We’ve got two stairways in our small Victorian home: one that meets the front door and another that goes to the second-floor from the hallway off the kitchen in the back of the house.
The front stairway is grander and features a shiny oak surface. You could say that’s “a stairway going nowhere, just for fun.” Now, if I were a rich man I’d replace the back stairway with some fine woodgrain, but since I’m not, I do the next best thing: I paint it.
When we bought the house nearly 16 years ago it was in rough shape and this stairwell had a shag rug that stray cats used as a bathroom. There was also a hole in the wall. We got rid of the rug, disinfected the stairs and repaired the hole in the wall. We then painted the stairs, but the stain only lasted a year or so. So we then put carpeting it on it but that looked shabby only a few years later.
The solution? Paint, but now I use the best paint available for the job: Fine Paints of Europe. The Vermont company sells a floor and deck paint that is made in Holland and lasts much longer than American paints and stains. It costs more too: $115 for a 2.5 liter can. But it’s worth it.
I’ve used their other paints on walls and trim in a few rooms in my home and those rooms hold their sheen much longer. The colors look brighter too as their paints have a higher concentration of pigments.
I first painted the back stairway with Fine Paints of Europe paint in 2006. I sanded the wood, applied a coating of primer and then two coats of paint. Now, four years later all I had to do was clean the stairs and apply one coat.
I’m getting much better at painting too. Since this stairway has three different colors — white, blue and yellow — the first time I painted it I used lots of painter’s tape to protect each color from splattering onto the other colors. But this time, I only used the tape at the base of the lip on each stair.
Instead I used an angled brush and carefully cut in with a steady hand. This saved time and avoided other problems of using tape, such as bleeding when paint gets up underneath the tape.
There was one problem, however, I wasn’t able to avoid: keeping the cat away from the freshly painted stairs. I had him locked down the cellar for the day but when I opened the cellar door, he skirted around my legs and flailing arms and ran up the staircase ripping off small amounts of his white fur in the process.
Not wanting him to have access to the staircase again, I managed to corner him under a bed upstairs. But again, he ran past me and down the staircase: this time leaving blue paw prints on the vinyl kitchen flooring below.