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SuperMouse's avatar

Have you ever painted the walls and ceiling of a stairway? How did you do it?

Asked by SuperMouse (30713 points ) January 23rd, 2013

I have to paint the walls and the ceiling of the stairway to my basement. Of course I will roll the big areas, but what is the secret for doing the trim at the top of the walls and on the ceiling? I don’t know if some kind of special ladder exists, but if it does – I don’t have one!

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15 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

There are ladders that are multipositional that can be used on stairs. You also can build scaffolding, but for a basement I assume the ceilings are not very high and the ladder will do. Lowes or Home Depot should have those ladders. They usually have extra support for increased stability on the bottom of the legs, which is good for any job anyway.

I had a neighbor who painted her entire house, except the ceiling by the stairs and one other very high ceiling and just paid a painter to do that small area. Something to consider if you feel unsafe reaching for those areas or feel it will be very difficult for some reason. Buying a new ladder might be about the same price as paying for that small amount of work.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

The local rental store may have the scaffolding or ladders for rent, rather than buying a $300 ladder.

JLeslie's avatar

Oh, good point. My Home Depot has machines for rent, maybe they rent those ladders also.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I had a pro do my house 10 years ago. He had a high pressure sprayer with a long nozzle. He did not need to use a ladder at all. It was amazing. It still looks great.

JLeslie's avatar

@LuckyGuy But, the OP says there is trim work. I don’t think you can use a pressure sprayer for that. He can use a roller with an extension also with not need for a ladder, but that won’t take care of the trim.

Yetanotheruser's avatar

I’ve done some professional painting over the years. The best technique I’ve found is a telescoping extension handle for the roller. You can also tape a brush to the end of the extension for cutting into corners and such. The main need for a ladder would be for the trim and to apply masking tape in the corners if, say, the ceiling is a different color than the wall.

JLeslie's avatar

A painter of mine used an extension and attached a paintbrush to it and trimmed a ceiling 20 feet high. My husband and I could not believe his skill and percision. I know I couldn’t do it.

jca's avatar

@SuperMouse: Not sure what kind of shape you’re in, but if you’re going to go up high and hurt yourself, is it worth it? Better, IMHO, to hire a pro than have a life changing injury.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@JLeslie Agreed. In my case no trim work was required. Everything was/is Dover White – the only color anyone ever needs. ;-)

gailcalled's avatar

^^^Don’t forget Navajo White.

LuckyGuy's avatar

^^^ Dover white has a light touch of yellow that is perfect for sunny rooms and Navaho white has a touch of brown which is great for living/sitting rooms. As far as I’m concerned, they are virtually interchangeable. Either way is fine.

The Dover white everywhere technique made painting the stairwell very easy. I would recommend it.

In my house the scheme is determined by the color of the Kleenex tissue box.

gasman's avatar

You can set up an ordinary step ladder at the bottom landing of the stairs, then heavy planks supported at one end by this ladder & the other end by a stair at or near the top so the planks are horizontal. Obviously make sure everything is secure. Standing on the planks gets you at least 5 or 6 feet off the floor, then use an extension pole for a paint roller.

gondwanalon's avatar

I painted the tall ceiling and walls in the stairway of my house. I used a typical 6 foot ladder and a roller on a long extension poll. It took much of my endurance and upper body strength to make it happen especially since it took 3 coats. I was covering a dark brown color with an off white color (called “white canvas”).

Unbroken's avatar

Panda white was my nuetral of choice it perfectly enhanced my papaya walls and even the spring cactus looked good.

On a completely unhelpful but amusing side note I had a friend who scaled the walls, he did set up a rope system attached to a type of molly ring bolt or something. How ever he is quite athletic and unconvential. My professional painter friend advised me that if you tape first with the expensive tape all you ever need to do is roll. But how to tape and the trim… scaffolding would be the best bet. Ladders are a pain in the but refilling paint buckets moving the ladder etc. You would get your exercise.

rooeytoo's avatar

I would paint it all the same colour and do as @gasman suggests. Has always worked well for me.

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