From Ugly to Lovely, Painting a Floor, Part 2

An embarrassingly long time ago, we wrote about a project we were working on – painting a fir floor. You can read about it here: From Ugly to Lovely, Painting a Floor, Part 1. (We didn’t realize that it would it be over a year and a half later before we wrote Part 2.)

After many delays (removing an existing wood stove, demolishing a hearth, installing new wood stove and hearth, patching various areas of the floor where there were old heat registers) it’s done! Well, the living room is done. The dining room isn’t quite done, but we are so excited by the results, we wanted to share some photos.

As a reminder, this is what the floor looked like before:


And here’s what it looks like now:


This is how we got there:

Because the floor was painted with lead paint, we didn’t want to sand it, so we used “Krud Kutter”. (Why do companies think it’s a good idea to use weirdly spelled names – what’s wrong with Crud Cutter?) This cleaned the surface and reduced the glossy finish and created a “tooth” for the paint to stick to.

Then we primed the surface using XIM UMA, a special primer/bonder. I’ve used this product in the past and have had great luck. It is designed for difficult to paint non-porous surfaces.

After allowing the primer to dry, we painted the floor. We used 2 coats of Pratt & Lambert’s WithStand floor paint in a special color mix of a dark charcoal gray, allowing 24 hours to dry in between coats.

The final floor:


The paint needs to cure for 7 days before placing any furniture or rugs. So meantime, this is what the dining room looks like:


Yikes. I especially like the murderer’s glove in the foreground.

To see more of Heidi’s artwork, visit her at Old Stuff. New Stories.

17 thoughts on “From Ugly to Lovely, Painting a Floor, Part 2

    • We actually just painted around the wardrobe. When we are dead and gone, the next homeowners will probably think “wow, they were lazy”. And yes, right after the living room cures, we will do the dining room. The curing time (and the prep) is a hassle, but the painting itself was pretty quick. Can’t wait for the dining room to be done – all nice and clean looking! Now the girls will NOT be able to wear their soccer cleats in the house. :)

  1. Floor looks beautiful—and I admire your repair work. One thing I’d like people to know about the Krud Kutter (!) is to be sure to wear gloves. I’ve not used the Gloss-Off, but the regular KK will make your skin peel. Ask me how I know….

  2. I understand the lead paint issue; would there have been a way to get down to the wood floor and refinish them so you had the natural wood? Did you make that decision because you preferred the painted surface, the issue with the lead paint, or the amount of work to remove the paint?

    • That’s a great quesion – we possibly could have removed the paint, by stripping it with chemicals so as to avoid sanding and lead dust. But I think because the floors are so old with lots of wood grain texture, the paint would’ve stuck down into the grooves. And then they would need to be sanded anyway because they were in pretty bad shape. That’s the second problem that convinced us to go the painting route – the floor was in such bad shape – patched badly in several places. We had 2 floor companies come and look at them for refinishing, and one wouldn’t even bid on the job. The other was just really expensive. So to answer your question, we would’ve preferred wood floors, and would’ve even been happy with imperfections (I LOVE patina) but it was the lead paint that swayed us. Yes, too much yucky work. The other floors on our first floor (office, kitchen, hallway, family room) will all stay doug fir – some old, some new.

      Have you ever had to deal with lead paint before? Maybe it’s not as bad as I make it out to be. ??

  3. We had a very similar 1906 Seattle house with painted fir floors… With leaded paint… We decided to pay to sand off and refinish. It came out great although with lots of “character”– nail heads and some discolored spots. Yes it was about $5k including repair in spots with salvage.
    Anyway just to say– it is possible but also because deep sanding might be necessary to remove all the paint — they probably won’t ever look like new floors.
    If you have lead paint MAKE SURE TO ASK THE CONTRACTOR ABOUT IT. Do a home test first so you know. And check the list of certified lead paint contractors published by the state– not common for floor finishers! (We interviewed several who had no idea what lead paint was and could easily have polluted our whole house had we not checked ourselves.) They must use dustless sanding and a lot of other precautions — lead poisoning is quite real. Yes the safe approach added $ to the job but absolutely well spent.

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