Are you drawn to rooms that look like this?
photo from Hill House Remodel
photo from Apartment Therapy
photo from A Touch of Luxe
Well, it turns out our good friends (the Hency's) were. You may remember when we toured their gorgeous home here and here. The super cute couple has done a great job decorating their house and the next bullet on their to-do list was a flooring revamp. So, we went down to help them tackle the challenge of taking their dark wood floors to a crisp and clean bright white!
Here's what we did!
1. Sand- Before we got there, Mat and Kelsey had a crew come in and sand down their floors to bare wood. You can easily do this yourself by renting a floor sander from Home Depot for about $50/day. These large floor sanders take a little getting used to, but you will catch on quick. Just make sure you keep moving and don't allow the sander to sit in one spot. It will gouge your floor leaving a very uneven surface. Note- ALWAYS sand wood going in the same direction as the grain!
2. Remove Dust- After the floors were back to bare wood, it was very important that we remove as much dust as possible. We did that by making multiple passes over the wood with a large wet dust mop and tack cloth.
3. Paint- Once we felt like 99.9% of the dust was removed, we got to painting. We used Sherwin Williams Pro Classic Interior Oil based Paint in a Satin finish. I definitely recommend using an oil based paint. Tim and I feel like oil based paint provides a much more polished finish and if a mistake does occur, oil based paint can be easily sanded in spots (after it is completely dry)and painted over whereas latex paint becomes very gummy when sanded. Just remember you will need to move quickly when using oil-based paint.
Tim and I worked quickly together by splitting the task into two jobs. I went around the outer edges of the room with a brush while Tim rolled paint on the rest of the room getting as close to edge as possible. You don't have to worry about roller marks because the paint seeps into the wood. (If you remove the baseboards you can avoid brushing all together.)
4. Light Sanding- Painting the wood will cause the grain to rise, so after the first coat we did a light sanding of the entire floor with a drywall pole sander and sanding screens. It doesn't take much and you should be able to feel the difference in smoothness with your hand after very minimal effort.
6. Put on a Protective Layer- After we got the floor completely covered (it took us 3 coats of paint), it was time to put on a layer of protection. We used a product called Bona Traffic that is generally used in commercial spaces. Because the floors were going to be white, we knew it was paramount that the paint job be durable. We recently visited Mat and Kelsey and are happy to report that this product really worked and the floors still look great. You can order Bona Traffic online here or find it at a specialty store that sells to wood finishers. (It is a little pricey compared a normal poly product, but if you hate the "character" of scuffs, scratches, and dings- this product is worth it!)
Note from Tim: It is imperative if you use a light color paint that the protective layer be water based. Solvent or oil based products tend to yellow or amber. It doesn't really cause a problem on wood tones, because it just "warms" your color, but on white or other light colors it looks like they were peed on. I went ahead and got commercial grade finish for this floor, because in general I don't trust the water based products durability as much as an oil based. However, I found nothing but great reviews for this Bona Product.
We applied the protective product in the same way we put the paint on: brushing it on the edges and rolling it on the rest of the floor.
After two coats, we were done. Here is the floor right after we finished our last coat. When it dried, the final look was a less glossy.
So, here are the condensed instructions for painting your floors for those of you who are ADD.
1. Sand the floors by renting a floor sander from Home Depot. A light color will require almost bare wood or lots of coats of paint.
2. Remove as much dust as possible from the floors with wet dust mops and tack cloth.
3. Paint the room, brushing the edges and rolling the center. (If you remove your baseboards, you can probably roll the whole room.)
4. After the first coat of paint, do a light sanding with drywall sanding screens.
5. Remove the dust again.
6. Paint as many coats as needed to cover the wood.
7. Use a protective seal to finish off the floor. Bona Traffic works really well, but you could opt for a different polyurethane product. Apply at least 2 coats.
I love how the floors turned out and I'm thinking about doing the same in my upstairs room! We will see if I can carve out the time to make it happen!