Tuesday, September 11, 2012

More Painted Floors

A couple of months ago I read a blog where a woman painted the subfloors of their family home addition.  I was fascinated.  I tucked that away in my mind for possible future use.

Originally we were going to carpet our bedroom and tile the mudroom and hallway.  But do you have any idea how much tile costs?  Let’s just say that as we compared flooring options with our budget, we realized that we needed a Plan B.  And so, those painted floors I had admired on a blog became our new Plan B!

Here is a look at the panels of subfloor before we laid them down.  Glenn picked out the highest grade subfloor- which was something like $14 per panel.  An amazing deal. 


He, and his helpers, cut the panels and stapled them down over our chipped wood sub-subfloor.  The panels were conveniently marked with little x’s which marked the spot for the staples.  Easy peasy nice and cheesy, as Olivia is fond of saying.


Not every x needed a staple, we did about every other row and every other staple for the most part, other than the seams, which needed pretty much every point near an x stapled to ensure stability.



Once Glenn finished the boards, it was my turn.  Using wood filler and a small blade, I dabbed/smeared little smudges of the filler into the seams and staple indentations.


Next I firmly scraped the excess filler, then pressed the excess into another seam, scraped it again, and so on.  I have to say that the practice I’ve just had with mudding the walls was extremely helpful at this point!

Here is the same seam after I scraped away the excess.


It’s definitely important to wipe away as much excess as possible at this point, without exposing too much of the seam, otherwise you are going to work harder to sand it away once it dries.

The directions say that the wood filler takes 15 minutes to dry and you can paint it 2 hours later.   A couple of helpful hints I learned are thus:  take just a small amount – like a dollop or a scoop of cookie dough – of the filler at a time to fill the seams.  Otherwise, what with all the scraping away, it will start to dry out and get more like stiff putty minute by minute.  Then it just kind of crumbles and doesn’t fill the seam as neatly.

Also – you’ll want to keep setting the lid back on the filler container.  It will begin to dry out quickly while you’re working and then it’s just not very usable.  Don’t want to waste it!

And then equally important is to keep your blade squeaky clean in between dollops of filler.  I had a dry rag nearby that I would just wipe clean the blade with before getting another scoop of the filler each time.  If you don’t do this – the residue is going to dry on the blade, and then crumble off into your new creamy filler.  Much harder to get smooth seams if that happens!

After the seams and staple indents are dry, take a sanding wedge and sand them smooth.  It’s fast and easy – although you might need to switch arms occasionally.


Of course if you want to use an orbital hand sander you can, however I chose not to because I didn’t have excessive excess (!), so the wedge worked great.  Plus, I had just painted the walls and I knew if I used the orbital sander, it would kick up dust all over them and I would have to wipe them down again.  Didn’t want to do that!

After sanding the floors, the next step is to vacuum away all the dust and little chunks of dried filler.  I used our shop-vac, which worked great.  Then I wiped away any leftover dust with a slightly damp rag.  Now I was ready to prime!  I used a regular size paint roller brush, which enabled me to get right up to the edges, but still go pretty quickly.


It goes without saying that I used the Zinsser Primer 1-2-3 again!  Great stuff!  In fact, another handy thing to know is that in the paint department at Menards, there is an “oops” section of paint that they sell at rock-bottom prices.  It’s not a big selection and it’s tucked away into the corner of the paint department, but I always check it.  Lo and behold!  One night last week I found an entire can of Zinsser Primer 1-2-3 for $5!  It said “busted lid” on the top of the can, but I could see that the paint that had seeped out had dried and formed a seal on the lid.  I lifted it.  It felt pretty full.  For $5 it was worth the risk to see how much primer was usable.  I opened the lid at home and it was a full can of primer!  In perfect condition and ready to use! 

After the primer dries, it is important to sand the floor yet again.  I know you might think it’s overkill and at that point you’re just in a hurry to paint it and get going, but you’ll be glad you were patient!  Priming the floors causes the wood fibers in the floor to rise to the surface, when you sand them away you get a super smooth surface.  Perfect for painting and no splinters in your feet! 

I just finished priming the mudroom and our bedroom last night.  Today is The Day!  I get to start painting the floors.  It will take a few days since I want to do a large diamond pattern in the mudroom and hallway, and a stencil for our bedroom and bathroom.  Then I’ll need to do 3-4 coats of polyurethane, allowing for lots of drying time in between.  But as soon as they’re finished – I’ll post some pictures.


Thanks for stopping by!  Have a great day!


  1. I believe the material you painted was actually a special sub-carpet. Normally used for renovations, it goes over the primary subfloor to improve the smoothness before carpet is laid, so it's only 1/4 inch thick and can't hold weight alone.
    WOW, no "mud filler"?
    Also, why no mention of a stencil?

  2. Luke! Don't be silly!


    Love you,