White risers on wooden stairs can help to brighten a narrow or poorly lit stairway. They will often serve as a means to open up the room and provide a more spacious feel. Also, the use of white can emphasis a darker stain on the steps or darker colored surrounding walls.
Choosing to go with white risers in your home may be fulfilling a personal preference or to achieve a particular aesthetic. However, the procedure for prepping and painting your risers is pretty much universal.
Before You Begin
Like all painting projects, proper preparation and the correct paint is everything. It’s also important to protect your respiratory health during and after painting. You can do this by wearing a painting mask and selecting paints with little to no volatile organic compound content.
VOCs do, however, serve a purpose in your paint. They keep certain parts of your paint, such as the pigment, in a liquid state. This ultimately results in an even, high-quality application. Once you apply the paint to your walls, the VOCs will begin to off-gas as the paint is drying.
They will continue this process for several months after application. For most people, the smell of fresh paint is relatively pleasant and represents a job well done. However, many of these volatile organic compounds are suspected carcinogens and can cause harmful long-term effects on your health. Some of these concerns include headaches, respiratory problems, long-term breathing issues, nausea and irritated eyes.
The more dangerous issues may include damage to your central nervous system, kidneys, liver and possibly even cancer. In order to avoid any negative impacts on your health, make sure to read the labels and research your paint before you begin.
Prepping for Paint
Start preparing the surface by sanding the entire surface of each riser. Sanding will help remove any existing paint or stain and will toughen the painting surface. Your primer will apply better to a surface that is rough.
After the sanding is complete, clean each of the risers with a damp cloth to remove any remaining residue or dust. Primer may trap moisture or bond unequally if it’s applied to a surface that is damp or dirty. Don’t forget to protect the stairs by completely covering them. You can use materials such as old newspaper or plastic sheeting.
Tape the protective material down with masking or painter’s tape. When it comes to primer, you’ll want to apply two coats and allow for ample drying time in between each. Paint in the direction of the wood grain using brushes with natural bristles.
You should begin wearing your mask prior to applying the primer. Also, be sure to block the stairway to prevent any pets or children from disturbing your project during drying time.
Painting Your Risers
Apply your white paint using a foam brush. Be sure to begin at the top of the staircase and work your way to the base. This method will help you avoid getting stuck while waiting for the first coat to finish drying. Light colors typically require a second coat to fully conceal the surface underneath.
Apply the second coat of white paint after the first has dried completely. After your second coat is dry, remove the tape and newspaper to examine the risers. Use a small brush for any touch ups or spots that were missed. Store or dispose of your unused paint and enjoy your beautiful new risers!
Keeping Your White Risers Clean
Painting the risers white is just the beginning. The other half of the battle is trying to keep them clean. Like white floors, bright and aesthetically pleasing does not equal zero maintenance.
Your risers will unavoidably end up with scuff marks. It’s inevitable however, sometimes they can be remedied with a simple wipe down. For a more intense clean, the best product for the job tends to be Mr. Clean’s Magic Eraser.
Not convinced yet that white risers on your wooden stairs is the way to go? Take a look at these 15 beautiful examples that might just change your mind.
1. This is a near-perfect example to illustrate what a quick DIY can do to your entryway. In this case, the addition of the white risers accentuates the red in the stain on the stairs. It also brings out the tan wall at the top of the stairway.
2. The dark wood stain on these steps is stunning. The white risers also beautifully complement the wrought iron hand rails and spindles.
3. In this image, the risers are a white herringbone style shiplap. This is a unique take on the white riser. The use of this particular style is a perfect solution to add a distinctive design element to your stairway.
4. White risers do not have to be reserved for interior staircases. In this instance, the risers are painted white on a deck to emphasize the wood planking of the stairs. Additionally, the use of deck lighting makes the risers pop.
5. Painting your risers white can help to tie everything together. In this home, the moldings and doors are painted the same white as the risers. It also increases the look of the gray and tan walls.
6. The white risers on this stairway mesh seamlessly with the modern feel of the home. Additionally, they draw attention to the beautiful metal railings.
7. This stunning oak staircase features white risers, spindles and stringers. The risers highlight the natural wood of the stairs and railings, opening up the already large room.
8. This is another example of white risers drawing focus to the natural beauty of the wood stain on the stairs.
9. Matching the stain of your floors to your stairs can help maintain a sense of continuity in your home. The white risers promote this continuity by creating excellent contrast.
10. Notice how big of a difference painting your risers makes. In the “before” image, the stairs looked like a sea of brown wood. However, the “after” image cuts up the stairs and actually allows you to appreciate the natural color of the wood.
11. This gorgeous entryway features coordinating wood floors, stairs, railings and front door. The contrasting white risers and walls create a very regal aesthetic.
12. This romantic staircase creates a sophisticated and stylish foyer. The rich, oak floors combined with the ultra-white risers and banisters illuminate the space.
13. In this home, the black metal industrial railing helps to ground the white accents and light wood stain that brightens the interior.
14. This builder opted to match the stringers to the stairs and banister. The white risers enhance the deep color of the wood stain and subsequently helps break up the space.
15. The intricate details in this staircase are striking. The white risers and matching stringers allow the stairway’s unique elements to shine through.
Wrapping It Up
Distinguishing hardwood stairs lend a lot to a property’s value. Painted risers can make a lasting impression and accentuate the quality of the stairs. The contrasting white brings out the natural beauty of the wood much better than solid hardwood risers can.
White risers typically also make the stairway and encompassing walls appear more spacious. Most homeowners choose to paint risers to achieve a particular look and for aesthetic reasons.
The prep and painting process is rather simple and can make a huge difference in your entryway. Thankfully, all of this beauty can be achieved by a rather quick DIY project.