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What Does It Cost to Paint My Interior Staircase?

Painting the staircase in your home is a great cost effective way to update the interior. Often, we find replacing a stairway or even significant parts of a staircase are too expensive. You don’t have to replace – you can repaint. There are alternatives that can save you money. Painting America will discuss your options and help you arrive at the choice best suited for you.

Your options are varied. Your final project will depend on what you currently have, what your overall goal is, and what your budget will allow.

Staircase Terms

Before we discuss these, we will need an understanding of stairway terms.


A baluster is a vertical support element, typically slender and cylindrical or square in shape, that helps support the handrail of a staircase or balcony. Balusters are usually spaced out evenly along the length of the handrail, and they provide both structural support and aesthetic appeal to the staircase. Sometimes people call balusters “spindles.”


Here’s where things can get confusing. There are three common usages of the term banister. First, some people use banister when referring to the balusters, treating them like synonyms.

Secondly, some use banister to refer only to the handrail that runs along the length of a staircase or balcony, usually supported by a series of balusters.

And finally, “banister” can also refer to the whole system of parts that combine to make the stairway. A banister is usually the combination of handrail, newels, stair treads, balusters and assorted trim pieces. A banister is installed by stair professionals, trim carpenters or skilled do it yourselfers. This usage is most common in our area, and it’s the one we prefer.

Base rail

The horizontal base that the balusters are mounted in. Used when not mounting balusters in tread.


A molded rail following the pitch or rake of the staircase, and forming the top or connecting piece of the balustrade which protects the outside of the stair. The handrail provides a safety feature for people using the stairs or balcony, giving them something to hold onto as they ascend or descend.

Newels or Newel Post

A newel post is a vertical post or pillar that is typically larger and more substantial than the balusters, and it supports the handrail at the bottom and top of a staircase. A newel post is usually located at the base of the staircase, where it is secured to the floor, and at the top of the staircase, where it is secured to the landing or the handrail. Of course, additional newel posts may be required if the staircase has turns.


The vertical face of a step.


The vertical end of the step, on the wall.


The horizontal part of a staircase upon which the foot is placed.

Staircase Painting Costs

For our first example, we will use an 18 foot long railing, with four newel posts, wood balusters and base rail, no skirts or risers and carpeted treads.

  • To re-paint a currently painted staircase, same color, same product is the least expensive.The cost is in the range of $2,000.00-$3,500.00.

If you elect to change your balusters to metal and it may be a simple replacement, not requiring a carpenter if you have the skills to remove the old balusters and install the new metal ones.

  • The cost to paint the newel posts, rail, and base rail (no balusters) is in the range of $1,500.00

What if you want to upgrade your staircase? To achieve your desired look, you might want to have hardwood treads installed and the expertise of a highly skilled finish carpenter to install a new stairwell.

  • For this example, we’re picturing hardwood treads, risers, skirts, square newel posts, metal balusters (installed in tread) and railing. The cost to paint would be in the range of $4,000-$10,000.
  • If you’d rather have a stained handrail, the cost would still be in the range of $4,000-$10,000.

Getting Your Staircase Makeover

New Staircase Painting - Before & After - Painting America, Inc. - Bothell, WA

A dramatic staircase makeover is just a call away!

Painting America works with you to determine your home update scope, the order of your projects, your design lane, and your personal color palette. Imagine having all your ducks in a row before the tradespeople arrive. All your questions are answered and a written definition of scope along with color swatches and paint drawdowns are provided to you to view in your home. This assures you of your choices before the painting/staining begins.

When the flooring and stairway install is finished and ready to be painted, that’s when we come in. We prefer that we do the prep work as this is key to providing a flawless finish. Painting America will protect your new flooring and treads. We use premium Benjamin Moore primers, paints, and stains for its exacting standards and perfect performance. Everything is applied by our 40-year artisan craftsman, co-owner Dave Rushing.

You can trust that your staircase (or an even more extensive project) will be prepared and painted with precision. We’ll give you a staircase that is beautiful and smooth to the touch for years to come. If your home is in the greater Eastside communities, Edmonds, Millcreek, Woodinville, Duvall, Bothell, Kirkland, Redmond, Bellevue, Mercer Island, Issaquah, Sammamish Plateau…  then contact us today!

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