Tips for creating beautiful painted wood floors
For painted wood floors, first clean and isolate the area to be painted. The last thing you want is for the family pet to wander through the area.
Next scuff the existing floor. This is very important and serves two purposes. First, it dulls the sheen of the floor, which facilitates the adhesion or bonding of the paint you’ll apply. And second, the scuff sand removes any cosmetic imperfections and smooths the floor surface.
It is not necessary to use an upright floor sander or screener, although those machines are definitely the most efficient way to prep a large floor for painting. A simple and effective way to scuff sand a floor is to simply put 100 grit sandpaper on a pole sander and make multiple passes applying light but even pressure.
This will raise a slight haze of dust, which you then suck up with the floor attachment on a shop vac. At this point, clean the floor to remove any dust and debris. Now you’re ready to paint.
For perfect painted wood floors
The best paint to use on interior wood floors is a good-quality porch/floor enamel. These paints are available in waterborne formulations that are very easy to apply. Waterborne enamels are lower odor than oils and tend to dry faster. In many cases, these types of products can be used without a primer, which saves time getting the job done.
After selecting the paint, be sure to test a small section of the floor by first lightly sanding the area and then applying a sample of the paint to be used. This is the easiest way to confirm product compatibility between the existing floor finish and the new product that you plan to apply.
To apply the paint, you’ll need a ⅜-inch nap roller, a large (4 to 6 inch) brush and a smaller (2½ inch) cutting brush. With this setup, you have the option of rolling on the main area of the floor. Sometimes, rolled surfaces will have roller “stipple,” which is undesirable. To avoid this, use the larger brush to “back brush” the paint that you roll out, so that the resulting finish has a brushed look instead of roller texture.
It is important to use blue painters tape to mask off the bottom edges of the baseboard so that you can apply the first coat liberally, creating a solid base coat. Follow the recommendations on the paint can to allow adequate drying time, and then do another light scuff of the floor to prepare for the second coat of paint.
For each round of scuff sanding use a successively higher grit, just making sure to never make too big of a jump in grit − 100 to 150 or 180 is my preference.
Either vacuum or wipe the surface with a tack cloth before applying the second coat. Apply the second coat as you did the first. However, you may find that it doesn’t take as much product the second time and so the applications should go a bit faster.
Depending on your customer’s requests and budget, you can call the floor finished if the second coat coverage is adequate. Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for cure time before exposing the floor to traffic.
If your customer wants a more durable finish, you can scuff the second coat and apply a coat or two of clear sealer for added sheen and protection. This is a good way to treat high traffic areas.
These initial coats can also serve as the base for a custom design. For example, you can use painters tape to lay out a checkerboard style grid, and even bring in a faux finisher to “marbleize” and glaze the pattern. If your customer opts for a custom design, be sure to apply protective clear coats on top.
Pricing the job
Unless you’re working on a time and materials basis, you’ll want to provide your customer an estimate. Start by measuring the square footage of the floor to be finished.
Use this info to calculate the number of gallons of paint you’ll need. Usually, the paint label will state the spread rate of the product in square footage. If one gallon covers 300 square feet, and there is 400 square feet of floor space, you’ll likely need 3 gallons to complete the job.
Next, estimate the prep and application times for each coat, and apply your hourly rate to arrive at your labor total. Add overhead and relevant markups to your labor and materials to arrive at the project total, and be sure to clearly define the scope of work, particularly regarding the number of coats.
–By Chris Haught, BloggingPainters.com, RC Painting, Cedar City, Utah