You can stain or paint hardwood floors or leave them in their natural state. The magnificent looks that paints and stains can create on wooded floors are dumbfounding. While stains can mimic exotic woods, professional wood artists can use paints to turn wood into an extraordinary art piece.
Natural Wood Color
The essence of wood floor staining is actually to mimic unique and exotic hardwood species. For example, you can stain a white oak or beech with black wood stains which will make it look like an ebony floor. As such, exotic species like walnut, maple, mahogany and cherry hardwood floors look beautiful in their natural state and may not require staining. Why buy an expensive, beautiful and cherished look only to use paint and stains to hide it?
In this regard, many people with exotic or unique hardwood flooring will tend to leave it in its natural state. On such floors, you only need to apply a clear finish, varnish, and sealant. However, if the floor gets damaged, then a darker paint or stain can cover up the damages. That said, you can paint or stain your hardwood floor if you want a fresh look in your home or to enhance the grain of your wooden floor.
Natural hardwood floors are suiting to homeowners who prefer the timeless traditional design. They are also a cost-effective and easy way to manage your flooring without having to incur extra cost.
The main disadvantage of a natural hardwood floor finish is that it is very common.
Painted Hardwood Floors
Painting hardwood floors is an inexpensive way to turn your floor into a unique artwork. You can paint your wooden floors as a home improvement strategy. Painting can change the looks of your home or revamp an old hardwood floor. You can use color and complex patterns when painting.
Can You Paint Any Wooden Floor?
Basically, you can paint any wooden floor. You can paint engineered or solid, and any wood species. However, you should never paint a glossy wooden floor because it loses its elegance.
When painting floors it is important to get it right the first time. Therefore, before painting, plan to test paint a small hidden part of the room like under the couch area. To test paint, prepare the floor as you would if you are painting the entire floor then paint it. Then after 24 hours, check if the paint has any streaks or has peeled off. If the floor has issues, then you should get a professional to do it.
Buying Hardwood Flooring Paint
Initially, only buy a small quantity of paint for test painting the floor to see how well it receives the paint. Look specifically for paint manufactured for wooden floors. You can buy paint with polyurethane. In case it is not available, then you should apply polyurethane coats. Also, when buying paint, consider whether you want to paint with a glossy or dull sheen or you can consider a paint that is in between the two. More so, look for a quality paint that will last long and don’t compromise on the quality. Noteworthy, with a good quality paint you may need to apply only one coat of paint.
In addition to that, there are a variety of hardwood floor paint colors. Therefore, choose a paint color to match other elements of your interior decor like your furniture, curtains, and walls.
The amount of paint you buy depends on the thickness level of the paint, the size of the area you are painting, and the number of coats you will apply. For a figure to work with to do your cost estimations, you can estimate that you will use a gallon for every 350 square feet.
How to Paint Hardwood Floors
Before applying the paint, you should prepare the surface of the wood by washing, scraping and priming it. You may need to sand it too. To do the job fast and easy, you can rent a floor buffer and choose between a 120 or 150 grit sandpaper to use on the buffer’s sanding screen. A floor buffer is the best way to prepare a floor before painting because it “deglosses” the surface. The process will give you a new surface that is ready to paint. Ensure that the floor is thoroughly vacuumed to remove any dust and then wipe the floor with a damp mop. You should also do surface repairs and fill cracks and depressions on the floor.
Hardwood floors require tough paints and not the standard paints. As such, you should use a water-based porch or oil-based porch with floor enamels. However, these have limited color options and you may have to use trim enamels which you can find at a local paint store for different color options.
If you are satisfied with the test results, now you can apply the paint to the whole floor. Your floor will require a primer if it is bare before painting the floor. Be sure to match the primer color with the color of the paint you intend to use to avoid many paint coats. For best results, the paint should be applied along and not across the grain.
You should apply 2-3 coats of paints. You should also put at least two layers of protective finish like clear polyurethane which will help with high foot traffic on your floor. This is if the paint has no polyurethane. Moreover, you can apply a third coat of polyurethane after six months.
If you use a water-based protective coat, it will dry in about 2 hours and you can apply a second coat immediately. However, oil-based coats require about 24 hours to dry. As such, you should apply the second coat the next day. The floor will require 3-4 days to dry completely. After which you can use the room.
Advantages of Painting a Wooden Floor
1. Unique Designs and Colors
Painting floors is a modern trend that brings color and design to a space. Paints have a way of adding personality to a floor and giving a room a new character. Worth noting, you can paint your floor to get a unique color and texture that staining may not offer.
You can freely express your creativity with a painted floor than with a stained floor or natural hardwood floors which have kind of pre-determined traditional looks. You can add interesting patterns and designs on the floor.
2. Painted Hardwood Floors are Easier To Maintain
Painted floors are easier to maintain than stained and natural floors. In fact, you can keep reapplying a new coat of paint when the old paint becomes thin. Painting a hardwood floor is also less demanding although it should be done professionally for best results. Usually, the old finish doesn’t necessarily have to be sanded but the floor has to be prepared and repaired.
3. Covering Cheap Hardwoods With Paint
Paint can cover up cheap hardwood floor types that don’t look good in your opinion.
4. painting To Reclaim An Old Hardwood Floor
You can use paints to reclaim an old generation floor that has lived beyond its lifespan. This is especially for hardwood floors which may have been over-sanded or old. Because sanding will only destroy your floor, other than doing a floor replacement, you can opt to paint the hardwood floor. Painting your floor will extend its life foro a few more years. By revamping an old floor, you save money that you would have used to replace the entire floor.
Cons of Painting a Hardwood Floor
Wood is an expensive and classic flooring option. However, paint hides your hardwood floor especially if it an antique floor leaving you with a painted version of it. So, if you have a beautiful hardwood floor, why not maintain it in its natural color? That said, it entirely up to you and personal tastes and preferences.
Staining Hardwood Floors
Staining your hardwood floor is a major decision because you will live with the floor for a long time. This is because the exercise is not only expensive but requires vacating the room for some time. The task is daunting because there are various shades and a variety of hardwood floor stain colors to select from. Whatever colors and shades you choose will impact the overall style of your home because a floor is a focal point in a room.
When is it Right to Stain A Hardwood Floor?
Unlike painting that suits all hardwood floors, some floors take stains well while others don’t. In fact, most exotic woods have tight grains and oil which prevents them from taking stains well. However, if you have a common type of hardwood floor like red oak or white oak, then staining may give it an exotic look. Oak floors are stain-friendly and using the proper techniques, the wooden floor will turn out well.
Also, some floor finishes usually turn floors to a yellowish or orange look or a washed-out look that may not be aesthetically appealing. In such cases, staining will transform your wooden floor.
Staining is also recommended if the wood is damaged by pets, pot plants or water. Instead of replacing the entire floor, staining can refresh the wood’s looks. For water damages, it should only be stained if the damages are on the surface and not deep into the wood.
Average Cost to Stain Hardwood Floors
The cost of stains varies from brand to brand and the quality of the stain. The market prices for a gallon range between $30 and $100. One gallon can stain an area of about 300 square feet of floor.
Pros of Staining a Floor
1. There Are Multiple Colors Stains and Some Designs
You have a choice from multiple stains colors. The color you settle for should sync with other design elements in the room. There are dark stains, red and honey stains, coffee stains, mid-brown stains, dark brown stains, and gray stains. You can also make decorative patterns on the floor by using two staining design to create for example a checkerboard design.
2. You Can Transform a Cheap Floor into an Exotic Look
You can transform the looks of a cheap hardwood floor and make it look like an exotic species through applying stains. Additionally, you can use staining to hide dents and damages on a floor, if you choose dark stains. What’s more, rather than replacing a damaged hardwood floor, staining is a cheaper way to revamp the look of the floor.
Cons of Staining
You cannot achieve some color effects like green or blue with staining because it still displays some of the wood grain. The most extreme colors are black and grey.
Whether you leave your hardwood floor to retain its natural look, paint or stain, it all depends on the condition of the floor and your personal style. While hardwood painted floors hide the wood, with stains you will still see your wood grains which is an advantage if your wood is still in a fairly good condition.