Painted Floors That Are Environmentally Friendly

May 13, 2006
beautiful painted floor
Painted floors can give your room a great new look. And that look may be much less expensive and less messy too. You can paint hardwood, plywood, concrete, linoleum, and vinyl floors. You can create fun, bold patters, subdued borders, and even a simulated rug with paint. Covering the dry and cured paint with several coats of a durable polyurethane will preserve your work and keep it looking great for years.

For those wanting to be environmentally “correct”, and even frugal, in their flooring project, painting your floors is a better way to go than putting in new floors. Painting your old floors causes much less mess than replacing floors does, and is ultimately a time saver. Painted floors look great and can be long-lasting.


Painted floors are a great way to simplify your home decorating. With only a few materials and an imagination, you’re ready to go. Painting your old, tired flooring can be a great solution for freshening the look of any room.

Here are a few cons:

  • A fair amount of work to start
  • Takes several days to dry
  • Your imagination may hold you back

And here are some quick pros of why you should look into painted floors:

  • Environmentally friendly
  • Creative way to decorate your house
  • Low-maintenance
  • Most surfaces can benefit from painting
  • No special tools are needed

Start with a clean, dry surface. Damp basements may not work out well for painting the floor, especially concrete. Most basements have chemicals mixed into the masonry to prevent floor dampness, so you should be fine, but do check first. You may need to apply a masonry primer — as a water-proofing step — to the concrete floor (if the paint you selected requires it). If you have a wood floor, a primer is strongly recommended in order to hide the grain pattern.
For imperfections in the floor’s surface, cover them with non-porous filler and let it dry and cure before applying the paint. Once it’s dry, you can begin your painting. Painted floor designs can be created with the help of plastic stencils, masking tape, or free-hand. Let your imagination run wild!
Oil paints are especially good when looking into painted floors. Oil paints seem to harden readily, as well as adhere to many surfaces, opposed to water-based paints. Your floor can be wood, concrete, vinyl, or laminate and still be paint-able. The priming part just might be a little different. The down-side to using oil paints are the VOCs (volatile organic compounds) that pollute your home’s air, and contribute to the “sick home” syndrome. Water-based paints tend to be much more environmentally friendly.
Here’s the hard part: painted floors need to be left alone for two to three days after the painting is finished. In high-traffic areas this can be difficult to do, so plan accordingly. When the paint is thoroughly dry, coat the pain with non-yellowing urethane, or water-based urethane, and let that dry as long as the manufacturer recommends.
The only maintenance you have to do now is to apply another coat of the urethane every couple of years (as well as clean the surface as you would any other flooring). The floor should stay shiny, even with heavy traffic.
Decorative painted floors really make a statement. I saw a game room painted like a chess or checkers board, and it looked great! You can recreate a 50s diner look with a black and white checked pattern. You can create the look of tiles and wooden flooring as well. It’s hard to tell the difference if the paint job is well done. Perhaps you’d like a marble floor? Paint can give you just the kind of marble you want! Have you ever seen a “rug” painted on the floor? I have, and it’s a fantastic decorative look. You can even create raceways in your game room.
Though these pointers have been made for home decorating, there’s nothing to keep a business from using the same techniques. You can paint decorative patterns or helpful “walkways” as a direction-giver for your clients/customers.
Wanting to do something different with your old floors? Painted floors are the new-again rage for the environmentally concerned, and in modern flooring and design. Because painted floors are so durable, they’re a great way to improve a room, without cutting and measuring, or without ripping up old materials and placing new ones. Have fun creating your personal look with a painted floor.

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