This old staircase was in desperate need of an overhaul. To get the job done, the old rubber mats were pulled up and the surface of the entire staircase was sanded down, primed and then painted. Then to give the staircase a bold pop of personality, wallpaper was adhered to the risers.
The key to any successful paint job is the prep — a staircase is no different. Pull out staples and nails and fill in the holes with joint compound. Sand all surfaces smooth, including the risers. Even though they'll be covered with wallpaper, the surface needs to be flat and clean.
Paint the stairs with quality floor and porch paint. You will need one coat on the risers and at least three coats on the treads. Let each coat dry completely before adding another.
After the paint has dried for at least 24 hours, start cutting the wallpaper to fit the risers. Measure the size of the risers, measure each one separately in case they vary in size. Use a framing square to make sure the wallpaper is straight. Use a utility knife along the edge of the framing square to cut the paper to size.
Test each piece of wallpaper on the designated riser before you paste it on. If necessary, use a utility knife, to cut off any excess. Set the piece aside but make sure you know which riser it belongs to; you may want to number the back of each one. Follow this process for each riser.
Follow the manufacturer's instructions for applying the wallpaper paste to the back of each piece. Place the wallpaper on the risers, smoothing out each piece as you go. Make sure the edges are secure. Use a damp rag to wipe off excess paste from the front of the wallpaper. Let dry.