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What's the best paint for a wooden staircase?

The question

I painted the wooden staircase inside our home less than a year ago and the latex floor paint didn't wear well at all. It already needs recoating. What do I use this time around?

The answer

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Wood and latex paint just isn't a durable combination. Wood tends to shift, which will cause water-based latex to crack. The Botox treatment is an epoxy-based paint, which both fills in the fissures and protects the floor with a serious finish. For the best results, make sure the staircase is stable before you begin; a carpenter can check the stringers, which hold the treads in place, and reinforce the beams that support the staircase.

On top of that, I like to use a carpet runner – along with stair rods with end caps to hold it down – and leave three inches of wood on both sides of the treads to soften the blow of the feet and enrich the overall aesthetic.

Follow architect and interior designer Dee Dee Taylor Eustace on Twitter: @ddtaylordd . Have a design dilemma? E-mail

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