House

Painting Wood Floors

Since painting our upstairs floors 3 years ago, we’ve received a lot of questions along the way about how we feel about it after and how did we come to the decision to do it.

When receiving this question I always ramble on way too long and later feel really stupid about it. I received an email from one of those super popular blogger peeps about our floors, and I rambled on so long, that I am pretty sure she’s listed me under her I’d rather ask google contacts.

The reason of course, is because it wasn’t an easy decision to make. When you own an old home you want to do everything you can to improve it…but you also want to see yourself in the work you’re doing. It can be a difficult balance sometimes.

Here’s a quick rundown of how we came to the conclusion to paint our floors…

  1. Traditionally in farmhouses, the wood upstairs wasn’t meant to be refinished, it was typically a cheaper wood that ended up being painted, and that’s exactly what happened in our home. The original floors were already painted upstairs, so that made me feel confident about our decision verses painting wood floors that had never been painted before.
  2. I considered striping the paint. It wasn’t normal paint, it was almost like tar to remove. It appeared to be some kind of paint stain combo that was applied over all the floors. I purchased Soy Gel (pictures below) to remove it, and it worked, but when I thought about having to do that to all the floors upstairs and the work that would take, let alone how much of the wood would need to be replaced, because so much of it was damaged to even be able to refinish the floors…I started to reconsider painting again and just letting damage wood lie.
  3. Painting floors is a cheaper alternative than refinishing. We’ve done that too.
  4. With painted floors you don’t lose the charm of old floors the way you do with refinishing either. They are still slightly warped and the grain comes through, and the chips that form are a welcome companion to the rest of the old rooms.
  5. I have a thing with historic schoolhouses and to me, farmhouses feel a lot like those places with their simple lines and no frills structure, so painted floors enhanced that feeling for me.

When we moved in all the moldings in our house was already painted white, so even though we had to repaint them, we decided to paint all he walls/ceilings upstairs white as well. So when we decided we were going to paint our floors, we started to think about colors and because everything upstairs was already white, I wanted color!

At the time we were going to paint our floors, the only colors other people were painting their floors, that we saw everywhere in magazines and on social media, were either grey, white, or black. If you’ve followed along with our old house progress over the years, you’d know by now, that I have a serious soft spot for green.

I wanted to paint our floors green and that added even more worry for me because I kept thinking, would a farmhouse ever have painted green floors and do I have the worst taste ever? Not only that, but I couldn’t decide on which green I liked better because the light dramatically changes from one end of our house to the other, due to our trees…so I picked two shades of green, one for one side of the house and one for the other, eek! I had to convince Andrew of this decision, and that did take some convincing, but soon he was on board.

I don’t know if two shades of green appears kind of kooky to anyone, but honestly, we really like the way it looks. It breaks up what would have been a sea of one shade of color…which I think adds more character back, that new paint can modernize a bit.

At some point, I’ll be showing the before and progress of each of our rooms, but right now, I am giving a quick sample of what we did and how it turned out.

To achieve a well painted floor…

  1. We hand sanded all of the floors, filled gaps with wood filler, cleaned them and let them dry.
  2. Then we painted an undercoat to help seal the floors before applying a top coat.
  3. Then we applied the top coat, we did this twice. Let thoroughly dry between all coats, which is what takes the longest with this whole process, the drying. We didn’t apply any type of seal because that seemed too permanent for us.

I would say that our floors have held up well enough. We expected chips and even scratches (we have dogs) but would I say that the paint we used, Farrow & Ball was better than other quality floor paint…I don’t know about that. I think I expected much better results for the price tag, though luckily I was able to purchase ours locally, but if I were to do it again, I think I would shop around more.

The floors upstairs were in terrible condition. The only room with decent floors was falling apart so nobody went in there much, but at least the floors were saved…silver-lining?

Most of the rooms were black but two were a tanned reddish brown.

Soy Gel commercial!

It really did a good job stripping, except for in the cracks and edges, those spots took a lot longer.

We painted the rooms on one side  of our house a light grey green color.

3E7B5096

We painted the floors on the other side of our house a dark green. This green is harder to capture as it looks blue or even brown in pictures, but in person, it’s a lovely dark green.

You Might Also Like

2 Comments

  • Reply
    Meg | Hello Farmhouse
    August 18, 2016 at 7:48 pm

    Thank you for this post, Tiffany! I love how your floors turned out. Especially that soft green! We have crappy beige tile on top of plywood in our kitchen, so my thought was to replace the tile with an inexpensive type of wood flooring and paint it. So was this paint specifically for floors? I haven’t really looked into paint options yet, and I’m wondering if a porch paint/enamel is ok to use inside (it may be too toxic to apply indoors though). Like you, I don’t think I’d apply poly. It seems a lot easier to just touch up the paint. Plus I have the charming image in my head of the paint getting worn by feet and paws in certain high traffic spots… although that might be a lot less endearing in real life!

    • Reply
      Tiffany King
      August 19, 2016 at 1:22 am

      Thank you Megan! You really have been so sweet! The paint we used was for interior wood or concrete flooring with minimal VOC and water based, which is one of the reasons we went with it.

      Tile on top of plywood…boo…our kitchen has horrendous vinyl on top of plywood that has been nailed into the original wood flooring…not looking forward to that project, ha! So I can feel your pain…

      Well over the years with our floors, I’ll do touch-ups on spots that have really gotten worn because no, it’s not as charming if it’s one spot specific than spread throughout the room, but I don’t get too crazy about it and there are a lot of chips by this point.

      As for porch paint…I could see people doing that…but I would probably talk to someone about that, seems like that would be pretty strong odor wise, and most paints for floors will say interior or exterior…but sounds like you’re on your way to making the best decision for your kitchen. I am sure it will look gorgeous (green always does, he he) and I look forward to following along!

    Leave a Reply