How To Paint A Floor

Our recent sunroom floor staining debacle led us away from semi-transparent floor finishes (which are fabulous for raw concrete but don’t work as well over previously stained concrete) and towards solid floor treatments that are yummy and glossy and opaque. We quickly learned that oil-based porch and floor paint was the best candidate for the room (since latex based floor paints can’t bond to a previously stained concrete surface) and at Lowe’s we happily discovered Valspar’s High Performance Oil-Based Porch & Floor Paint in a perfect chocolate brown color called Brownstone. We’d been longing for a rich brown tone to tie into the adjoining room’s hardwood flooring, and Brownstone was a match made in floor paint heaven. Since the stuff is “extremely durable and resists scuffing while retaining its high gloss appearance”, it was the perfect solution for our high traffic sunroom. And not only is it great for concrete floors, it can also be used on wood floors and primed metal so it’s definitely something to keep in mind for any of the floors in your home that have seen better days.

So without further ado, we bring you the simple five step tutorial to painting your floor:

Step 1: Ensure that the floor is squeaky clean. This can be accomplished by thoroughly vacuuming and then going over your floor with a mildly soapy wet rag and waiting for the floor to dry completely before moving onto the next step. Additionally, if you’re painting a wood floor, any splintered or rough parts should be sanded or patched before moving on to the painting process.

* John sheepishly asked that I add a disclaimer that he doesn’t usually look this mismatched and clashy. We had just returned from a swim at the river so he quickly donned the closest t-shirt and hat for a speedy floor clean-up before hitting the shower. Really, he was actually embarrassed. Isn’t that cute?

Step 2: Edge the perimeter of the entire floor (about 4 inches or so) with a good quality brush that won’t leave any bristles behind. Oil based paint is deliciously glossy, which can makes things like errant paintbrush bristles stuck to the floor more obvious than a matte floor finish would.

Step 3: Use a paint roller with an extended pole attachment to coat the entire floor with one coat of paint. Roll in long even strokes and make a “w” pattern on the floor with the roller to eliminate any obvious paint globs from the side of the roller. Don’t forget to be smart about painting yourself out of the room as oil paint takes a looong time to dry before you can walk on it again.

Step 4: If you’re lucky, one coat of paint will do the trick. In our sunroom it would have except that we missed a couple of teeny slivers of the floor and wanted to go over the whole thing again for good measure and a uniform finish. You must wait at least a full 24 hours before applying a second coat, and even after 24 hours you may notice that your first coat isn’t completely dry (you may see subtle footprints as you walk across the floor) but you can proceed with your second coat since it’ll gloss over everything and leave it looking shiny and perfect again.

Step 5: Wait at least 6 full days to walk on your new floor. It may feel like torture, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. And after almost a week of avoiding the space, you’ll be super excited to move in all of your furniture and make yourself at home. It should be noted that oil-paint is especially toxic and super stiiinky, so keeping a ceiling fan going and the windows open for the full 6 days is a smart idea (which means implementing that plan before the second coat since you won’t have access to the room afterwards).

So there you have it, a simple five step process to fantastic new flooring. Here’s ours looking all glossy and fabulous (like melted chocolate, I tell ya). We love the rich, uniform tone and the luxe sheen, and we’ve both noticed that the room looks a whole lot more “finished” with the newly painted floor.

We also love how it ties in with the dark brown window sashes around the entire room, and makes our white furniture pop even more than it did against our old orangey-gold floor.

And perhaps the most exciting thing of all is how the newly painted sunroom floor so perfectly ties into our existing hardwood floor in the adjoining laundry nook and den. It’s an almost seamless transition which makes the sunroom seem a lot more cohesive (it no longer screams “add-on”) thanks to the uniform floor color and super luxe sheen.

We hope our fast and furious floor painting tutorial has been of help. And of course feel free to send us your floor painting before and afters (we eat that stuff for breakfast). Happy rolling!




File this under fab and almost free mini-makeovers anyone can do. We had two yellow chairs (relics from our three months in an apartment with a balcony) that looked sweet enough with our yellow door but looked more than a bit mismatched with our current red one. Nothing two cans of Rustoleum Universal All Surface spray paint couldn’t solve.

The stuff is new, and compelling for many reasons: it can be sprayed at any angle (no more straining to keep the can upright while you spray), it covers ANYTHING (from plastic and wood to metal and wicker), and it has a nice trigger spraying device (which is much more comfortable than those older buttons on the top of the can). And at around $6 a pop, the entire chair transformation was super cheap.

Check out our fabulous “new” porch chairs. Aren’t they so much better? We love the look of the glossy black with our classic looking rancher (they tie in with the black shutters, trellis and even our oil rubbed bronze light fixtures and door hardware). And it really was a super quick project (plus it feels pretty good to recycle stuff instead of investing in entirely new pieces all the time).

But speaking of eco-friendly things like recycling, this spray paint is insanely toxic (probably because it can bond to anything, so it’s chock full of chemicals). I sprayed both chairs in our two car garage with the door open and although it only took a few minutes I left with a headache, a bit of nausea and even felt a little woozy/high for a while. So let this be a warning to you: they’re not kidding when they suggest a ventilated area. If I could go back I would have sprayed the chairs on top of some cardboard on the lawn for even more airflow. And one more helpful hint: DO NOT attempt this project barefoot. I made that terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad mistake and had to use about a half a bottle of paint thinner to pry the thick black tar-like build up from my poor feet. The overspray settles on the ground like other spraypaint, but instead of being dusty and harmless, this stuff is sticky and bonds like superglue- creating layers upon layers of black goo as you step in more and more of the dust. So wear old flip flops but prepare to exert some serious effort when moving your feet (they literally get stuck to the floor). It’s exercise meets home improvement.

But don’t get me wrong. The fabulous chair makeover was totally worth the effort, and there’s no need to be scared off by my warnings above. I just wanted to make it even easier on the next person. So now that you’re armed with all the knowledge for a fast and fabulous furniture makeover of your own… happy spraying!