Painting a Wood Floor

Add durability and decoration by painting a wood floor.


Although wood floors are commonly finished with stains and clear varnishes, painted floors can add a special touch to any room. Today's floor paints are durable and attractive and work well as a single-color element in the room or as a base for other decoration such as stenciling.

Painted floors require preparation, with similiar steps for varnished, already painted, or bare wood floors.

-- Remove mildew with a 3-to-1 water-bleach solution.
-- Scuff-sand glossy areas (mill glaze on new wood, gloss paints on painted floors, and varnished wood). -- Remove deteriorated paint and make repairs to the flooring.
-- Clean the floor thoroughly to remove dirt and grease.
-- Prime the floor. Apply a primer recommended for floors -- latex primer for latex floor paint or an alkyd primer for latex, alkyd, or polyurethane floor paint.

Prestart Checklist

From 30 to 45 minutes per square yard to prepare the surface, plus another 15 minutes to paint each section

4-foot level, sander, vacuum, screwdriver or cordless drill and screwdriver bits, putty knife, paintbrushes, roller with extension handle

Using a level; cleaning, repairing, and painting wood

Bleach, sandpaper, primer and floor paint, patching compound

Step 1

Remove mildew and let the floor dry. Scuff-sand glazed or glossy surfaces with 120-grit sandpaper and a pad sander. Make other repairs as necessary, then vacuum and clean the surface.

Step 2

Using the primer recommended for both the kind of existing floor surface and the finish top coat, cut in the primer along the edges of the floor with a 3-inch brush. Start in a corner and on each leg of the corner, paint a band about 4 feet long.

Step 3

Using a medium-nap roller, apply the primer in the section you've just cut in, rolling the paint as close to the edge of the wall as possible and working with the grain.

Step 4

Working in the same 4x4-foot section, roll the primer against the grain. This will spread primer into any floor irregularities.

Step 5

Finish the section by rolling lightly with the grain, lifting the roller at the end of each stroke. Move to the next section, cutting in and rolling in the same fashion, and working toward a wet edge. When the primer is dry, use the same techniques to apply paint to the floor.

Decorative Techniques

A painted floor provides a literal canvas of opportunities for the application of decorative techniques. The three shown here are among the easiest of many different effects you can create on a painted floor. With some techniques, such as stenciling, it will help to sketch out your pattern first. With others, like spatter painting, you can exercise your creativity.

Comments (1)
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6/9/2016 01:37:30 PM Report Abuse
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