Monday, March 18, 2013

Painted Vinyl Floor, Version 2.0

Yesterday I finished painting the laundry room floor.  (The laundry room as a whole is still not done.  But almost.)  I learned some things between last time (when I painted the bathroom floor) and now.  Also, a couple of people had questions about how I got the floor to look like that, and I realized that I never did really explain how to do it.  So here goes nothin'.

When I started out the laundry room floor was that peel-and-stick vinyl tile stuff.  It wasn't horrible, but I didn't like it anymore and it just wasn't going to work with my plan for re-doing the laundry room.  First, I cleaned up the floor really well.  I mean, down on the floor on my hands and knees with a scrubby sponge.  If the floor had been really shiny (like a lot of roll vinyl flooring is) I would've sanded off the shiny finish.  That helps the primer to "grab" the floor so it sticks and doesn't wear off so easily.  If you sand the floor, then you have to vacuum up all the sanding dust and clean the floor again before the next step.

The next thing to do is to put down primer.  I used Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Primer. That stuff is awesome--it covers really well, doesn't smell too terrible, and wears like iron.  I come from a long line of people who believe that if a little does a little good, a lot will do a lot of good, so I put down two coats.  The instructions on the can say that you can recoat in an hour, but I waited more like 3 hours just to be on the safe side. I spared my knees and my back some trouble by using a paint roller attached to a broom handle.  I am a wuss, so you might not need to do that, but I do think it's easier than crawling around on the floor.

After the second coat of primer, I waited about 4 more hours before I put down the floor paint.  If you google, there's a big debate among painters about how long you should wait between primer and paint.  I am not patient, so I painted the same day I primed.  If I were a really cautious person, though, I would wait a whole week, since the Zinsser can instructions advise that the primer reaches full hardness in seven days.  So far, nothing terrible has happened because I didn't wait a week, and the paint's been on the floor a month and a day.  The paint I used is Valspar Porch & Floor Paint.  (The color is Magnet Dapple; you can get it in almost any color.) This is some tough paint, folks.  It's held up to doggie claws, water, sand, furniture being dragged across it, my engineer boots and my work boots, and cat barf.  I actually tried to scratch it with sandpaper and with my car keys, just to test it, and it barely scuffed it.  No primer showed through at all.  I put two coats on, again with a roller attached to a broom handle, and waited about two hours between coats.

If you want a solid-color floor, you could stop at this point.  When I stenciled my bathroom floor, I put two coats of Minwax Crystal Clear over everything after I finished stenciling.  I did that because I thought it would make the floor more durable.  You know what?  After the field testing I mentioned earlier, I really don't think the Minwax is needed.  The floor seems plenty tough for normal use without putting any poly on it.  I suppose if you own a dance hall or something, you  might want to go ahead and poly it up.  Or if you wanted the floor to be really shiny you could use the Minwax, because by itself the Valspar floor paint isn't very shiny.  (The paint's still wet in the photo of the solid gray floor.)

I, however, am a stenciled-floor fan, so I soldiered on.  By "soldiered on" I mean that it took me a month to stencil the floor because I am lazy and unmotivated and prone to periods of hibernation in cold weather.  If I were a productive, organized person I estimate the stenciling portion of the floor would have taken me about four hours.  Four hours, not four weeks.  But I procrastinate.

For the stenciled part I used Valspar Porch & Floor Paint again.  (I had it tinted to Luna, the same color as my ceiling, but it looks white on the floor.)  After doing an allover pattern on the bathroom floor, I vowed to never go through that tedium again.  It looks nice, but it took me forever.  For--ev--er.  This time I went with a small (6" or so) stencil and centered it in the middle of every other tile square.  I didn't care if the design was imperfect, so I just eyeballed the center of the tile.  You can see in the photos that some of the designs are a little crooked, but that's okay with me.  I taped down the edges of the stencil with painter's tape because that's what I had, but a lot of people use the spray adhesive stuff. I think that would probably make the stencil lay smoother to the floor and have less chance of moving out of place, but that's just my guess.  I used a little foam square for the stenciling.  (The same stuff foam brushes are made out of; not a sponge.)  I put a little paint in a plastic lid, dipped the foam in lightly, and then pressed the foam on another plastic lid a couple times to get rid of the excess paint.  Less paint is better than more.  Too much paint means that the edges of the design won't be nice and clear because the paint seeps under the stencil.  I practiced first on a piece of painted cardboard to get the hang of it.  Be sure you turn the foam square this way and that so you can't see the edges of the foam in your stencil.  After you use the foam a few times, it gets kinda gunky with paint, so you have to throw it away and get a clean piece of foam.  If the design starts looking blobby and uneven, that's when you know to replace the foam.  Also, remember to wipe the paint off your stencil every so often; otherwise, your foam will pick up paint from the stencil and the design will start to look messy.  Don't let paint dry on the stencil, either, because then the stencil won't lay flat.  I learned this the hard way.  I'm starting to sound like a Bossy Beulah, so I'll stop now.

I think I pretty much covered it all, but if I left something out or you have questions, just let me know and I'll try to help. Y'all know that I am not an expert by any means.  Heck, most of the time I actually have no idea what I'm doing so I just bumble along and everything usually turns out okay...eventually...so this is just what worked for me.  Your results may vary. Especially if you have more patience and know-how than I do.

14 comments:

  1. what a difference wow!! You outdid yourself looks beautiful!

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  2. Nobody has more patience than someone who created those floors :-)

    Almost you have me thinking I could do that on my floors.

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    1. You could! The hardest part is having to clean the floors. ;)

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  3. It looks wonderful. I'm definitely a fan of stenciling!

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    1. Thanks. I love the stencils that you've used in your house. I keep trying to talk my neighbor who owns a Craftsman to tear down the ugly 80s wallpaper in his house and stencil.

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  4. It looks great! Now I know who the stenciling expert is in my neighborhood. :)

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    1. Thanks, Christy! I am no expert.

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  5. Nice reading what you write about the durability of the Valspar porch and floor paint. I haven't had the guts to let my dog onto my hall floor yet, but it has to happen any time now, if I'm going to get the trim up.

    And your laundry room job looks great!

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    1. Kate, I'd be scared to let the dog walk on that hallway of yours, too. You put a lot of work into that design.

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  6. awesome! It's true haven't seen you put much painting up here in a while, but really

    sweet!
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  7. A cleanroom or clean room is an environment, typically used in manufacturing or scientific research, that has a low level of environmental pollutants such as dust, airborne microbes, aerosol particles and chemical vapors.

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  8. Really very nice flooring design and color . Thanks for sharing ...

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  9. Wow! That's really an awesome job that you've made there! Your budget vinyl flooring did look expensive!

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