Stair StyleAlthough the tips above are not enough to teach you how to build a stair (that's one of the most complicated things a carpenter does), they will help you understand how and why they are laid out the way the are. Now let's talk about the way stairs look. After all, there is beauty in the function of a staircase — a well-designed stair can be one of the most stunning forms in your house. A staircase has many parts, and since most are made of wood, one of the questions you'll face is whether to add a clear coat or paint it. Traditional stairs often have a combination of both. To paint or not to paint? My advice is to avoid paint on treads and banisters. These get the most wear, and paint shows wear more readily. If the treads have been painted before, or if you want that look, we've had good success with Fine Paints of Europe.