How to Paint Walls Going Up a Stairway

by Julie Hampton
Highlight the architecture in your home by painting your staircase walls.

Highlight the architecture in your home by painting your staircase walls.

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Adding a splash of color to your home's walls adds visual interest and appeal. However, you may not be too excited about painting walls around your staircase. Though the job requires a bit more planning, and painting harder to reach walls, the project is worth the effort. When painting along a stair case, use eggshell or satin sheen paint. A high-traffic area of the home, the staircase walls tend to receive scuffs, fingerprints and smudges more than most walls.

Items you will need

  • Measuring tape
  • Laser measuring tape
  • Ladder
  • Scaffolding
  • Angled paint brush
  • Brush extender
  • Paint roller
Step 1

Measure the area including the width of the staircase and height of the walls. Ensure your measurements are very accurate. One foot off, and you may not be able to reach the top of the wall. Use a laser measuring tape for precise numbers in hard to reach areas.

Step 2

Check your equipment to ensure you are able to reach all areas, including the ceiling corner several feet up in the air. Take into consideration, your arms generally reach 2 ft. above your head. Test the space to see if you can reach with a paintbrush or roller.

Step 3

Rent scaffolding equipment or specialty ladder equipment, if you can't reach all of the stairway wall. Have a local scaffolding company come to your home to determine what your exact paint project needs are.

Step 4

Set up all paint equipment but leave enough space around ladders and scaffolding so your paint brushes and rollers are able to reach through and paint the wall.

Step 5

Roll on your paint in long vertical or horizontal strokes. Trim out the edges and perimeter of the stairwell wall using an angled paintbrush; hook a "brush extender" to the brush for several extra feet. Determine if you need to add a second, or even third coat of paint, before taking down your ladder or scaffolding.

Tips & Warnings

  • If the stairway seems too large for you to paint, hire a paint company to only paint the hard to reach areas, and ask if you can finish the pain project where the walls are reachable using a standard ladder.
  • When working with high areas and on scaffolding, always have a helper on hand to assist you. Only work with safety equipment in place, such as side rails on scaffolding. Never place a ladder on scaffolding or stand on the top rung of a ladder. Even a small fall can cause you to break your ankle or twist your elbow the wrong way.


Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images