Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Painting a Hardwood Floor

The biggest question when we decided to paint our hardwood floor was what colour?

The floor that had been our inspiration for this step had been grey and initially that was the colour we were leaning toward.  However, before we made a final decision we decided to do some searching on the internet to see examples of other colours.  The grey floor in the photo below was very attractive.

Picture from Cozette Coffman
We found numerous examples of floors in this shade, sometimes with a hint of green or blue to them that we greatly admired.  But as I googled further and further I came across a forum discussing how to paint a wood floor and someone on that forum posted photos of a floor they had done.  And it was red.

I am the type of person that, when I make up my mind, there's no changing it.  I wanted that red floor the instant I saw it.  Jody didn't stand a chance.

Oh he tried.  Red is hard to work with other colours.  If we don't like it there's no hiding it.  But it had to be red.  Dark red in fact, the darker the better.

The man knows when he's beat so off we went to the paint store.  We wanted a paint that was hard wearing, didn't have too much gloss and could be washed frequently.  That was a bit difficult to find.  Employees at the hardware store were baffled.  They had deck paint but who would paint their living room floor?  I hadn't realized this wasn't a common thing to do.  After a bit of searching we found a floor paint (so the canister said) and then worked on finding the right shade.


By mistake, both of us ended up purchasing a can of paint.  In two different shades of red.  One a dark cranberry colour and one with a more orange tone.  Since we had two cans anyway we decided to test them on the floor.  Thank goodness we did this first because to our surprise we found that the water stains below the paint almost immediately began to emerge through the colour creating a white film on the floor.  That water damage was still creating a problem after all these years.

A solution was easy though.  We would buy a can of undercoat that would form a barrier between the boards and the paint.  Tint it red and no one would be the wiser.  Except this happened.


The sales rep had assured us that red tints always looked pink and we weren't to worry.  But this was seriously PINK!  We were substantially worried and with good reason.  After the first coat of red paint the floor looked like this.


That was NOT the colour I wanted.  The pink undertone was combining with the red to make this hideous ultra bright fuschia hybrid.  Let that be a warning to all you folks who plan on painting something red in the future.  Do not use a pink undercoat no matter what the sales rep tells you.  Holley Garden at Roses and Other Gardening Joys later advised me that grey is the appropriate colour to undercoat red.  I wouldn't have guessed that but after this experience I would definitely use grey in future.

So what were we to do?  Well, we had two cans of paint so we went to town with it.  We painted, and painted and painted.  With each new coat of paint the pink receded just a little bit more. Even though the two cans were different colours we didn't care, as long as the floor wasn't pink anymore.

The good news is it worked.  Eventually the pink receded and only a red floor remained.  The bad news, it was sticky.  Very very sticky.  For months after the fact that floor would not cure.  Humidity was one of the culprits but 4, or was it 5?, coats of paint was also to blame.  It was months before we could safely set foot in the room without our socks sticking to the floor boards.

I was so very happy though.  We were exceptionally fortunate that the colours combined well and the final result was exactly what I was looking for.


We had managed to save our original hardwood floor and it was a brilliant shade of deep red.

24 comments:

  1. It is brilliant..it is wonderful..just wonderful. How brave, I must say...very very brave. And yes, grey is the undercolor, even on a wall, grey is best below as an undercoat when red is applied over. Well done!!

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    1. I'm glad you like it Brenda. I don't know if it was brave or just foolhardy but it was fun.

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  2. It turned out really nice despite the pink start. I too would have advised gray. The sales rep really steered you wrong.

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    1. We really should have gone to a reputable paint store for advice. We're lucky it turned out in the end.

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  3. Oh, I was thinking RED??? and then I saw the finished product...now I'm wondering if I should paint my bathroom floor red? :)

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    1. So many shades of red to choose from, we did deliberate a lot over that. What I wanted was a really rich colour and thankfully it worked. Tempting isn't it?

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  4. It looks fabulous! It never would have occurred to me to paint it. I would still be working on getting rid of the water stains and somehow salvaging it.

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    1. Unfortunately those water stains were so deep it looked near impossible to fix. I'm glad we happened upon that other house and saw their floors as I wouldn't have thought to do this otherwise.

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  5. It's gorgeous! I used to paint my wooden floors at the old house, but never had a problem with stickiness. Perhaps it is the humidity and all those coats of paint. I hope the stickiness has passed 'cause it sure looks great.

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    1. Sandy, the stickiness eventually went away but it felt like forever for it to dry properly. Now we love it and the floor has a nice smooth feel to it.

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  6. Love the results and the nice sheen to the floor, not too glossy. To me it looks like it was always that colour - it was meant to be i guess!

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    1. That was my feeling when I saw that photo of a red floor. It was just meant to be and I was not taking no for an answer.

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  7. Marguerite girl you are a VERY bold designer !
    I was leery about the red after seeing the beautiful gray with white cabinetry .. that would have been my choice.
    BUT .. having said that your red floor does indeed look gorgeous ! and that carpet compliments it beautifully.
    So much work to go through though .. yest a fantastic end result!
    Congratulations .. I so understand the humidity problem too though .. it is wicked in Kingston.
    Great job girl !
    Joy : )

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    1. The rug was actually a good way to convince hubby about the floor colour. We dragged that carpet across the country with us and wanted to use it in that room. It was easy to think of a red floor when looking at that carpet lying on the hardwood.

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  8. I love, love, love it. More pictures please! And I like the way you stuck to your guns. That floor just wanted to be deep red, and kept luring you down alarming paths until it got to just the right state.

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    1. Laurrie, if only I could be so sure of myself in the garden. For whatever reason I just knew that floor had to be red. More pictures on the way.

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  9. Oh my, so much work, and yet the end result is beautiful! I never would have thought of painting a hardwood floor, and yet I can see it's a great way to solve the water problems and still preserve the original wood. Hope you'll show us the rest of this room!

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    1. I have a couple more posts yet in mind regarding this room so you'll get to see a more complete picture of it coming up. We found there were a lot of details to consider in pulling it all together. Who knew a living room could be so much work?

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  10. it looks beautiful and rich Margeurite, I think the red is better than the grey in a living room as it is warmer, the grey is fine for a kitchen, I had painted my concrete (all my floors are concrete) kitchen floor grey until I could get the kitchen done (major work),

    in some parts of northern Europe I think the Scandinavian countries they paint wood floors and paint patterns on them like a design on a carpet or lino,

    well done to you both, Frances

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    1. I agree about it being a warmer colour. There's something about that red that pulls you in and is comforting. I've seen some of those painted floors on the internet. They can be really intricate. At first I mistook them for tile work in some cases.

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  11. Red is a bold color, I love it! What a hassle with the number of coats and then the stickiness. It looks beautiful.

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  12. Hi Marguerite, Our porch floor is red and the dining room is red. In both cases we used a pinky undercoat. It is a scary moment indeed when you see all that pink. Your floor turned out great though. It looks terrific!

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  13. good for you, marguerite, for sticking with the process .. so many would have changed their minds .. the thing is, when you know something and go with it, inside or outside, it does work out .. although, sometimes the process is a bit rattling .. what a great reward for you .. your floor is beautifull and works perfectly with that carpet .. good work!

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  14. the floor is so gorgeous Marguerite..It sure is good to have such determination to see your ideas through to the end. The rug just loves being on that floor! It just cements my plan to leave my original red floor in the upstairs hallway of the farmhouse the way it is..It's great to see the progress of your house and gardens, gives me hope that we will reach our dreams too..Happy gardening...lannie

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