Painted white floorboards are on trend in current home decor styles. They look stunning and the effect is quite easy to achieve with the right floorboard paint. This post details exactly how we went about painting wooden floors including the best white floor paint to use and how to prepare wooden floorboards for painting white.
Disclosure - I was gifted some Rust-Oleum paint for the purposes of this post. All opinions are honest and my own. This post also contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these links there is no extra charge to you but I will make some extra pennies!
Why you should paint floorboards white
In our new house I want hardwood floors that are easy to clean and maintain and look nice and bright which is why I wanted to paint the floorboards white. I think painted floors are easy to clean and perfect for children and as we had original victorian floorboards underneath the carpet in our new house I thought I would go about restoring them and painting them white.
I spent a lot of time researching how best to paint a wood floor so I thought I would share all that with you here in case you want to recreate the painted floorboards look.
Fix the original floorboards
When we started off some of the floorboards were loose and had large splintered chunks out of them. There were also lots of nails and staples sticking out from where the carpet had been laid before. So the first job was to pull out all the staples, hammer in the nails and fix down any loose floorboards. We used a pair of pliers, a hammer and an electric screwdriver to fix down the loose boards. We had a couple of areas that needed new sections of floorboard so we bought some new and cut it to size and screwed it into the supporting batons. We weren't bothered by any joining lines as we weren't going for a 'perfect' look.
We used some wood filler to fill in any largish holes and gaps in the floor and to smooth over the large splintered areas.
Sand the floorboards
The next job was to sand down the floors. As we knew that we wanted to paint them white we didn't need to sand them down completely, just enough to give them a smooth finish. We used a small electric hand sander which did the job perfectly (similar belt sander). It made quite a mess so I'd recommend sealing the doors and removing everything from the room before you start (and wear a mask and goggles!). I would recommend starting with a more coarse grit sandpaper and then moving to a finer sandpaper to smooth the floorboards down afterwards.
Wash the floor
Once the floor was smooth it was time to wash it down before painting. I used sugar soap and a firm scrubbing brush, making sure the edges of the floor and between the floorboards was really clean. Once the floor dried and had a final hoover it was time to paint. For best results and to ensure the paint is properly dry, leave to dry overnight.
Use a stain block and primer
Because we hadn't sanded the floor back to it's original colour there remained large areas of black colour from when it was stained many years ago which we needed to cover. I was also concerned that some of the tannins in the wood would show through the white paint so we painstakingly painted a coat of Polycell stain block on first to prevent any of the colour showing through. It is really difficult to paint with (it goes on like glue) but was well worth it as it meant that the black colour was all hidden and we didn't need to worry about the tannins in the wood bleeding through.
Paint the floor white
Once this first coat was done, painting was much easier. We painted one coat of simple primer and undercoat and then two top coats of Rust-Oleum chalky finish floor paint in Chalk White. This is the best paint for floorboards that I have found, although I wouldn't immediately have thought to use chalk paint on floors. This paint appealed to me as it is a flat matt white which is hardwearing. It is the sort of paint you can apply on top of other paints too which meant it gave a really nice finish. It also means if you have a floor that needs less preparation than ours it could give you a really quick makeover.
Leave it to dry and harden
Once the two final coats were finished we gave it 24 hours to dry and a further week to harden before we put too much furniture back in the room.
I am so so happy with the finish we have achieved. It was much cheaper than having the floor professionally sanded (or even hiring a sander ourselves). And obviously it was cheaper than having new carpet or laminate fitted. I love that the floor will be easy to clean and it really brightens up the room.
How to maintain painted wooden floors
Our painted wooden floors are in well used rooms - the playroom and the children's bedrooms. I have found that the white chalk paint stands up to use really well. It barely chips and is easy to hoover and mop. To keep the floor looking white every few months I mop it with a diluted bleach solution. Every year or two when it needs it I do a top up coat of the white floor chalk paint. It is really quick and easy to do a simple coat all over the room and really refreshes it nicely. I'm sure that with steady but minimal maintenance these floors will definitely outlast carpet.
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