How to Paint a Stairwell

I recently had some drywall replaced in my stairwell. Now my stairwell needs to be repainted. How can I do it myself? -Marie

A stairwell can be tricky to paint since it’s often hard to set up a ladder that will allow you to reach all of the wall area. Whether you want to tackle painting it yourself or not will depend on how high the stairwell is and how comfortable you are working on ladders and scaffolding.

The best approach is to position a step or extension ladder at the bottom facing the staircase with a horizontal walkboard, also known as a scaffold plank, resting on one of the rungs and extending over to the stair tread that is level with it. Check out our Stairwell Painting Tip video to see this technique in practice.

If there is still an area over the staircase that you can’t reach, you may need to reposition the walkboard and ladders at the top of the stairwell. Another option is to attach a leg extender, also known as a ladder leveler, on one leg of an extension ladder, then position the ladder on the steps. Use soft rubber pads on the ends of the extension ladder to keep from marring the wall.

Ladders and walkboards can be rented at home improvement or rental centers.
Check out this video

Good luck with your project,



  1. we need to retexture/repaint a basement stairwell with an area that has a 20 foot high ceiling. WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO BUILD THE SCAFFOLDING.


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