Can Wooden Floors Be Painted?
For best results from painted wooden floors, select an oil based or latex based enamel wood floor paint (acrylic paint is not suitable). While traditional oil based paint is generally longer lasting, latex-based paint is easier to apply and maintain. Paint containing polyurethane benefits from both increased durability and does not require a separate gloss.
Painting Wooden Floors – Which Paint Should I Choose?
Both oil based and latex based enamel wood floor paint deliver a quality finish. In terms of lifespan, oil based paint offers an increased resistance to scratching and fading (even under heavy foot traffic). However, each coat of oil based paint could require several days to dry, meaning greater installation considerations. There is also the issue of ventilation during installation due to oil based emissions.
Conversely, each coat of latex based enamel wood floor paint should dry within two hours, meaning three coats can be achieved in a single day. There are also minimal considerations regarding fumes.
How Much Paint Do I Need To Paint My Wooden Floor?
As a guide, plan for 1.6 litres to cover an area measuring 4x4m. However, results may vary with different types of paint. Oil based paints, for example, are much thicker than latex based paints. Depending on the method of application (and depending on the thickness of the coat), more or less paint may be required. Remember – thicker coats may mean fewer coats, but maintaining the consistency of the coat is difficult.
Preparation – A Note On Primers And Sealers
A wooden floor must be sealed before painting. This means applying a coat of primer or sealer to the exposed wood (see section ‘Do I Need To Sand My Wood Floor’). Wood is a porous material that will ‘drink’ paint if applied directly, creating an uneven finish. Primers and sealers are available in spray can or paint-on formats and provide a suitable non-porous layer ideal for painting.
Primers vs Sealers – What’s the difference? … For use with wood floors, there is little difference between a primer and a sealer. In a wider context, primers provide consumers with the added function of use with metals. It should also be noted that some paints do not require a primer or a sealer – always consult the product information or seek professional advice if you are unsure.
Do I Need To Sand My Wooden Floor Before Painting?
Scuffs in an existing wood floor will stand out if painted. This can create a rustic and worn-in look that may be desirable when matching the painted wood floor to certain types of décor. However, where a new look floor is desired, the most common approach is to remove the existing finish and apply a primer before painting. For the best results, remove all beading and edging where possible.
How to sand a wooden floor:
- Plan to sand a wood floor up to three times in order to achieve an even surface
- Begin with 30-40 grit sandpaper and switch to 50-60 grit and 80-100 grit until smooth
- Remove the existing finish using a random orbital sander (this will minimise ‘trenching’)
- With hardwood floors, small hand held sanders may be an ineffective choice of tool regarding ‘detail sanding’ (edges and corners) – instead select a powerful geared orbital sander or resort to widely available hand scraper style edging tools
- Remove all debris using a vacuum and a brush – this will reduce any potential issues with bobbling when priming and painting
TIP: Avoid selecting power sanders with a large sanding pad (typically these larger machines have ‘square’ bases) for use in home wood floor sanding projects. The larger surface area will spread the weight of the pressure applied, meaning that the machine is unlikely to penetrate to the depths of the deepest scuffs. Also be aware that ‘sappy’ woods may clog the sandpaper.
How Do I Paint My Wooden Floor?
Once a wood floor is sanded, cleaned and primed, wood floor paint may be applied. Rollers, pads, and brushes may be used, but If using a brush, ensure to remove any loose bristles. Apply the paint in all directions at first – although sanding and priming should remove any uneven surfaces, applying paint in all directions ensures a full coverage. Before the coat is dry, smooth the paint in the direction of the grain.
Each surface will require at least two coats (allow the recommended drying time between coats). Sand with a light grit in between coats to add extra smoothness to the finish. Most paints do not require a final layer of gloss. However, if you have selected a matte paint, bright satin glosses and the less reflective semi-glosses are available.