What are we going to do about the floors!? That was a question we immediately asked ourselves when moving into our new apartment. It was wooden parquet with a solid quality but we didn’t like the yellow-orange color. And the flooring is just always such a big area of the flat, isn’t it!? It’s color and texture really dominates the whole look of a room.
Paint or pigmented oil for our wooden floors?
To be honest – first we were too scared to paint our wooden flooring with opaque pigment paint. All the carpenters and craftsmen we had asked to get this work done refused and said they would really ask us to not do it as „you just don’t lacquer“ wooden flooring!
Therefore we initially had the floors changed with a pigmented white oil. But we weren’t satisfied with the appearance. It looked quite dappled and also as if it was dirty all the time. Worst part: the treatment only lasted for about 1,5 years. As one can see on the images below very soon there were „trails“ wherever we just walked more frequently. And soon the white pigment was totally gone for example in the kitchen where we’d always stand when preparing meals.
First tests on the durability of lacquered wooden floors
Therefore we finally decided to give it a try and lacquer the floors. We did it ourselves as we couldn’t find a professional willing to help us. To test the durability of the paint we chose a kids room to really see how the painted floors would look after a certain time of „heavy usage“.
To make a long story short: We loved the result! The look of the room immediately was so calm and bright and it looked perfect in combination with wood. The floors were not dominating the appearance of the room anymore. We were free to chose colors and wood for our interiors just as we liked without considering how it would combine with the flooring. After more than 2,5 years living with this painted parquet I can also say that we do not have scratches (unless something heavy fell down of course) or „walking paths“. The floor still looks like it used to be and I couldn’t be happier with it – I ’d definitely do it again and make the same choice!
However, one thing I changed after painting the floors is that I chose more carpets for our interior – especially in the huge open plan space. I think, as the painted area is quite huge it felt a little bit like a gym and I really had to „break up“ this large and light floor area with carpets. Loved the look again so much – carpets with natural fibers on the light floors and am currently even looking for a huge carpet underneath our dining table – will keep you postet with this new project as well!
A small DIY guide on painting wooden floors – at least how we did it!
To clarify this in advance: I will now name the brand of the floor paint we used. But I did the research on my own, was never contacted by this company and bought the color myself! I would just like to tell you the name as a lot of you already asked and as we (still) have good results with it.
Chosing the right color for your home
We used floor paint of Little Greene. I wanted a bright but not really white floor and also a warm and natural look. Therefore I chose the color French grey (mid) after quite some testings. I can really recommend testing the colors before! I feel that colors of Little Greene tend to look quite different from the samples. To my experience this applies to the wall colors but probably even more to the wooden floor paint as it is a little more glossy and is therefore always lighter than the samples. Also it resorbs the color of your walls a lot so testing it at home on a piece of wood that you then lay on your floor and look at for some days probably really helps to be satisfied with the results in the end.
Grinding the floor
Our first step was to carefully sand the floor to get rid of the oil that was used before. This really is quite some work. In the small rooms we used a manual sander but rented a bigger one for the open space living/eating/kitchen area. One thing is important: often the big rented grinding machines come with a FLEX-portable angle grinder – at least here in Germany. Please be careful with it or even better: don’t use it at all! It can make some really nasty dents if you are not an experienced user. Only use manual grinders that lay directly on the floor and not in an angle.
Cleaning and applying the primer
After all this grinding – that really is not a lot of fun – we carefully cleaned the parquet. Please do so as well, as every hair on the floor, or every bit of sand or dust can be seen afterwards when you apply the color. Then you can apply the primer that is also sold by Little Greene and is mixed for your choice of color. We had the best results when we applied it really thin and used a lot of pressure. This is probably not only good for an even look but also very important for the durability. For us the easiest way to apply the primer was with a paint roller.
After letting it dry (find the drying time on the tin) you just have to spread two thin layers of paint. Of course it has to dry in between again. We also applied the varnish with a paint roller. And also really make sure again that the floor is totally clean before you start. We always cleaned it a second and third time in between applying paint.
If I forgot anything or if you have any more questions on what we did, please let me know!