Painting Tips for Floors

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Painting a floor can transform old, worn flooring. Almost any flooring surface can be painted, including wood, tile, vinyl, linoleum and concrete.

Painting a Floor

Successful floor painting requires preparation. Clean the floor thoroughly, making sure the floor is dry and dust-free. Soak mildew with a bleach and water mixture.

Repair floor damage. Check with your local hardware store to find what materials you'll need to fix cracks and holes. Filling compounds used should dry hard, so avoid caulk or spackling.

Hardwood floors protected with varnish of urethane must be sanded before painting, and bare wood floors need to be primed with a special primer that hides the wood grain after painting.

Oil-based paints work best for painting a floor. Be sure to check that the primer and paint you use are suitable for use with each other and with the floor material you need to cover.

Allow floor paint to dry for three days, and then apply three coats of water-based clear urethane to protect the finish. Be sure to use non-yellowing urethane.

Floor Painting Finishes

<> Floor painting lends itself to decorative finishes. You can stencil decorative borders around the floor or create a pinstripe pattern as you paint. No matter what floor painting finishes you choose, practice patterns and stencils on plywood or other materials before painting a floor.

Concrete Floor Painting

Concrete floor painting requires a little more preparation than painting other floor surfaces. For exterior concrete floor painting use a power washer to remove dirt and old paint. Indoors, where power washers aren't an option, remove old paint with a scraper and wire brush.

Holes and cracks in concrete can be repaired with concrete patches, after which applying a coat of sealer prevents moisture rising through the concrete. New homes often have vapor barriers under concrete to prevent moisture. If in doubt, tape a plastic sheet to the floor for a day or two. If moisture builds up between the plastic and the concrete, you need to apply sealer.

Apply a coat of primer over the sealer before concrete floor painting. Once the primer dries, apply several thin coats of paint (thick coats create a "gummy" surface). When the paint dries, finish with three coats of water-based urethane.

Floor Painting Maintenance

Whether you're painting a floor made of wood, vinyl or concrete, apply two or three coats of clear urethane every two years to maintain the floor's appearance.

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