How To Paint A Floor In 7 Simple Steps

ECOS 02/16/2017

Most people are pretty skeptical when it comes to painted floors. Can it really look nice? Will it really hold up to the wear and tear? With ECOS Paints Floor Paints, the answers are a resounding yes and yes! Our floor paints are so durable we use them on our factory floors. And our color pigments and paint formula are premium quality for gorgeous results. Painting the floor can really transform a space without breaking the bank, so we highly recommend trying it. And today we’re sharing all the basics you need to know – how to paint a floor in 7 simple steps.

Before you start -     

This isn’t a job that you should rush. It’s not an overly difficult project, but for the floor to look good for many years, there needs to be proper dry and curing time. Trying to speed up the project could result in the finish not lasting as long and that means all your hard work won’t make you as happy every time you go in that room, so plan on this taking four or five days.

Step 1: Clean.

This step might seem a little obvious to many, but it’s sometimes overlooked. Paint doesn't adhere as well to a dirty or dusty surface so cleaning the floor is crucial to giving you a long lasting finish. This step is especially important when painting a floor because it’s obviously going to experience much more abuse than a wall does in the home. Vacuum or sweep the floor and then mop using an anti-degreasing agent like dishwasher detergent in hot water. Scrub baking soda into extra grease areas to get them clean. You don’t need to use any extremely harsh chemicals or cleaners to get the floor prepped for painting. Make sure you let the floor dry overnight before moving onto the next step. Leaving a fan on in the room and opening some windows if you’re able to will help reduce the dry time.  

Step 2: Sand.

Scrape away any loose or peeling paint.Use a one-inch putty knife to fill in cracks and imperfections in the floor. Let dry and sand per the instructions from the wood putty manufacturer. Make sure you’re using a paintable putty. If you’re not sure, ask at the hardware store when you purchase it. Sanding helps even out the wood, and it helps prepare the surface to adhere to the products you’ll be applying. We recommend starting off with 150-grit sandpaper and then moving on to 220-grit sandpaper to really get a nice even and smooth surface. Purchasing a sanding pole will make this step easier, but it isn’t required. Once the sanding is complete make sure to vacuum and wipe down the entire floor with tack cloth to ensure no dust is left behind. This may take multiple sheets of tack cloth because the sanding dust is so fine.

Step 3: Prime.

Priming helps to block stains, create a more durable finish, and helps the paint adhere, so don’t skip this step. We recommend using ECOS Paints Universal Primer – not only does it work wonders on covering up all types of stains, but it also is non-toxic* and has no odor. You may want to put tape over the baseboard molding, so you don’t get any of the primer or floor paint on them. (This may depend on how comfortable you are with a paint brush.) With a two and a half or three inch brush apply the primer to the border of the room. Next, apply a uniform coat of primer over the entire floor with a nine-inch roller. An extendable paint roller pole will make this step easier but isn’t necessary. Be sure to let the primer dry for at least 12 hours before moving on to the next step. After the primer is dry, give the floor a good inspection. You shouldn’t see any discoloration or grease spots. If you do, you may need to clean some areas a bit more and then apply another coat of primer. Any discoloration that is bleeding through the primer will almost for sure come up through your finish coats of paint, so you need to seal those with primer first before moving onto the painting. Remember, prep work is often the key to a truly pro-looking finish and an amateur one and should never be rushed.

*Conforms to ASTMD-4236, specifically concerning oral toxicity, skin irritation, and respiratory effects.

Step 4: Cut in.

Paint the edges around the entire perimeter of the floor. Use a good quality brush and cut in about 4 inches from the baseboards. Keep a wet rag or sponge nearby in case you get some paint on the baseboards. It’s a lot easier to wipe this paint off when it’s wet than having to scrape it off when it’s dry. When you’re painting, try to work at a steady pace. (This is a painting tip that is often missed.) Don’t rush or you will start making mistakes or get the paint all over things you don’t want to be painted. Trying to go too fast is probably going to make the job take longer because of all the frustrating mistakes you’ll make.

Step 5: Paint.

Now the fun part – grab a paint roller with an extension on it. Paint large areas using long even strokes and make a “w” pattern. This will help eliminate paint “globs” from the side of the roller. Apply one coat of paint and work yourself towards a door (don’t paint yourself into a corner!). Allow it to dry at least overnight (and preferably 24 hours) between coats. We recommend three coats for optimal durability.

Step 6: Wait.

Hardening continues for approx 7 to 10 days, so avoid wetting and scuffing for this period. Also, if you can, keep larger pieces of furniture out of the room for about a week. The more patient you are the better chance that you will love how this floor looks for many years!

Step 7: Enjoy your new floor!

Ready to get started? Order free color sample chips to start envisioning your project! And let us know in the comments if you have any questions. We’re always happy to help!