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How to Paint Floors

6 Things to Know Before Painting Wooden Floors

If you have old hardwood floors that need a revamp but don't want to deal with the expense of having them refinished and stained, consider painting them instead! With web tutorials that touch on everything from Moroccan floor stencils to the best color choices, the creative customization possibilities are seemingly endless. Inspiration aside, it's the technical tips that can really make the difference between a successful and a tragic floor-painting project. See six crucial tips every aspiring floor painter should know!

  • The Best Sander For DIYers: Before you apply primer and paint, sand your floors to take off the existing sheen — this will help the primer to adhere properly. Random orbital sanders are especially easy to handle, making them a great choice for DIYers. Hunt for a deal if you're looking to purchase, or pick one up from a rental department of almost any home improvement store.
  • The Right Sandpaper Grit: Go for a medium-grit sandpaper (120 to 150) to prep the wood's surface for primer.
  • How to Protect Yourself: Sanding is dusty and noisy, so make sure you have earplugs and a quality respirator on hand. When priming and painting, keep your room as ventilated as possible.
  • Clean Before You Prime: Vacuuming the sanded area isn't enough. To ensure that it's clean enough for the primer, wipe it with a damp cloth and allow it to dry.
  • Roller vs. Brush: Use both! Apply two coats of primer with a roller, using a brush to cut in the edges of the room. (Tip: If you're going with a dark floor paint, have someone at the paint store tint your primer. This will help you avoid having to do more than two coats.) For paint application, you can also use a roller — just look for a quality, smooth-finish roller.
  • The Perfect Paint: If you don't want to deal with the smell and clean-up hassle of an oil-based paint, opt for a latex-based, epoxy-reinforced floor and patio paint. If needed, apply a second coat of paint, waiting 24 hours between coats.
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