DIY | Sanding and Painting Floors: my top tips for the best results

November 15, 2017

Revamp Restyle reveal hallway makeover, peach geometric colour wall, white painted floors, natural warm neurtral tones interior design (36)

 

Image: Design Soda

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We all have different levels of what we’ll try our hand at around the house, right? Whilst I wouldn’t say that I’m a natural diy-er, I am definitely someone that’s more than a little aghast when I hear the thousands of pounds that getting a decorator in apparently costs. When I hear how much a London decorator or floor sander typically charges, I immediately start envisaging holidays or big ticket items I could buy for the home instead. As a result, I have painted every inch of my home over the last two years from walls, doors, windows and skirting boards to upvc doors, radiators, towel rails, outside walls, fences and floors, if paint is possible there’s a high likelihood that I’ve slapped some on! And as I’m on my third home I’ve picked up a fair few tips (and mistakes along the way). I shared my painting tips for walls a while ago, and today I want to talk about sanding and painting floors.

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DIY Guide Sanding Painting Floors with Farrow Ball Modern Eggshell floorpaint Railings, White and Shadow white (1)

DIY Guide Sanding Painting Floors with Farrow Ball Modern Eggshell floorpaint Railings, White and Shadow white (1)

Images: Design Soda

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It’s one of those jobs that people feel daunted attempting, quite understandably, if I’m honest I’m more than a little scared of the floor sander machines you hire from tool shops myself, and it’s definitely back-breaking ear-splitting hard work. But it’s also one of the most rewarding jobs in terms of transformation. We have sanded four floors in our current home. Out of the rooms we’ve sanded each is different, one is stained mahogany, one is clear sealed, one is painted in a beautiful inky black by Farrow & Ball called Railings and the final floor in our new hallway refresh is a combination of All White and the very pretty Shaded White both from Farrow & Ball. 

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DIY Guide Sanding Painting Floors with Farrow Ball Modern Eggshell floorpaint Railings, White and Shadow white (1)

Image: Design Soda

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So, what are my tips for striping floors and painting them? 

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The Right Tools For The Job:

Well firstly it is choosing the smallest tool you can get away with! If you are doing a whole room then there’s no escaping it you will have to hire an upright floor sander, but if you are doing a hallway an edging sander should suffice and if you are doing stairs then your only option is a hand sander. I bought a hand sander specifically for this purpose when I started the stairs makeover, I expected it to be pretty useless if I’m honest but it was actually a bit of a revelation, it’s not as turbo strong as its industrial counterparts but it holds it own on performance and makes up for the difference in speed with its lightweight usability. 

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DIY Guide Sanding Painting Floors with Farrow Ball Modern Eggshell floorpaint Railings, White and Shadow white (1)

Image: Design Soda

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Sanding Levels:

If you are painting floors then you really don’t need to go as deep as you would on floors that you’re staining, an absolute clean sweep is essential for the visuals of a stained floor, no -one wants to see remnants of Victorian polish on wood grain (though if you promise not to tell anyone I will admit that we may have evidence of polish in corners of the living room behind the tv stand, shh!). This does not apply with floor painting, your aim here, as with all woodwork, is to get a key. I would say you need to sand a lot deeper than on a door or window frame but if you have a small amount of darker areas these will be absolutely fine, so long as you are free of oil or varnish shine the paint will adhere.

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DIY Guide Sanding Painting Floors with Farrow Ball Modern Eggshell floorpaint Railings, White and Shadow white (1)

Image: Design Soda

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Filler Is Your Friend:

Far more so than when staining a floor, gaps can really impact the look of a painted floor. If you are painting a floor White in particular, as I recently did, then those gaps need to be filled either with a hard wood filler (my preferred method, though it does absolutely reek when applied) or a mix of sawdust and glue. Once you’ve filled gaps you will need to lightly sand again to ensure an even surface.

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DIY Guide Sanding Painting Floors with Farrow Ball Modern Eggshell floorpaint Railings, White and Shadow white (1)

 

DIY Guide Sanding Painting Floors with Farrow Ball Modern Eggshell floorpaint Railings, White and Shadow white (1)

Images: Design Soda

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Paint Matters:

Now the fun part, the paint which after all your hard work is the transformation stage. Now I’ve said this many times before but I’ll say it again in the hope that I don’t bore you all to death but the paint you choose really matters and investing in a high quality paint brand is a a no-brainer for me. My favoured brand is Farrow & Ball, in fact of the four floors I’ve painted over the last decade I’ve never trusted anybody else. I know that Farrow & Ball paint is durable, but I also love the colour options you get within their gorgeous colour range. On the two floors I’ve painted in the new house I used two coats of undercoat (dark tones in the bedroom and light tones in the hallway) followed by two topcoats of the colours I loved.

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DIY Guide Sanding Painting Floors with Farrow Ball Modern Eggshell floorpaint Railings, White and Shadow white (1)

Images: Design Soda

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Be Adventurous!:

As with all paint decisions I massively advocate stepping outside of the traditional and going with your gut instinct. I knew that in the bedroom I wanted to go for a dark inky shade that was almost black but not as flat as true black. I chose Railings from Farrow & Ball and I really couldn’t be happier with the result. If you are going dark don’t just stop at the floor, paint the skirting too, it will bring the line of the wall and the floor together really elegantly whilst adding impact. For the hallway I really wanted the clean lines of white as there’s quite a bit of interest going on on the walls so I plumped for Modern Eggshell in All White but crucially I added a punch of a light neutral colour blocking on the stairs, drawing a line with decorators tape and filling the central belt where a runner would go with a gorgeous neutral called Shaded White. Plain white would have felt a little sterile to me, so this lightest touch of colour and warmth to the stairs was just what I needed to take the palette up a notch. I have said it before, but it’s advice that bears repeating, follow your instinct with colour and you won’t be disappointed. 

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Revamp Restyle reveal hallway makeover, peach geometric colour wall, white painted floors, natural warm neurtral tones interior design (36)

Image: Design Soda

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So that’s it, my best tips for painting floors, if you do decide to paint your own floors this task may feel like a huge undertaking but its reward is immense, good luck! 

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Revamp Restyle reveal hallway makeover, peach geometric colour wall, white painted floors, natural warm neurtral tones interior design (36)

Image: Design Soda

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I was very kindly gifted all of the paint used in this piece for flooring from Farrow & Ball. As ever, all opinions are honest and my own. 

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