We’ve got painted white hardwood floors in our newly remodeled guest bathroom, and am sharing today how to paint hardwood floors for anyone else that may be so bold or crazy or swayed-by-impressive-Pinterest-pics to try it.
I love hardwood floors. L-O-V-E them. I like them stained, I like them unstained, I like them hand-scraped, I like them smooth, I like them dark, I like them light, I like them sleek, I like them rustic, I like them perfect, I like them imperfect (ahem, like our guest bedroom). And now I can add that I like them painted. Deciding to paint our hardwood floors in our bathroom was a tough decision. But a few factors made the decision easier. First, we planned to tile the floors down the road so refinishing or painting was not intended to be a permanent solution. Second, painting is a heck of a lot easier, faster, and less smelly. Third, we had a plywood patch of floor in our bathroom, which we would have had to replace if we wanted to stain and seal the hardwoods but not so with paint. Fourth, I’ve refinished floors before with stain/sealer and trying something new by painting them was appealing (who doesn’t love testing out new house updates? Normal people, I guess.). Fifth, pics like these of other amazing painted floors really swayed me toward paint:
Once you get on board with painting, the work begins.
Prep Your Floor
- If you’ve got carpet, remove it and all tacks strips and staples.
- If you’ve got linoleum, remove that too. If it is stuck to your floor with ancient linoleum adhesive, test that stuff for asbestos before proceeding. We did this and were so glad when the asbestos report came back negative.
- If you have any glue or other residue, sand or scrape it off – whatever works best to get you down to wood. We did a combo of both.
- Once you are down to wood, sand that wood. You don’t want any splinters, sticky stuff, or anything that would interfere with paint adhesion. Sand it down to bare wood, meaning remove any prior finish on the floors.
- Use a sander that best suits your needs. Our bathroom is not very big, but it was too big for me to consider using my orbital hand sander. So we rented a medium-sized floor sander for a day and it went fairly quickly (once we had removed all the glue – that took a full day of sanding and scraping).
- Fill holes/gouges if a smooth look is your thing. Otherwise, let those gouges give the floor some character.
- Some folks might want to fill any spaces between floorboards, but I really like to leave them so it makes it clear the floors are hardwoods, not just some random plywood or something.
- This is also a good time to use a nail gun to reduce any floor board squeaks (make sure your nails are short enough that they won’t interfere with anything below your subfloor, like electrical wiring or pipes).
- Vacuum and wipe your floors so there is no dust/debris and get ready to paint.
Paint Your Floor
- First, decide whether or not you want to prime your floor. You may want to prime if you have large stains or a stinky floor (think pets and their inability to use a toilet like a human). Or if you have things that could show through or rust such as large nails. Or if you cheated by failing to sand down to bare wood and just want to cover your existing semi-finished wood (in which case, use oil-based primer for sure).
- If you don’t have these issues, you could skip the primer and go straight to paint.
- Some say that going straight to paint can leave a little more wood grain showing, which is a good thing. But I did not find that to be the case. I did find it to save me one step in the process, and have no complaints with the result at all.
- I used Porch & Floor Paint (Behr) – you can have it colored however you like. I went with white.
- The steps are pretty basic – start by brushing the edges and then use a roller with low nap or foam to roll the entire rest of the floor – work your way out the door.
- Let it dry per your paint can’s instructions.
- Do three coats to make sure everything looks great.
- It is best to do all this work whilst wearing your paint clothes and, of course, your turquoise footie paint socks.
Finish Your Floor
- You can stop with the Porch and Floor Paint. Especially if you go for a darker color. I tried leaving our newly painted white floor uncovered but was not happy with how it got dirt or shoe or kid toy marks on it pretty quickly. So I chose to put on sealer (after doing another coat of Porch and Floor Paint so the sealed floor was white and freshie clean).
- I used water-based sealer because it is not supposed to yellow so much, and yellowing is pretty obvious with a white floor. You can use oil-based if you have a darker color.
- I used a water-based polyurethane and applied it with a foam roller for the main part of the floor and a foam brush for the edges.
- Note: on a white floor you will see the lint/dust when you apply your sealer, so make sure to really clean your floor super well before applying the sealer and really clean your foam roller. It sounds weird, but don’t hesitate to vacuum any dust off your roller. I learned this the hard way.
- Apply the sealer just like you did your paint, doing a couple coats and working your way out the door.
- Then wait for your final coat to dry and that’s it!
Now that I’ve painted the floors white, I am thrilled. Actually, I have had to work really hard to resist painting lots of other rooms, too. And the floor has ben pretty easy to clean. It gets a ton of traffic from our family and guests alike (and two little kids with always-dirty shoes/feet), and has held up really well.
Anyone else go for painted floors? Or have tips for others for how to keep white painted floors looking great? My go to white-floor-goober-remover secretly may be a baby wipe…