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Honey, I think I'll paint the floor...

Messing About - Close to Home

colorful painted subfloor

…it’ll take 3 days or so, no problemo. Forty-four episodes of This American Life later, the floor is finished! To clarify, that was two episodes per painting session per day for, what is that, 22 days?! That sounds about right when you factor in my back that ached, the lost feeling in my fingers (fully recovered now), the numerous trips to the paint store via the beach, and an overall lack of planning on my part.

That’s not to say I didn’t have a plan. I did. It was 3 days, 3 colors, 3 coats of polyurethane and going with the flow. Here's a few details in case you decide to paint your floor:

Paint. I used Benjamin Moore floor paint (water-based) for the first two layers then switched to BJ house paint. This is where things started to diverge from the original plan. Our local paint store sells 3 oz. samples of Benjamin Moore paint. It's like a candy store without calories! I chose 4 or 5 (or was it 7 or 8) from the rows and rows of paint, got them home and liked them all! I used up what was in the bottles, went back to the paint store and bought larger sample sizes of what I still needed. While I was there, I picked out two more colors.
painted subfloor first color

Foam brushes, lots of them. These worked best on the floor, which, by the way, is subflooring. I did manage to use only one or two brushes per color by putting them in sandwich bags (full of paint), then sticking them in the refrigerator until I needed that color, again. No fuss - no muss, they didn't dry out, week after week after week.
two colors on the subfloor - progress!

Design. Go for it! I drew big circles on the floor (in pencil) then grabbed a brush and started painting inside each circle. I painted all the white in each circle, then all the green, then the blue, etc., ending with the dark brown. I made adjustments as I went along, sometimes painting over areas to alter the design.
lots of color on the subfloor now

Afterthought. It would have been prudent to paint each color with at least two coats before moving onto the next color. I repeat. It would have been prudent to paint two coats before moving on to the next color. Trust me. This will save you from having to paint the entire floor (when you are so over it) a second time, color by color, being ever so careful not to paint over the colors of the other colors. Seems obvious, doesn’t it? Which leads us to…Gin and Tonics. Drink in moderation, folks!

Ergonomics. Hands and knees? No. Leaning on one hand and painting with the other? No. Scootching your butt across the floor from place to place? Yes. Remembering where the paint can is? Brilliant!

Character. At some point, you will tell yourself that a little cat and dog hair mixed in with the paint adds character. It is the floor, after all and no one will notice. At our house, there is so much pet hair covering our floors, even we can't tell which is permanently adhered and which isn't, the cats or the dog?
toebee on the painted floor

Finish. Three coats of polyurethane. Three. Follow the instructions on the can. Be patient about moving your furniture back onto the floor even though your kitchen has a couch in it and you have to long jump into your bedroom. Water-based polyurethane? Loved it!

In conclusion, I would like to dedicate our painted floor to Harley. Had it not been for Harley and her affinity for that one special little corner in our living room, I would have not (in a fit of despair) ripped out the carpet, pad, and subfloor in the first place.