ever decide to stain over the stairs again.