Updating a staircase

As stairs are the most heavily used areas in a household, many homeowners like to apply two or three coats for extra durability.

You may want to paint just the treads or go to town and decorate the whole balustrade if you're feeling artistic, giving the staircase a fresh new look.

Swapping old-fashioned balustrade for a more contemporary equivalent can instantly transform the look of a staircase for a relatively modest outlay.

Matching newel caps and a new handrail will complete the transformation at a fraction of the cost of an entirely new staircase.

Hiring a paint sprayer for the day could prove the ideal solution, speeding up the job and helping you achieve an even finish.

If you're planning on doing a lot of painting, it might be worth investing in your own machine.

Finish off with at least one top coat of polyurethane varnish.

If you want to make a feature of the treads, or the stair carpet, try painting the surrounding trim a uniform colour, so that the treads stand out in contrast.

Stairs are the hub of the home, so a shabby or outdated staircase can make a poor first impression and lower the tone of the whole property.

Frequently it's not only a question of aesthetics - some older stairs are positively unsafe, having been constructed before modern building regulations came into force.

Apply the stain as thinly and evenly as possible using a clean rag, following the grain of the wood.

You may need a second coat if the shade isn't dark enough for your liking.

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