Tuesday, September 11, 2012

DIY: Painting a Wood Floor

Hidey ho, it's Katie's mom, and I am taking over her blog once again.

This time it's a tutorial on how to paint your wooden floor.

Our wooden sunroom floor takes a beating. Not only is it surrounded by windows and skylights, but our pet birds are constantly splashing in their water bowls, and throwing Cheerios onto the floor to torment the dogs. We just couldn't see our way to putting in an expensive new floor, but boy, that parquet floor was faded and ugleeeeeee.

Our birds' cages are huge, and they are very jittery about loud noises, so sanding and refinishing wasn't an option. Besides, parquet is soooo 1980's.

So I researched online, and (to my husband's absolute horror) came up with the bright idea of painting the floor. I told him if worse comes to worse, we'll buy the cheapest carpet we can find to cover my mistake.

I started out by emptying the room (the birds hated their week in the den and made sure I knew it, too!)  and making sure my floor was as clean as possible. No feathers. No seed. No little Cheerio's crumbs.

Then I  put a coat of liquid sandpaper down.  This is a de-glosser, and is available at any big box store.   It did a great job on the faded dry areas, and an OK job on the few areas that were still glossy. In retrospect, I wish I had put another coat-or two- of liquid sandpaper down.

Then I followed up with three coats of Behr indoor/outdoor primer. I had them tint the color to match the paint.

The second and third coats of primer helped to hide the wood color, which was peeking through the pale primer, and also helped to smooth the rough edges a little bit. 

Helpful hint: Make sure your doors are TIGHTLY closed. Even the shortest dog can manage to open a door and have a quick, curious look around. This one couldn't hide the evidence. 

Boy, if he wasn't so doggoned cute, he would have been in a LOT of trouble. 

Next I put down three coats of my cream colored Behr porch paint. This was my base color. I let it dry really well between coats. 

Then I taped off the areas I wanted to paint a different color. This was really easy on the parquet, because I just followed the line of the parquet's edge. Voila! Easy, and no frustrating measuring, chalk lines, etc.

I had found several interesting articles online that explained how to get a crisp edge on your lines.

What you do is you paint around the edge with your base paint. This "seals" the edge, and if any paint creeps under the blue tape, it doesn't matter, because it's the same color as the base paint.

Pretty clever, no?!   Golly, I just loves the internet!

So in this case, I ran a line of cream paint on the inside of each square.

Once that dried, I painted my contrasting color inside the squares. Each square got three coats.

When the final coat of blue was almost completely dry, I carefully lifted the tape, pulling at a 90 degree angle.

Be careful pulling it up. Latex comes up in sheets, and if you are over-enthusiastic, you will pull up umpteen layers of paint, including primer, all the way down to the original wood floor.  Patience, Grasshopper!!!!!

It comes up best if that last coat is almost, but not quite all the way dry. 

It worked like a charm!!!!! Look how crisp the edges turned out, and I didn't have to touch up a single edge anywhere in the room!!!

OK. Here is where I made the stupid, stupid, stuuuuupid error of inexperience.

I wanted a semigloss finish.  I put down two coats of semi gloss Min-wax water based polyurethane. OMG, did it look good.
I had enough left for a third coat, so I put it on for good measure.

Here is the oops moment.  And I swear I read the instructions on the can.  To my horror, one side of the room dried semigloss, and the other half dried very glossy.  

Turns out, that semigloss poly has to be stirred.  (Never shake poly, btw. That creates bubbles which are the deathknell of smooth finishes.)  Semigloss poly essentially has fine talc, which is what takes the edge off the gloss. If you don't stir it, it settles to the bottom of the can, and creates a (badly) uneven finish.

So, back to the internet, where I found a website that helpfully advised that whatever the last coat of poly you put on is what the final finish will be.

Time to drag in the husband and pose the stumper "Gloss or Semigloss?". After he mulled over it for a minute, he said he was surprised, but he really liked the look of the gloss.

Back to Home Depot for another can of poly, this time gloss (which doesn't have to be stirred or otherwise have special treatment).

Oh, and one last tip if you are polyurethaning a floor. This will keep your floor clean while you put down your poly.  Create "stepping stones" out of  brown craft paper, or old paper grocery bags, and stagger them to step acrost the floor, so you don't leave any bits of dirt on it that might be stuck to your feet.  Remember, you always want to keep that floor as clean as possible. 

Also use it to sit on, so you don't leave "butt cheek marks" on the poly, and rest your bucket on it, so you don't leave rings or dribbles from the can on the floor.  Three large pieces is the most convenient, so you can move from piece to piece.

And if your husband offers to sweep the floor for you, use the broom on his backside instead. There is no grosser, crumbier, dog-hairier, leaf and grass covered, scratchier thing in the world than the bottom of a broom. DON'T use a broom on the floor before you polyurethane it.  If you have bits of stuff on the floor, get an old clean rag or sock, gingerly dip it in the poly to make it sticky, and use it to lift up any bits that are on the area you are fixing to poly.   

Store your polyurethane brush in a zip lock bag to keep it moist, and it will last the two or three days you need to finish the job, then toss it. Make sure you spend the money to get a good quality brush. It's worth the extra two or three dollars not to have to pick brush hairs out of the poly, and to get a smoother finish. 

All in all, this floor has about a dozen coats of various products. It took a week to complete, and looks pretty fantastic, if I do say so myself!

My supply list for this project was:
  • Liquid Deglosser
  • Behr primer
  • Behr porch paint (cream)
  • Behr porch paint (blue)
  • Minwax water based polyurethane
  • Scotch brand "Edge Lock" painters tape
  • Paint brush (you can easily wash and dry one brush with soap and hot water for the latex, and reuse it for the final poly coats, so you'll only need one good quality brush)
  • zip lock bags to store the brush in between coats (if you keep it moist, you don't have to reclean it every time)
  • Rag
  • Brown paper 

1 comment:

  1. From the above information it looks like a piece of cake to paint your floor but i am sure it must be a tough job and you have to skilled enough to do it without any mistakes.