How To Paint A Wood Floor

Painting wood floors is not done to new wood floors but to old, worn down wood floors. Homeowners choose to paint their wood floors because they desperately need a facelift. Painting gives some protection and a bit more life before they will need to be replaced or refinished. Generally, a cottage is more common than a house for a painted wood floor.

With stains, there is a good amount of color and shade selection. With painting, the color choices are endless. You can paint one solid color or you can achieve a tiled look or even a parquet floor look. If you want to get really fancy, you can even paint a medallion on your wood floor.

Here is a step-by-step guide to teach you how to paint your wood floor:

Step 1. Decide on the look you want to go with. You may want a tiled look or you may want wall to wall of one solid color.

Step 2. Decide on the color you want. You don’t have to go neutral – it’s paint not wood stain. You can choose any color you want. When purchasing both your primer and your paint, make sure they are suitable for wood. Get one that is great for outdoors – it will be more durable and stand up to foot traffic. Get a paint that is for decks, porches and outdoor furniture. Sherwin-Williams makes a fabulous paint that will be terrific for the job – their Porch and Floor Enamel Paint.

Step 3. Remove everything off the floor you are planning to paint. This includes all furniture.

Step 4. Hand sand your floor with 150 grit sandpaper. If you want to speed up the job and you don’t want to hand scuff, use an orbital palm sander or a portable belt sander. If the room is very large, best to use an orbital floor sander. This will get rid of any uneven areas and do a good clean up of any splintering floorboards. Sanding will also make the paint adhere better. You should absolutely wear a dust mask for this job. Knee pads are optional but they will protect your knees. If there is old finish, you don’t have to sand it off completely. you just want your primer and paint to stick to your floor.

Step 5. Vacuum your floor. Vacuum it very well. If there is any dust or hair it will mix into the paint. If you are a perfectionist, you can sweep before you vacuum.

Step 6. Wash your floor with odorless mineral spirits using a microfiber rag

Step 7. Allow your floor to dry completely. This may take a few days.

Once your floor is dry, you can apply your primer. (Even if you are doing a design, make sure that you do it wall to wall.) Use a primer that is preferably a penetrating oil-based variety. A good quality latex one will do if necessary. Make sure that if you are using an oil-based primer you use an oil-based paint. If you are using a later-based primer, you need a latex paint to go with it.

If you have areas where the floor has no finish and areas with finish, go over the areas with no finish with a light coating of primer. Let it dry before priming the entire floor. This is known as spot priming. If the whole floor is unfinished skip this step.

Step 8. Allow the primer to dry fully.

Step 9. Do a light sanding using 220 grit sandpaper. You need to sand twice is because after you have primed, you will get the odd wood fiber sticking up. The wood has swelled up from the moisture of the product penetrating it.

Step 10. Clean your floor again this time using a tack cloth to remove any dust from sanding. If you even try to use paper towel or an ordinary rag, it will ruin the primer – it will be all bumpy and uneven. You can vacuum again if you choose.

Step 11. Now you are ready to paint. Even if you think it is faster to use a roller, it is way better to use a natural bristle brush. Sadly, it is a very slow process. This way you won’t have the possibility of any roller marks and you will have a clean finish. If you are in a rush and not a perfectionist and want to use a roller, go for a ¼ inch nap microfiber roller. It will look good as long as you take your time.

When you apply the paint, use a small amount of paint at a time. If you pour a whole bunch on your floor, it won’t spread nicely and it won’t dry evenly.

For interesting borders and patterns in the floor like a tiled look, use painter’s tape (the green stuff) to give you the guidelines you need.

Step 12. Allow paint to fully dry. It will take a minimum of 24 hours. Any sooner and you will have a floor filled with bubbles and uneven paint – and this will not be correctable!

Remember that thinner coats are better. They dry more evenly than thick coats. Thick coats of paint get gummy.

Step 13. Do another coat. Repeat 2 more times so you have 3 coats of paint in total.

Step 14. Finally, apply a coat of polyurethane on top of your final coat of paint. This is going to make the paint more durable. If you want it to have a very durable, apply 2 coats of polyurethane – I recommend 2 coats of poly. Choose a low VOC poly so you don’t have to worry about it off-gassing.

Step 15. Allow 24 hours until you can move your furniture back onto the newly painted wood floor.