Part of the appeal of engineered hardwood floors is that there are so many ways to keep them looking brand new. In addition to wood’s natural durability, you can sand down imperfections or refinish dull floors that need a face-lift. Another way to refresh older engineered hardwood is with a fresh coat of paint. After years of foot traffic, moving furniture, and other general wear and tear, a paint job is a simple yet effective way to bring new life to the floors of a room. Even if your floors are in good shape, new paint is a great way to update the room, try out a new color scheme, or simply show off your current style. However, simply grabbing a brush and paint can isn’t enough to achieve the beautiful and elegant appearance you desire. Learn the right way to refresh your floors with these tips for success when painting engineered hardwood floors.
The Pleasing Perks of Painting
Painting isn’t always everyone’s first option—in fact, some hardwood purists flinch at the very idea of it. But sometimes, painting is the ideal choice. For example, engineered wood floors with a thin veneer can be tricky or even impossible to sand down. Doing so will break through the veneer and cause more harm than good. However, you don’t need old or damaged floors to paint. Many homeowners prefer the look of painted floors over that of natural wood. Paint offers more versatility than regular stains and finishes. For example, instead of sticking to the natural warm tones of red oak engineered wood flooring, you can customize your floors to fit any color scheme or dream décor you have in mind. It’s also easier to add unique designs and patterns with paint—especially if you’re handy with a brush.
Another perk of painting is that it’s easier and less demanding than refinishing your floors with a clear finish. Additionally, a coat of paint is easier to maintain than any clear finish you might add to your floors. If your paint starts to wear thin, you can refresh it with a new layer or even repeat the painting process with a completely different color.
Tips for Success When Painting Engineered Hardwood Floors
As with any home improvement project, the right knowledge and preparation is crucial to your success. Make sure you know what you’re doing before you dive into your work. This means carefully choosing the right tools, preparing your work area, and following best practices to create the most beautiful results for your home. After finding your dream color and fitting the project into your schedule, be sure to follow these tips for gorgeous and lasting results.
Equip Yourself With the Right Supplies
The right tools are a necessary part of turning any project into a success. As you gather your equipment, pay close attention to the type of paint you purchase. Oil or water-based enamels are a good choice for high-quality, long-lasting paints. You’ll also want a clear polyurethane finish to use as a protective topcoat. For best results, plan for multiple coats of both your paint and your finish. You’ll also need a primer if your floors have any bare or exposed wood. If you use one, make sure it’s compatible with the type of paint you have.
Once you have your paints and finish ready, you’ll also need cleaning supplies to prepare your floors, painter’s tape, and a paint roller or pad. An extension pole can also come in handy, especially if you’re painting the floor of a larger room.
Prepare Your Floor Well
Before you uncap your paint and go at your floors, you need to prepare the room. A dirty floor will lead to endless problems during the painting phase, so make sure you clean it thoroughly before you begin. At the very least, you’ll need to vacuum and tack your floor to remove any dust and debris. However, if the previous finish still has a sheen to it, you’ll need to de-gloss the floor so that your paint adheres to it. You can use a pad sander to do this, but for larger rooms, you might want to use a floor buffer and sanding screen. This will smooth out and de-gloss the old finish. Once the floor itself is ready, remove or tape over the baseboards so that you don’t accidentally get paint on them while you work. Now, the room is a blank canvas for you to paint over.
Plan Your Route
The last thing you want to do when painting your floors is backtrack or paint yourself into a literal corner. Plan your painting route by choosing your exit and starting in the corner opposite of that. Keep this exit in mind as you make your way across the room. You should always have a clear path out. Additionally, crack open any windows before you begin to increase airflow in the room. Ventilation is key to staying safe during a paint job. You should also wear a respirator to avoid breathing in paint fumes.
The First Coat
Add your initial coat of paint with a roller or paint pad. Make sure each stroke follows the direction of the wood’s natural grain. Painting across the grain in the wrong direction will leave holes and other blatant blemishes once the paint dries. Your first coat should be thin so that it can dry quickly. Don’t worry too much about covering every inch of the floor. Voids and other thin areas will disappear with additional coats.
Give your first coat at least a day to dry. Even after this period of time, make sure you test the floors before you walk into the room or place equipment. Once the first coat is completely dry, you can apply the second layer of paint. Alternatively, you can rescreen the floor to create an ultra-smooth finish. If you choose to do this, make sure you thoroughly clean the floor again after buffing it. When you’re ready, apply your second coat. Once the second coat dries, inspect it to make sure the results are uniform and free of flaws. If they are, you can move on to the finishing stage. If not, add a third coat to perfect your paint job.
Once your paint is dry, you can add a protective topcoat of clear polyurethane. If you used water-based paints, your first coat of finish will dry after a couple of hours, allowing you to add your second topcoat on the same day. Oil-based paints will cause the finish to take longer to dry, so you’ll have to wait longer for your second coat of finish. Once you’ve added the two topcoats, wait a few days for the room to dry and air out completely. Then you can replace the baseboards, add furniture, and enjoy your beautiful new room.