How to Paint a Steel Staircase

paint brushes
  • 6-12 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 100-300
What You'll Need
80-grit sandpaper
200-grit sandpaper
400-grit sandpaper
6--=grit sandpaper
800-grit sandpaper
High gloss enamel paint

A fresh coat of paint can give new life to your steel staircase. Fortunately, steel is an easy metal to paint, whether it's bare or it has been painted before. The key is properly sanding the surface. Follow these easy steps to paint your steel staircase.

Step 1 - Sand

If there is paint already on the material, sand it all away using 80-grit sandpaper. Use 200-grit sandpaper to remove any scratches. For a smooth, fine finish, follow with 400-grit paper.

Step 2 - Clean and Prime

Clean the metal and make sure it's dry. The difference between painting a steel staircase and a wooden staircase is that wood soaks in primer. The surface of smooth metal, on the other hand, doesn't leave much for primer to grip.

Use etch primer on your steel staircase. Apply a light coat over the metal, then several coats of high-build primer. The high-build primer will stick to the etch primer and provide you a solid surface for painting.

WARNING: Make sure your work area has proper ventilation and check the primer's can for safety instructions before you starting using it. Put on a pair of gloves and a respirator or face mask before you start applying the primer. Keep the face or respirator mask on throughout the later steps.

Step 3 - Wet Sand

Once the primer is dry, use wet sandpaper to smooth the dry primer. Wet some 600-grit sandpaper and rub gently enough to avoid removing too much of the primer. The goal is to smooth the primed surface, not to remove the primer. Next, wet 800-grit sandpaper and rub it on the primed surface to finish smoothing it out.

Step 4 - Paint

Paint the surface with 2 to 3 coats of high gloss enamel paint, allowing the paint to grow tacky between coats.

Step 5- Apply Polish or Sealant

Finally, you can add a coat of polish or sealant. Doing so will give your steel staircase the best possible finish.