When I first researched painted floors, I was curious to know what people thought of their floors a year or so down the road. I didn't see much on that at all. This post should help fill that gap.
I painted the plywood subfloor of our new house, upstairs and down, except for two tiled bathrooms. Here are my thoughts after almost a year and a half of living with them.
Would I recommend painted sub-floors? YES. Absolutely. No hesitation.
Would I do anything differently? YES. Absolutely. No hesitation.
The floors have held up very well. My husband and I are still impressed with how durable they have been.
In a couple of spots a bit of color bled through the primer. During the building phase, workers made marks and wrote notes in places with a Sharpie marker. I used Kilz primer over the entire surface and that did the trick for almost all of the marks. I would recommend putting an extra coat of primer over any stains, just to be safe.
This is the only prominent bleed through.
Luckily, it's in the upstairs bathroom behind the pedestal sink.
Luckily, it's in the upstairs bathroom behind the pedestal sink.
There are just a few areas with hairline cracks. The areas are where there were extra large spaces between boards. I had to put in tons of wood filler. I can't believe those spots have done as well as they have. The cracks are barely noticeable and I could easily repair them if I had a mind to - which I don't. They don't bother me and I have better things to do.
Update on the cracks: Creative Kristi commented: I found using paintable caulk instead of wood filler prevents a lot of cracks because it 'moves' with the floor...if that makes sense? My parents still have the floor I painted in checkerboard pattern about 15 years ago in my bedroom at their house. It has held up way better then I thought it would! Dogs, cats, me as a teenager lol I've done two rooms in my house too!
What a great idea! Since we are leaning towards continuing to lie with our painted floors a while longer, I may try this with a few of the cracks. Kristi, thank you so much for sharing this tip!
Normal wear and tear has not affected the floors at all. We have probably heaped more abuse on our floors than a typical family would. We have dogs and cats. We don't have a paved drive so we track in all sorts of debris. I don't sweep or vacuum as often as I should so dirt gets ground in. We drop things. Heavy dog bones bounce across the floor on a regular basis. We've moved a lot of furniture around. I made a couple of scratches here and there when I pulled something heavy across the floor. I know of no floor that wouldn't have shown some signs of that kind of abuse. It's easy to be nonchalant since this is just a temporary floor.
So what would I do differently? The things that bug me have to do with color and design.
My absolute favorite floors are the ones I sprinkled with Deco-Flakes. They look clean even when they are far from it! And they were soooo easy to add. I was a little put off by the price and nearly didn't get them. One jar was around $30. Well, that was the best $30 I spent! I still have some left and have been thinking about sprinkling them on our entry room and adding another coat of urethane.
The entry room was done in black and cream squares with a black border all around. It was really pretty. The black areas are great - I made a subtle cross hatch pattern in them. That was a good decision - dirt doesn't show up much there. The cream is solid. What in the world was I thinking? Big mistake. This is our most used entry. If I go to the trouble to add the decoflakes, I might also use a tinted urethane to give those cream squares more of a glazed/antiqued look.
Another mistake - my painted rugs. I loathe the one in the office. Yes, it looks sort of real. It fools the eye. I get compliments on it. But it's reeeeeeeally ugly. The one in the guest room is more subtle and not as ugly, but I wish it wasn't there. I like using real rugs and now it will only look right when I get a rug large enough to completely cover the painted one. The painted rugs limit my decorating freedom. I don't recommend them.
As for my wood-plank-look floors... they are fine, but I'm not real keen on my color choice. I was trying to make them look like the fabulous tile I was planning to use eventually throughout the house. That color has been really irritating while decorating. I now have a great appreciation for the varying tones of beige's and tans and how some look absolutely awful when anywhere near other shades of tan. I wish I had gone for a darker wood look. It would have been fabulous.
Another recommendation - use rugs. Real ones. Not because the floors need protection. Rugs help with sound quality. When we first moved in we didn't use any rugs. Upkeep was a breeze but sounds really carried around our house. Now that we have rugs (and curtains) it's much better. The rugs don't need to cover the whole floor.
Click here to see
the basic steps
for painting sub-floors.
Where did I get my inspiration?
Before anyone gets the idea that I'm terribly clever, let me set the record straight. I was primarily influenced by two fabulous bloggers.
My first inspiration was Susan at The T-Cozy. I saw her studio and nearly swooned. I immediately knew that I wanted a similar color scheme in my loft. The colors are not the same, but fairly close. When I realized her floors were painted, my life was changed. That's a tad dramatic, but it really was an answer to a prayer. Her blog is full of ideas. I've been visiting it for so long, that I almost feel like we're related.
Update, Mar 24th - Susan has a new post about her floors. She's had them for two years now and still loves them! I thought I knew everything about her floors, but was wrong. I never realized that her floors were part of the design in her blog header. That's so perfect!
Kim at Twice Remembered was another blogger who really inspired me. I found her blog when I started searching for information about painted floors. She's a pro at painting floors. In fact, I don't think there's anything she can't do. The first post I read was about her daughter's room. Thanks to her I learned how to tape the squares. That's not all I've learned from her blog. I could go on and on. She's such an inspiration. Here's another post where she gives some details about the process.
Here are some more posts on painted floors:
Old House Web
Ask the Builder
Home DZine - Faux Woodgraining
Our painted sub-floors are intended to be a temporary solution. We have just recently started discussing replacing them. Right now, we are leaning towards cork floors. I think we're going to hold off for awhile. Our painted floors are fine and they certainly give us the luxury of being able to postpone spending a huge chuck of money!