How to Apply Nonslip Paint on Interior Stairs

Protect your family from slippery stairs.
Protect your family from slippery stairs. (Image: Ryan McVay/Lifesize/Getty Images)

Slipping down a set of stairs can happen to even the most careful person. While stair runners and unattractive nonslip treads are an option, to keep the look of your stairs intact, choose a clear, slip-resistant paint made for your stairs' material. While the clear paint is noticeable close up, the slight disruption in your stair’s finish is worth it when you no longer slip down the stairs.

Things You'll Need

  • Dish detergent
  • Bucket
  • Lint-free rag
  • Painter’s tape
  • Paint stir stick
  • Paintbrush

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Wash the stair treads with a rag and warm, soapy water to remove dirt, debris and body oil. Wipe them dry with a clean, lint-free rag.

Place painter’s tape along the edge of each stair tread to create a rectangle and protect the small amount of tread you will not paint with the coating. Prepare the stair treads according to the nonslip paint manufacturer's directions. This may involve the use of sandpaper or an etching product. Open windows and use fans to circulate air for proper ventilation when painting.

Mix the nonslip paint according to manufacturer's directions.

Use a paintbrush to apply a thin coat of the paint in a vertical direction to the exposed stair tread. Let the first coat dry and apply a second coat if desired.

Allow the paint to dry according to manufacturer's directions before removing the painter’s tape. Keep pets and people off the stairs during drying time to prevent damage to the finish.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you want the entire tread to have the nonslip coating, apply painter’s tape to the risers of each stair and along the wall where the stairs and wall meet.
  • Nonslip paint is available in a range of colors if you want to add a pop of color to your stairs.
  • If you have a paint color you already love, purchase nonslip additive and add it to your paint to make a nonslip coating.
  • Choose a nonslip paint approved for your stair material.


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