Thursday, 9 March 2017

Painting our Floorboards

When we first got the house to ourselves I was a little bit giddy with lofty interior plans (quite literally actually: at one point the loft was to become a Moroccan style living space).  Now that we've discussed plans and checked our bank balances, everything is a little more settled and realistic. No Moroccan loft dream-house (I know right?), no open plan ground floor and no ripping up the fireplace.

BUT we have ripped up the carpets. If you've read about my interior design preferences before, you'll know all about my spiteful relationship with carpets. I take issue with the fact that you can't wipe them down and I find the lack of footstep noise disconcerting. Is someone sneaking up behind you? Is there anyone else in the house? How did I even get to the other side of this room? Who knows!? If you, dear reader, are a carpet lover then please ignore these moans as a stubborn floorboard-loving hippie. Luckily, this hippie is allowed to make this house a home and that means out with the stained carpets. Yippie!

Disclaimer 1: None of the work described in this post was completed by me. Literally none. I made cups of tea, provided chocolate biscuits, and generally oohed and aahed whilst by lovely Dad and lovely boyfriend completed all the work. I would also like to point out here that I am a feminist and believe that men and women are both fully capable of DIY. The thing is though, I am a clumsy, accident-prone feminist and also a perfectionist with limited strength (I know, it's sickening). 

Some of the wobbly boards needed to be taken up and screwed back down, some were swapped around to hide dodgy bits and large holes were filled. All the staples, pins and sticking up nails were pulled up or banged down. If we were stripping the floor we would have to bang down all the nails or the sandpaper would be ripped to shreds. But we're not. We're painting it.

Disclaimer 2: I have read forums on painting floors, I've read paint reviews, I've spoken to people on Instagram and in person and the world seems to be divided. Are painted floors a scandi-chic interior statement that's easy-breezy to maintain and the envy of all your neighbours? Or is it a hoover-rage inducing dirt trap that scratches if you so much as sneeze near it and needs repainting every four and a half minutes. I honestly couldn't tell you. All I know is that it's a lot cheaper than hiring a floor stripper or a floor stripper person and I love the look of them. My first ever bedroom had a blue-grey painted floor. It's nostalgic. Furthermore, I am a great believer in the power of prep work, as is my Dad who is a painter-decorator-carpenter all round professional make-it-look-better-er. So there.

After the floors were free of nails and the boards were properly secured down they needed to be sanded. I know what you're thinking - if we're painting the boards anyway, why do we need to sand them? It's the same as if you were to paint a piece of furniture: you have to prep the surface first for the paint to fully adhere and create a strong surface. Raised areas of paint and dirt need to be flattened and cleaned with a sander to get the best possible finish. This doesn't need to be completed with a floor stripper though, just an electric hand held sander (with a 60 grit) and a few rubs downs here and there with sandpaper.

We made sure that the floor was hoovered twice and that all dirt and dust was eradicated before starting to paint. 

Farrow and Ball is my favourite paint company. I love their dirty heritage colour range and think their paint is heavenly to apply with a beautiful finish. It's pretty pricey but we've only so far used Brilliant White all over the walls, all of which so far has been given to us so it made sense to splash a little cash here (however painful). After testing seven colours on the floor we decided on Purbeck Stone: a  warm soft grey.

Tom and I shuffled around the room with a brushes and then my Dad whizzed across each board with a roller. The paint applied beautifully.


We left the first coat to dry for a few hours and then painted a second coat. It was pretty clear that we would only be needing two coats, leaving lots of paint left for the rest of downstairs. We bought five litres but only used about a litre.

The room looks beautiful and we cannot wait to fill it with furniture. The untold story about redecorating a room though, is the avalanche of chaos that befalls the other rooms... presenting our current 'dining room':


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