Painting wooden floors is a great way of bringing new life into a room. It is also a great way of bringing more light into a room. Painting white or a light colour on a wooden floor in a room really brightens up the place. You would seldom, if ever, have a white carpet for obvious reasons, but white painted floorboards are very serviceable and a practical way of bringing light into a dull room. And one would think that white painted floorboards would show up dust and dirt but the fact of the matter is that light colours will show up far less than dark colours. Brightening up a room in your home can be as simple as painting your wooden floor a light colour. Using a few rugs to keep it cosy and to protect the high traffic areas and you’re done.
The very best of primers that sticks to every surface is Zinssers Bin Shellac-based primer. It has a relatively low odour and dries extremely quickly. Farrow and Ball floor paint is a good option and has a lower odour, also Sherwin-Williams floor enamel paint is very good, and also has a lower odour and is fast drying. These are hard-wearing paints for floors that stand up to foot traffic and pet traffic very well. One might argue that oil-based enamel paints are more hard-wearing, but as with water-based paint for woodwork, the technology that goes into making these paints is getting better all the time, and they are more eco-friendly, both in relation to the application and tidy up. Other products worth considering are Ronseal water-based floor paints, and Douglas water and oil floor paints.
Step 1: If there is a product on the floor already such as a varnish or old paint, it is important to key the surface by sanding it down before painting. For best results strip the floor entirely using a heavy sandpaper with a floor sanding machine, then work your way up to lighter grades of sandpaper till the floor is smooth. Vacuum up all dust and wipe the floor with a damp mop.
Step 2: Now that the floor has been stripped and is dust free it is important to treat the knots in the wood with knotting solution, much the same as when you paint any new woodwork (see my blog on painting new woodwork). This process stops the sap in the knots from coming through the woodwork and it also prevents brown stains from the knots coming through the paintwork.
Step 3: The next step is to prime the floor. First, cut in the floor around the skirting board with a brush. Next, with a fine pile roller, roll the primer onto the floor. A smooth even coat that is not too thick is best to ensure the primer will dry evenly, and remember to roll whilst backing up towards the door as you don’t want to paint yourself into a corner! The shellac primer mentioned above does not wash out of brushes or rollers so please dispose of these responsibly. It is best to use a cheaper brush for this, but not too cheap or you will spend your time picking bristles out of your primer.
Step 4: When the primer is dry, repeat the process using floor paint.
Step 5: Once the floor has been painted with at least two coats (allowing 24 hours between coats). The floor must be left to dry and to cure for a few days before moving your furniture back into the room. And behold you have a beautiful bright room to enjoy! I should mention at this stage that once you have the floor-painting bug there is really no limit to where you can go with the types of finishes and effects you can get, from using stencils to arty paint to stressed effects and more.