If you're looking to brighten up your kitchen, are comfortable with intermediate DIY projects, and aren't afraid to break the rules a bit, then painting hardwood floors might be for you. We know, we know: Why would you dare cover up glorious shiny hardwood with (gasp!) paint?! Well, not only do the results look amazing, but paint can actually make a wood floor easier to maintain in the kitchen where it takes the most abuse.
Photo by: Lisa Romerein for Coastal Living
We love the fresh clean look of wood floors painted solid glossy white in coastal kitchens or sunny yellow for that Provençal feel. But you can also paint patterns or stencils on floors. Give a cheerful lift to a classic space, with diamond and checkerboard motifs, for example. Or add whimsy by coating the floor in a solid color and then painting a "rug" at the center. You can easily find stencils like pretty white fleur-de-lis or trellis patterns at crafts stores. There are options for every skill level. Of course, you won't want to resand floorboards that have been refinished too many times before. Make sure yours are at least 1/4-inch thick and not previously painted with lead paint, as in some older homes.
Photo: Courtesy of CocoCozy
The ultimate secret to getting the best look: patience and preparation. Mopping, sanding, priming, and more sanding are all keys to having the paint go on smooth and last for years.
To make the job even easier, enamel paint made specifically for porches and floors is easy to find. Consider Sherwin-Williams Porch & Floor Enamel, Valspar Oil Porch & Floor Paint, Pratt & Lambert Withstand Interior/Exterior Alkyd Floor Enamel, or Benjamin Moore Alkyd Porch & Floor Enamel.
Photo by: Laurie W. Glenn for Southern Living
For the actual painting, we've pulled together five basic steps—all very doable! And we do recommend a separate primer coat, even though many paints for floors are self-priming. All are polyurethane-fortified, so you won't need a top coat. Let's get started.
Photo: Courtesy of The Design Junkie
Project time: Full weekend plus drying time
What you'll need: plastic drop cloths, painter's tape, dust mask, safety goggles, sandpaper, orbital sander, tack cloth, mop, wood filler, paint roller or paintbrush, paint trays, primer, enamel floor and porch paint
Step 1: Cover surrounding countertops, furniture, and cracks under doors with plastic drop cloths secured with painter's tape. Wearing a dust mask and safety goggles, rough floors with sandpaper that's at least 150 grit to ensure paint will adhere to the surface. It's more efficient (and less back-breaking) to use an orbital sander, which can be rented from home-improvement stores. Work carefully in a fluid back-and-forth motion to avoid gouging floors and sanding too deeply.
Step 2: Dust and mop floors to remove debris and build-up that can get stuck in the paint and prevent a smooth look. Allow floors to dry completely—preferably six to eight hours—and then patch any holes or uneven spots with wood fillers; sand until smooth.
Step 3: Use a paint roller to apply an oil- or latex-based primer, depending on what type of paint you select. (Porch enamel paint comes in both varieties; oil-based paints create a harder, durable finish, but latex paint can be cleaned easily with soap and water.) Allow primer to dry overnight, and then sand again with 220-grit sandpaper to smooth any areas that contract from moisture. Wipe the floor with a damp tack cloth (cotton rags will leave behind residue) to remove any dust or grit.
Step 4: Apply a very thin layer of paint to floors with a quarter-nap roller or a natural bristle brush, working slowly to avoid bubbles. If you're painting a pattern, measure and tape off the design first, and then paint. Depending on the look you want, two to three coats may be required. Be sure to allow paint to dry completely between coats, between 18 and 24 hours. If you are using a stencil, paint floors first, and then apply stencil design last.
Step 5: Most porch and floor enamel paints do not require a polyurethane top coat; check your paint choice for specific directions. Allow the final coat of paint to dry at least 24 hours, and don't walk on floors in shoes or heels (only socks) for another 24 hours. The longer the floor is allowed to dry, the harder the finish-it takes about a month for paint to fully cure. After that, don't worry about normal wear-and-tear, as it will create a warm patina on floors over time—just enjoy your fabulous new kitchen floors!