How To Paint Floorboards White with Rust-Oleum

How to paint floorboards white

In our new house I want 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 wooden 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 go about it so I thought I would share all that with you here in case you want to recreate the look.

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.


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 here). 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!).

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.


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.


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 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.

rustoleum floor paint

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.

painted white floorboards

chalk paint floorboards

Keep an eye out on the blog for the finished room tours when rest of the decorating is done! I’m also going to be sharing some posts about upcycling furniture with chalk paint

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How to paint floorboards 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!



  1. March 22, 2016 / 8:15 pm

    WOW!! Genuinely impressed with the finish here. I’d never have expected it to cover that SO well!

  2. March 22, 2016 / 8:38 pm

    I love floorboards, I never Knew you could buy this paint, will have to try to persuade my husband to have floorboards now x

  3. March 22, 2016 / 8:44 pm

    That floor looks amazing! A good job done x

  4. March 22, 2016 / 9:11 pm

    Ohhh they looks absolutely amazing – we don’t have floorboards here but if we did I would be so tempted to do this. x

  5. March 22, 2016 / 9:14 pm

    White floorboards look lovely, but I would never keep them looking white. You’ve done a great job with these x

  6. March 22, 2016 / 9:44 pm

    This looks amazing. It definitely brightens up the room. I’d definitely go with white paint or a bright pastel color too.

  7. March 22, 2016 / 11:42 pm

    This looks great! You have a LOT more patience than me though-I’d just want to get on with the painting!

  8. March 23, 2016 / 10:44 am

    They look great!
    We are going to be doing some DIY soon and thinking about this, so I will bookmark it for then 🙂

  9. March 23, 2016 / 1:27 pm

    Looks like you did a great job! Hope the floors manage to stay that white 😉

  10. nicol
    March 23, 2016 / 2:38 pm

    i love the outcome of this! i want my floors to be white now

  11. March 23, 2016 / 8:13 pm

    Wow, it looks amazing, that’s so clever you did it yourself. I think we tried to sand our floors once and really messed them up lol. x

  12. March 24, 2016 / 11:46 am

    They look absolutely fantastic, a great transformation! You are so lucky to have the original floorboards to work with and the elbow grease and hard work has really paid off,

    #MakingHome linky

  13. March 25, 2016 / 6:09 pm

    oh wow what a great alternative I may have to try this at some point

  14. Ally
    October 6, 2016 / 2:14 pm

    Hi we are thinking of doing exactly the same in our Victorian terrace
    We have one dog and a little boy
    I’m wondering how the floors have held up
    Ally xxxx

    • October 6, 2016 / 10:35 pm

      Hi, we’re a few months down the road and they are still looking great. I wash them in weak bleach solution every once in a while to keep them white. Other marks come off with a magic sponge. I imagine they might need a re-coat every few years though. My little boy has taken to throwing hard toys out of his cot which has caused a few nicks in the floor where they have landed so I’m going to put a rug there to soften the blow until he grows out of it!

  15. Amie
    January 21, 2018 / 1:17 pm

    HEy, how long did you leave the polycell to dry and inbetween paint coats? Little concerned about dust forming..

    • January 21, 2018 / 6:58 pm

      We left it for the bare minimum dry time it said on the tin. If you were leaving it a while between coats I’d give it a wipe over first.

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