So your wood floor is stained and marred beyond the power of sanding. Don’t carpet–paint or pickle. Learn the basics in this article.
Paint or Pickle Your Wood Floor
So your home has an old wood plank floor that has seen better days, but you can’t afford to replace it and have moral objections to installing carpeting or vinyl over the top of it. What to do? Try pickling or painting.
Pickling is the process of applying a white wash over the floor surface, softening the look of the wood and helping to conceal those ancient stains and marred areas. Paint manufacturers sell a variety of different products to obtain a pickled look for your floor. It’s best to buy some scrap pieces of wood of the same species as your floor (whether pine, cypress, oak, ash, or whatever) and test out a product before applying it on the real floor.
You can pickle a floor with either paint or stain products. Stain tends to achieve the more traditional pickled look, especially on woods that receive stain well such as walnut, oak, and ash. Stain on these woods shows the color variation of the graining more clearly than tighter pore woods such as maple and pine. Stain on these woods looks more like paint, with the grain resisting the white wash and staying closer to its original color.
For truly horrid-looking wood floors, painting is an ideal way to create a unique and polished finish without covering up the wood. If you’re the creative sort, floor painting offers unlimited options for creative expressions, from two-tone tile patterns and accent border strips to family crests and stencil patterns. Painting covers all of the impossible-to-remove stains and ugly graining of an old wood floor, making it fresh and original.
Before applying any pickling stain or paint to your floor, prepare thoroughly by following these steps: 1). Sand the floor completely, using a rented oscillating floor sander. Remove all existing varnish, paint, or stained finishes. Some deep stains will resist removal, and that’s fine. It adds character to the floor. Your main goal is to obtain a smooth finish for the application of the paint or stain. Vacuum the dust completely; several times. Wipe the floor lightly with a damp rag or one soaked in paint thinner.
2). If you’re pickling, apply a sealer on the floor. This will make the pickling effect more even across the floor. Use a sanding sealer (not a polyurethane) and sand lightly with 180 grit paper when finished. Clean the floor thoroughly again;
3). If you’re painting, apply a primer to the entire floor. The color of the primer should be compatible with the finished color of your paint, which means light primer for light paint; dark primer for dark paint. If you are painting two colors or patterns on your floor, paint the main background color first and allow it to dry completely before masking off for the accent colors.
4). Once the paint is down and thoroughly dry, apply two layers of clear polyurethane, sanding lightly between coats. This will seal the floor and protect the paint for a couple of years at least. Watch for wearing and reapply the sealer every so often to keep the painted finish looking good.
Whether pickling or painting, make the decision carefully. Both can be removed, but not without a great deal of sweat and toil. These techniques work best where the wood floor is so badly marred or stained that leaving them in their natural state would be unthinkable. Once you make the decision to pickle or paint, have some fun and be creative!
To complete the look, we suggest a long-lasting, classic wood or brass register. Frontgate offers several to choose from, in Hardwood & Brass; Oak & Maple, and Solid Brass…