How to: Paint a Wooden Floor White (Before and After)


 How to: Paint a Wooden Floor White (Before and After)




The floor in our bedroom is wood veneer.  This is a really popular choice, but it often looks cheap (well it is cheap).  And it wears really badly.  Rather than pull it all up and start again, we decided to paint it.  We’d already done the sitting room.

The most arduous part of the whole process was moving the furniture out.  In the end it took us less than an hour, but it’s a hassle!  And you have to find somewhere to put it all..



This time I decided not to get the floor professionally sanded first.  Why not?  Well, I suspected it wasn’t necessary before painting.  It might well be needed if you were going to revarnish.  Last time I paid someone else to sand the living room floor before we painted it (it’s a rare thing that I don’t do it myself).  I had heard horror stories of the weight of the sanders, of holes ground in floors through a momentary lapse in attention…  but it was very expensive to get someone else to do it.  I didn’t want to have to pay that if I didn’t have to!

So I used a hand-sander, plugged it in and went over the floor quickly with that.  You can see in the photo above.  This was then washed off with sugar soap.

 


Once the floor was prepped, I primed it.  Which brings us to the question of which paint to use.  In the UK or US you’ll have a lot more choice than here in Australia.  The first decision is whether to go oil-based or water based.  Water based paint is far less toxic, both in production and in terms of the fumes it gives off.  However, it isn’t as durable or tough as oil-based.
 
The only paint I could find that was designed for floors was oil-based.  In fact, it is a 2-pack preparation, like most floor varnishes.  This means it comes in two parts which you mix together.  You can’t buy it pre-mixed as it hardens quickly.  I also wanted a white that wouldn’t yellow over time, which this paint is.  I primed the floor first and then started painting.




I applied the paint with a roller attached to a broom handle, so it was quick and easy.  The painting itself took less than 30 minutes.  I always hate the prep work – it takes so long and you see nothing for it.  Actually painting is FUN!
It needed a day between coats (without cats adding their paw prints).



The paint I used is high gloss – and I chose it because a high gloss floor can make your ceilings look higher.  Yes really!  The reflections in the glossy surface trick your eye into seeing depth and therefore believing the distance between ceiling and floor is greater.  You can do the same by painting your ceiling in gloss, although I am yet to try this…

Here is the floor before:



And here it is painted white:



It’s amazing how much it upgrades the room.  Immediately the space look more chic, more clean and somehow more classic.

We’re not at the end yet though.  They recommend leaving the paint for a week before using the rooms again.  While the floor is dry – it is still ‘maturing’ and giving off the VOCs that are now getting bad press.  I was absolutely ITCHING to get back in there.  I wanted to make it look beautiful and sleep in my bed (which was dismantled in the garage) straight away.



The difference changing your floor makes is huge. Light bounces off this surface and a new colour or texture will alter the illumination of the room.  A white gloss floor has a similar effect on the light quality to newly fallen snow (for those of you in the northern hemisphere).  There is a crystalline purity to it, which I adore.



Here is the view beside the bed before and after.  I decided not to put the rug down as it’s summer here and the white boards feel airy and cool.  The rug can go back down for the milder months in May.


 
Similarly you can see beside the window: 




and after



The whole room looks cleaner, brighter and timeless.  I’m just thrilled with the results.




It looks beautiful by lamplight as well as in the sunshine.   As for showing the dirt – white floors are far more forgiving than black, where all the hairs and dust show up immediately.



Back at last in my lovely bed.  Although I could hardly bear to close my eyes as the light from the full moon crept from behind the blinds and stole across the snow white floor.
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