Painting plywood floors is a fantastic way to give more depth and character to them and the process works very well. It is also one of the least expensive ways to get a good looking, finished floor in any room of the home. It is essential to follow a few simple steps to ensure that the finished wood has protection and has a long lasting finish.
Be Sure of Good Condition
One of the first things to do is to ensure the floor is in good condition. Look for water damage and repair as necessary. Notice any damages in the wood itself and determine if repairs are needed. For example, nail holes from the application of other flooring should be filled. Sand down any rough edges and remove old paint as much as possible. The floor should also be thoroughly dry when applying paint to it.
Painting these floors is possible even if they have gone through years of use and even some damage. For example, if you have invested heavily in laminate flooring but want something new, the plywood underneath may be just what you need. This is by far one of the least expensive types of flooring available.
Use Urethane for Protection when Painting Plywood Floors
Keep in mind when using paint on plywood flooring that the paint itself is not thick or hard enough to protect the floors from damage from standard foot traffic. To get added protection, including durability protection, use at least three coats of a quality, clear urethane. The urethane will protect the floors from dirt and most damage. Notice the labeling on these products, however. You'll need to see the words "non-yellowing" on the label. This tells you the product will not yellow over time.
Steps for Painting Plywood for Flooring
The process is broken down into a few simple steps. [*]Clean and smooth plywood:
The first step is to ensure the flooring is smooth and clean. It has to be dry to allow the paint to adhere. Fill cracks with filler and allow to dry thoroughly. Use a plastic type wood filler for this, not any type of spackling. You may wish to test the product for its durability by placing some on a piece of wood (not the floor itself) and then walking on it after it is fully dried. If it can withstand the simulated usage, use it for repairing the flooring.[/list]
- Prime and seal: Any type of bare wood needs to be protected and primed. Primer sealers work well to hide the wood grain. If the wood has some sort of finish, even a varnish, this must be removed through sanding before moving on. Check with the paint manufacturer to determine which types of primer are available and most acceptable to use on the wood surface prior to painting. Most manufacturers provide recommendations.
- Apply paint: Often the best types of paint for wood flooring are oil paints. Oil paint will adhere well to the plywood and it gives it that finished quality. Another benefit to using oil is that oil will harden faster as it takes far less time to cure.
- Consider faux finishing: While it is not necessary, many homeowners like to add a bit of character to their and faux finishing is a good option for plywood painted floors. You can easily add borders to the floor, using a stencil to create a unique look, or add several colors to work as an accent. Test out these items first by painting it onto a piece of plywood (again, not the actual floor) to perfect your technique. There are endless options to choose.
- Seal the floor: The final step in painting plywood floors is to seal it. As mentioned, apply three coats of urethane. Use a water based product and allow each coat to fully dry prior to applying the next.
- Maintain the floor: Over time, you will need to apply another coat of urethane to the floor. For most areas, a new application one time every two years is sufficient.
That's all there is to painting plywood floors. Trying this type of flooring solution may help to curb the budget while still offering a fantastic look.