Painting Your Wooden Floors

Painting Your Wooden Floors
Added on October 30th 2019

Whether your floorboards are sturdy-but-ugly, or you just fancy doing something different to the usual sanding and varnishing job, painting your floorboards is a great idea. You can make a room feel bigger and lighter if you choose a light cream shade, or if you’re feeling really bold, you could use a deeper paint.

What you need to paint wooden floors

You’re best-advised to use specialist floor paints because they’re formulated to withstand the high levels of traffic and wear and tear, as well as to resist flaking and staining.

You can find paints that don’t need primers and sealers, so do check the tins if you’re looking for this type. If you’ve sanded the floor beforehand, then you should prime the floor to cover the bare wood. Make sure the primer will work with your paint first, though.

If you have visible cracks and knotholes, or dents and dips, then you’ll need to apply some wood filler to create a level surface.

When it comes to painting, you can use a brush, a roller or a pad. Remember that a roller will leave a stippled effect and a brush will leave stroke marks. Paint pads leave the smoothest finish, but you should use the implement that gives you the effect you want.

The preparation

You’ll need to move all the furniture out of the room. Don’t be tempted to do it in quarters or halves because you’ll take forever and you’ll have two or more lots of post-sanding cleaning up to do.

Remove any beading or skirting boards before you start, just to make life easier. You can replace it afterwards, either with the original or with some new pieces if you want a whole new look.

You will need to sand the floor. There’s no avoiding it (sorry). If it’s a big room with a particularly tatty floor, then hire a disc sander. If it’s a small space and you just want to provide a key for the paint, then a handheld sander might do the job. Make sure there’s no nails sticking up before you get going, as they’ll shred your sanding pads.

Use a handheld sander with a pointed tip to get right into the corners and once the entire floor is done, wash it with detergent to remove all the dust. If you see any mould, use a bleach or specialist cleaner to remove it, then let the floor dry completely for at least a couple of days.

Filling and sealing the floor

Once the floor is dry, look for any holes or pits and use a wood-filler on them. You’ll probably need to sand over these repairs to smooth them out before priming the entire surface.

Finally – the painting!

You need lots of ventilation so open all the windows on the floor you’re working on.

Start off by painting the very edges of the room, avoiding the skirting board or wall. You should cut in by two or three inches with a fine brush, before starting on the main floor area.

Don’t make the mistake of painting yourself in! Start off in the corner furthest from the door and work backwards towards the door, following the grain of the wood and bringing the roller, pad or brush towards you with each stroke.

It’s important to finish the entire floor in one go if you can so that there’s no lap marks from wet paint going over dried paint. If you can’t finish it by yourself in one session, bribe a friend with some beers!

Take your time…

…but hurry up! You’ll need at least two coats, as well as the primer, so find out how long the drying time for each coat is. Two thin coats are better than one thicker one because it’ll dry harder and bond more, but if you’re using thin coats you may need three or four.

It’s also vital that you leave the paint to dry as long as possible before walking on it – 24 hours at the very least. You’ll also need another few days before bringing the furniture back because dried doesn’t mean cured and hardened! Be patient, as you don’t want to ruin all your hard work!

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