Painted wood may not seem like a durable floor for a kids’ room, especially with other options on the market, but if you have wood floors that are stained and marred beyond repair and replacement is not in the budget, painting may be just what you need.
Historically, wood floors were painted to preserve the wood and make for easier cleanup. Then, carpet took top spot until recently when pre-finished hardwood returned as parents’ favorite floor of choice. Making a comeback after being sidelined for many years, painted floors have become trendy and stylish!
Kids’ rooms are fabulous backdrops for fun, artistic floors but creative design doesn’t make it durable. If you want durability in a painted wood floor, three critical steps must be properly completed. The steps are preparation, painting, and sealing.
Surface preparation is the secret to a quality finish. All dirt and residues must be removed, holes and gaps filled, and protruding nails or plugs reset before sanding. Floor should be sanded a few times (with different grades of paper) to give the surface proper “tooth” so paint will adhere. Loose debris should be vacuumed with each sanding and walls, floor, and other surfaces must be wiped down with a damp cloth to remove dust prior to painting.
Putting on Paint
The most critical part of painting a wood floor for durability is each coat must be THIN. Why? Thin coats dry harder and wear slower so for durability, thin coats of paint are a must. What type paint? While oil-based paints take longer to cure, they do last longer. Paints specially formulated for floors (especially exterior paints) have urethane added to provide a sheen and extra durability. Another option if you prefer easy cleanup is using a water-based wood paint with extra sealer added for protection.
Sealing the Floor
After paint is thoroughly dry, a polyurethane sealer can be applied to protect the paint. Just like the initial paint layers, sealer must also be applied in thin coats with plenty of drying time between coats. Oil-base paint requires oil-base sealer; water-base paint requires water-base sealer. Topping the painted design on the floor with a sealer adds the extra layer of toughness needed for kids’ rough and tumble wear.
Take a look at the completely different looks obtained with painted designs on the floor of these kids’ rooms.
Painting a wood floor with circles, checkerboards, stripes, or floral can freshen up a tired floor and add character to the room. With paint, you get the fun of easy custom colored designs enhancing your kids’ room and if properly finished, the benefits of a durable wood floor underfoot. Even better…..the kids will love it!
(See Restoring Painted Wood Floors for detailed restoration tips specifically for old houses)