How to Paint a Wooden Floor
Article Summary: Learning how to paint a wooden floor is easy, but there are a few steps you should take before painting to ensure the finished flooring looks its best. This article looks at the process and materials you need to make a painted wooden floor look great, first time.
There may be many reasons why you wish to paint a wooden floor. Maybe you have an old laminate floor that is well past its sell-by date, maybe you are looking for a cheap but effective way of refurbishing an old wooden floor? Whatever the reason, there is a quick and easy method of making your wooden floor look brand new again. All it takes is a little forethought and you will have a great looking floor.
Although this article is mainly concerned with how to paint a wooden floor, you can virtually paint any surface as long as it isn’t too damp and that the surface is properly prepared first. I have painted many wooden surfaces and the reaction from many is “Wow, it’s so shiny! What type of paint did you use?” The reaction would suggest that as long as you use a certain type of paint, you will end up with a perfect finish – unfortunately, not so!
The famous car maker, Rolls Royce, used to hand paint their cars. The finish was as good as any spray paint job done today, so how did they do it?
The surface finish of ordinary paint isn’t that hard. To increase the durability and hardness we use a product called urethane to protect and strengthen the surface. It is resistant to scratching and dents and will prolong your floor’s life far beyond that of either a bare surface or painted surface. It basically forms an invisible barrier between itself and the floor, protecting the base material and anything that may have been affixed to it, like murals, photographs and painted lines. Normally, more than one coat of urethane is applied, it is usually more like three coats for optimum hardness.
The Key to Success!
Preparation! – The only way to get a surface finish that is smooth, flat and as perfect as possible is to make absolutely sure that the surface you intend to paint is prepared properly. This includes first cleaning off any large debris, then filling and repairing any holes, dents or other abrasions.
Large Holes & Dents
Use a plastic filler to fill large holes and dents. The filler can be bought in colors that match your type of floor if you are simply coating the wood with urethane. Don’t use a standard light color filler on a dark floor as I have seen before – it looks horrible. When the filler is completely dry, use a light sander to prepare the surface to a nice, smooth finish. Use your hand to feel the surface of the timber. You will soon pick out dips and unseen cracks that should be filled for a perfect end result. When you have gone over the entire floor surface with a light sander, use a vacuum cleaner to pick up all loose particles and dust. There is nothing worse for ruining an otherwise well prepared job.
One thing that might spoil the end result is the grain of the timber flooring. Depending on what type you have, you may be able to see the grain through the top paint finish. This is especially true of some of the softer woods. To avoid this use a primer that covers the base wood floor well. Make sure that whatever primer you use is compatible with the top coat of paint that you intend to use.
As mentioned above, there really are no boundaries when it comes to what you can put on the floor surface. Borders and photographs, edging patterns and stencils will all enhance the design and make your floor unique. Go for it! Having completed the surface design or painted the floor as required, add two or three coats of urethane finish to add the final protective coat. Make sure the paint has been allowed to dry thoroughly before the urethane is applied.
Urethanes are pretty hard and in many cases you will not have to do any major repairs or maintenance for many years. Depending on the severity of traffic, you may have to re-coat the floor maybe every couple of years, but this is unusual and you would need to give your floor a sever workout just about every day of its life to achieve this! Of course, if you wear work boots covered in cement and small stones over your floor, it won’t last long, so as with any flooring surface, treat it with respect and it will give you many years of pleasure.