Last Updated on December 24, 2015 by Kristi Linauer
Hello, all! I hope those of you here in the U.S. of A. had a great three-day holiday weekend! I did something I haven’t done in a very long time. I actually took a good chunk of time off from working on the house. 🙂
It’s true. And it was glorious. And I definitely needed the break. I ate good food, spent some time outside relaxing in the sun before the rain storms moved in, spent an unreasonable amount of time watching an embarrassing number of shows on Amazon (we prefer Amazon to Netflix — I highly recommend it!), and other than taking about an hour of time on Saturday morning to apply two coats of polyurethane to the floor, I didn’t even give my kitchen (or any other room in my home) a thought.
I did finish my kitchen floor, and then I immediately covered it with paper and completely forgot to take pictures of it after I put the polyurethane on. Bummer.
But even without the picture, I thought I’d go ahead and answer some questions about the DIY details of this floor painting project.
I painted this floor with a different design, and then decided I didn’t like it. So I ended up sanding off the first design using my 6-inch variable speed orbital sander with 80-grit sanding discs.
After everything was sanded, I vacuumed and swept the floor, and then began painting. It wasn’t until I had painted about 1/4 of the floor that I realized I had never done any fine sanding (using 120-grit or 150-grit discs), so the floor was a bit rough. I thought, once again, that I had messed up.
As it turns out, I think that really worked to my benefit. The rougher texture of the wood seems to have helped it soak up the paint more, rather than having the paint just sit on top of the wood. So I’m actually glad I overlooked the fine sanding step.
I painted the floor using Behr interior flat paint in two colors – Oyster (the darker color) and Polar Bear (the white color).
The reason I chose flat paint is because I knew I wanted to put several coats of polyurethane over the top of the painted floor, and it seemed to me that polyurethane would adhere better to the more porous surface of a flat paint than the slicker surface of a higher sheen paint.
I did not paint the entire floor in one base coat and then go back and tape off stripes of the second color. Instead, I taped off the darker stripes, and then went back and taped off the lighter stripes.
I had two reasons for doing this:
- Taping off the different colored stripes individually allowed the floor boards to be seen, and those are what I used to tape off the stripes. The darker stripes are four boards wide, and the white stripes are two boards white. This way, there was no measuring and marking required. I simply followed the lines of the floor boards. Had I painted the entire floor in a base coat, I would have visually lost the lines of the boards, and then I would have had to measure and mark every single white stripe, which would have taken quite a bit longer and would have been very tedious.
- I wanted to avoid a build up of paint on the floor when and where possible. I figured that a build up of paint on the floor would make it more susceptible to chipping, so I didn’t want any unnecessary layers of paint.
It really seems to have worked. About two hours after painting the darker stripes, I used my fingernail and scratched pretty hard trying to scratch the paint off, and I couldn’t.
After the paint was dry (and it dried very quickly!), I sanded the floor again. This time I did it by hand (no electric sander on this step) and used 220-grit sandpaper. I didn’t press hard enough to really affect the look of the paint, but it did smooth the floor beautifully and minimize any build up of paint that happened along the edges of the painters tape.
I used a total of three coats of Parks Pro Finisher Water-Base Polyurethane in a satin finish. I found it at Home Depot. It’s a Rust-Oleum product, and it comes in a white one-gallon jug rather than a metal can. Keep in mind that you’re not supposed to apply polyurethane with a roller, as it will cause bubbles in the finish. Instead, you’re supposed to use a brush or an applicator pad. I chose the second option (also available at Home Depot). Just be sure you choose the applicator pad that’s appropriate for water-based products, and you need to have an extension pole (I used a broom handle) to screw into the applicator pad base.
I applied the first coat on Friday, and then left it to dry overnight. On Saturday, I sanded the first coat with fine sandpaper by hand (again, no power tools), and then applied the second coat after sweeping and vacuuming the dust thoroughly. Then I waited about four hours and applied the third coat.
One thing I did notice is that even though I was using a water-based product, and it said on the container that it’s a “crystal clear” finish, it did change the color of my floor ever so slightly. It’s not enough that it really makes a difference in the overall look, but it definitely added the slightest warm brown tone over top. But again, it’s nothing at all even remotely close to what I would have gotten with an oil-based finish.
After I painted the whole floor, I noticed that some of the boards were a different color. This was especially noticeable on the white stripes. Unfortunately, all I have is an awful phone picture, but you can see what I’m talking about here.
Obviously this was due to the fact that I didn’t use a primer under the paint, and some of the natural color of the wood was bleeding through more on some boards than on the rest.
On the really noticeable boards, I ended up sanding them down a bit by hand, giving them a coat of shellac, and then repainting. It definitely helped.
So if I were to do this again, I might choose to shellac the entire floor first before painting so that I wouldn’t have any natural wood tones bleeding through and distorting the color. I’m not too concerned about it, and for any of the boards left that are slightly discolored, I’ll just chalk it up to the charm of a painted wood floor. But had I shellacked in the first place, it would have saved some time and frustration with those really noticeably discolored boards.
FYI — The reason I would have chosen shellac instead of primer is again due to the fact that shellac is much thinner than primer, and so it soaks into the wood better. Primer pretty much just sits on top of the wood. Also, because shellac is so thin, it fills in wood grain much less than primer, and I really wanted the wood grain to show in my final floor so that it’s obvious that it’s a painted hardwood floor, rather than looking like I painted some super smooth, unidentifiable material.
I think that’s it, but if you have any questions, or I’ve left out any details, just let me know and I’ll be happy to give more info where needed!
Addicted 2 Decorating is where I share my DIY and decorating journey as I remodel and decorate the 1948 fixer upper that my husband, Matt, and I bought in 2013. Matt has M.S. and is unable to do physical work, so I do the majority of the work on the house by myself. You can learn more about me here.
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