Painted hardwood floors

cearbhaillNovember 23, 2012

It may be the ultimate in decorator blasphemy- to hear some talk it will deface your home beyond redemption and utterly ruin all chance of resale ever.

Everyone who heard my plan gasped in horror. I have apparently managed to offend 99% of all the decorating gods and gurus in one fell swoop- all this by one small decorating decision?

What could I have done to provoke such extreme reactions?

I only painted my hardwood flooring- yes, my quartersawn oak hardwood floors have been painted.

I love it.

I am so happy I decided to do it- I had been dragging my feet on flooring decisions because I couldn't decide what I wanted to do.

I couldn't afford to pay for (or handle the logistics of- we have many pets, none of whom will I board) a complete refinish, so since moving here in '07 had simply limped along living with the worn flooring and its original 1955 orange finish.

I noticed that my kitchen wood porch floor paint was holding up remarkably well- three years old and there was not a worn spot or chip on the entire porch, even the steps.

So I decided to use the very same paint on my interior hardwood- Sherwin Williams latex porch and floor paint.

I rented a sander, sanded my living room, dining room, and hallway in preparation for the paint.

All the quarter round was missing from an ages ago carpet installation before my time, so I bought some and learned how to install it.

I had been toying with the idea of painting my natural trim white for several years, so this seemed a good time to do that as well. And finally, the green wall color in the rooms had never 100% suited me so I decided to repaint the walls as well and do one big makeover.

Well, as big a makeover as one can get without replacing any of the furnishings and decor :)

I had to work in stages- I could not remove furniture from the rooms and I have many pets. To complicate things, ours is a one bathroom home and that bathroom is off the hallway to be painted, so choosing when to have a freshly painted hallway was dicey.

So I did it in stages- after the floor was sanded and prepped (and walls and trim painted) I piled all the furniture in the middle of each room and painted a one foot perimeter around the floor everywhere, let it dry, and did a second coat. Once that was dry enough I installed the quarter round and touched up the previously painted trim so at that point everything else that needed to be painted could be done with a roller. When all the quarter round was done I painted all of each room that I could get to with the furniture stacked. Let it dry, did a second coat.

Then (finally) I put all of the furniture back into it's final place and painted the remaining bare center portion of each room. Each coat/step required almost a week of drying as I wanted it to cure as quickly as possible and I had Thanksgiving dinner to be ready for! I only began this project the beginning of October, so no time to waste!

It HAD to all be walkable by 11/22.

Once I had the last coat down and it was sock foot walkable I put paper down for our heavy traffic paths and we walked on that for days and days.

It sat drying like this for two and a half weeks.

It is still a bit tacky- I remember my porch taking a full month to cure fully and knew this would be the same way.

It is beautiful.

I will use no poly- if I have any issues anywhere I can sand and repaint in no time.

I LOVE it.

I am so over the prevalence of hardwood (and granite and stainless steel...) that I felt almost compelled to do this.

And as nice as it will be to see it hold up really well a little bit of wear would not upset me. I do not really do "country" or "cottage" decor (I have no style, LOL), but a worn painted wood floor makes me feel homey and I look forward to watching this floor treatment wear over the years.

Here it is!!

Here's a before with the older wall color (may not look different but it is darker now), 60 year old orange hardwood, and stained trim.

And just for sh!ts and giggles here's a photo of what it looked like when we moved in...

For the curious I will add a link to more before and afters below.

I LOVE it.

I am so over the prevalence of hardwood (and granite and stainless steel...) that I felt almost compelled to do this (yeah, I'm a contrarian).

And as nice as it will be to see it hold up really well a little bit of wear would not upset me. I do not really do "country" or "cottage" decor (I have no style, LOL), but a worn painted wood floor makes me feel homey and I look forward to watching this floor treatment wear over the years.

Comment at will but know that I have no regrets!

All paint is Sherwin Williams.

Floor paint is 6173 Cocoon Porch & Floor Enamel

Walls are 6164 Svelte Sage Cashmere

Trim is 6119 Antique White ProClassic Acrylic latex

Here is a link that might be useful: Cearbhaill's house

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Thanks for the post. I had posted a question recently about painting hardwood floors. My living room floor is in BAD shape-PO's had put in carpeting and when I pulled it out-discovered why. Pet stains and other issues. I am in no way ready to refinish that floor and worry that it might not be sandable-meaning replacement, which is out of the question for the next 10 years (ha!), so I am considering painting it.

We have HW thruout the rest of the house, which is in good shape-to a purist, they'd pull it out and redo it, but for the price point of our house, it's perfectly acceptable. So you have now convinced me that painting that floor is fine. It'll be just the one room, and we seldom use it, so curing it out won't be a problem.

I just wonder, however, the photos you posted seem to show a very heavy cover. Do you see the woodgrain IRL? And the porch paint used (brilliant idea) is it tintable? Finally, is there a specific temp you should consider? The front room is really not heated, so the room would be pretty cold. I could put in a heater to bring it up if needed I suppose.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2012 at 12:56PM
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I am also painting my hardwood floors. I live in old farmhouse that has a mixture of Pumpkin pine that is 24 inch wide boards and oak hardwood. We are keeping the pumpkin pine in there natural state and painting the oak. We choose a green Martha Stewart paint and had them formulate it in floor paint.We are very pleased

    Bookmark   November 23, 2012 at 3:35PM
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I painted mine 8 years ago and have to redo them every few years . Each time I gripe and moan and groan about the work but I keep redoing it because I love the look so I guess you pick your deamons;) I only get two years out of mine but I have three dogs a cat and two kids running around on them.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2012 at 3:58PM
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Ouch. Back in the seventies the old fashioned hardwood was covered up with WTW carpeting. Relatively easy to undo. Painted hardwood not so easy get back to real. Ouch.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2012 at 6:41PM
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Glad you are happy with it. Reality is, it will be a major issue when you need to sell the house in the future. Based on all the work you did, you could probably have refinished it yourself for the same amount of time/effort.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2012 at 2:05AM
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Congratulations on your success. I do think all the work you did you could have re-stained them instead of painting, same process, clear the room, sand, stain, poly but you obviously were determined so good for you. I have always said as everyone rushes to all wood floors--there was a reason WTW carpeting was invented. If it is true about all those willing to rip out, re-do, put in the latest decorating fad I wouldn't be overly concerned with re-sale. A potential buyer will do what they want once they move in! I am reminded by a Sarah Richardson episode where she painted brand new wood floors. It is your house, you are happy with the results I am happy for you.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2012 at 6:33AM
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I wouldn't ever be able to paint wood floors, but yours look wonderful. The color really adds to your rooms and achieved what you set out to do. Looks like a lot of work, but you were rewarded with a warm and homey space.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2012 at 7:07AM
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It is true that at some point, a hardwood floor is near its last sanding. So by scuffing and painting you may have prolonged their useful life. Had you looked at oiled or waxed finishes, as opposed to poly? I am truly curious about that. We considered it but went with oil based poly in semi-gloss when we redid the upstairs. I have heard the oil/wax based finishes are easier to maintain or fix scratches. But I've only heard that from people who want the sell the stuff, I don't know anyone who has used them.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2012 at 8:12AM
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"Reality is, it will be a major issue when you need to sell the house in the future."

Fact is, this is the smallest house on the biggest lot in a very desirable neighborhood. Houses similar to mine that sell are typically gutted and redone by folks wanting a larger fancier house in this school district. It would be next to impossible to over improve- the neighborhood can support a home worth five times what mine is.
So chances are anyone who bought the house would be doing a very major reno anyway. In other words my lot and location are the value of my property, not the dwelling itself.

But I have no plans to ever sell so there is that.
We bought this home specifically to retire in and the only way I am leaving is feet first :)
I have done several highly customized things like kitty access doors through walls and other things no one else would want.
This is just one more :)

    Bookmark   November 24, 2012 at 8:37AM
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Nice to see this. You did a great job and it was good to know the blow by blow. It makes a big job seem more doable.
Our floors in the main rooms on the first floor are near the end of their sandable life, but new ones is not how I would choose to spend my money. Our town is becoming more and more upscale, so there is probably no way a new (presumbably wealthier) owner would keep the beat up old 100 yo floors anyway. I love the feeling of a wood floor on bare feet, and dislike carpet. I am thinking of painting the wood floor in the kitchen which is the most beat up and probably least savable. The problem is either my dh has to agree, or go away long enough for me to do it as a surprise!
thanks again for showing.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2012 at 8:38AM
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Looks great. I recently painted my stairs (BM Rockport Gray). They are holding up well. I couldn't make a decision for the longest time after I pulled up the carpeting. I thought I would stain it but after reading a lot, I decided that the historically accurate thing to do (for an 1875ish home) was paint. I've attached a link.

Here is a link that might be useful: gray stairs

    Bookmark   November 24, 2012 at 9:14AM
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