Not just for pretty porches and coastal cottages, painted floors are taking over home interiors. Images of quaint, rustic country homes or sprawling Southern porches may come to mind when you think of painted floors, and for fans of classic design, the trend is nothing new. But the latest looks prove painted floors are for every style and space, and modern applications have put a fresh (and functional) spin on the approach.
The trend is also a budget solution.
"A painted wood floor is an excellent option for someone who has a space that has either an existing wood floor they don't like or no floor and are looking for an affordable, customized option," says Kelly DeWitt, the founder of Texas-based design-build firm KKDW Construction.
Painting the floors allows homeowners to use less expensive flooring materials, such as off-the-shelf plywood cut to any plank dimension they desire. Concrete is also a popular material for painting. Mike Mundwiller, end user product experience manager for Benjamin Moore, advises that laminate flooring materials can be challenging to paint simply because they can have a glossy finish that may be difficult to sand to the necessary dull finish before coating.
One of few downsides to a painted wood floor is the upkeep. "Painted wood floors show signs of wear more quickly than a traditional floor finish," Dewitt says. "But the reasons to go with a painted wood floor might make up for that in the right home — it's easier and cheaper to touch up and is a fully DIY-able process".
How to DIY a painted floor
First, you'll need to start with proper prep work. Once you've removed all rugs and furniture, here's what you do.
"If your wood floor has previously been painted or stained with a glossy finish coating, you'll need to sand it. Using medium-grit sandpaper (120- to 150-grit) and a sanding sponge, lightly sand the wood floor to dull the surface before painting," Mundwiller advises. "Clean the entire floor by vacuuming debris and mopping the space. Use a damp rag with warm soapy water in a bucket to remove any difficult spots. Thoroughly rinse the floor with fresh water. Allow the floor to dry overnight. Finally, tape off any molding or baseboards."
The product you use will depend on your flooring material, but many options, such as latex floor enamel, are versatile for indoor and outdoor use, whether on wood or concrete. Whatever you use, to get the most out of floor painting, be sure to follow instructions and not skip any step of the process.
It's crucial to read all primer and paint instructions carefully, noting dry times (how long to wait before applying a new coat) and cure times (how long to wait before you can return your wood floor to everyday use).
And try to not overapply product, as eager as you may be, as that could significantly delay the floor's ability to dry quickly and properly.
Once that's done, all that's left to do is admire and maintain. As for upkeep, keep your wood floor swept and free of debris, which could scratch the painted surface. A few strategically placed rugs in high-traffic areas can also extend the life of the floor so you can enjoy your masterpiece for years to come.