Interiors // Painting Wooden Floorboards {DIY guide}

February 27, 2019

We've been busy starting our new renovation project over the past couple of weeks, and it's a super exciting one - the nursery for our baby bee! It's not at all finished yet but the first stage, of getting the floorboards prepped and painted, is done so I wanted to share a tutorial. 

This room used to be a spare room, and we've never really done much with it. Just put carpet down, plastered and painted the walls cream after we'd moved in until we knew what to do with this room {and one day hoped that we'd be using it as a nursery}. I knew that I wanted painted white floors in here from the start as a base for the nursery {my Mum & Ben tried to convince me to stick with carpet as it would 'feel warmer' for a baby's room, but I just had this interior image of white floors and couldn't be budged - also lots of people have said how practical/wipeable floorboards are with young children, and we'll put a big rug down}. 

We have painted white floorboards in our bathroom and whenever I post a photo of them, I get asked about how we did it. We actually had a decorator do them for us so I didn't really ever get around to writing a full DIY post on them. This time, we've done it ourselves and thought I'd share the process step by step. 

First up, lifting up the carpet to check on the state of the boards underneath. {when we first got the keys to our house, this was the very first thing we did in the other bedrooms, SO hopeful and excited at the thought of original boards we could sand underneath, you never know what you'll get with old houses}. 

They were actually so much better than we remembered, we'd only carpeted over them about 18 months earlier with just a few adjustments to make before prep could be started on them.

The main things to look for are if you have any long lines going across the floorboards, from where plumbers/electricians have a habit of just cutting straight across instead of carefully lifting boards. And any damage that would need filling or moving around. 

The first thing to do is remove as many tacks/staples/nails that are in the floorboards before you sand/paint them. We'd done a lot of this work during our first stage of renovations, but had given up at that time as knew we would be carpeting over it. 

It's a long, back aching, job but worthwhile to avoid damaging the sander/getting them under your feet.

Next, my husband played jigsaw with the boards, we had some in the hallway that would always be covered with carpet, that we could swap around to get the best boards {to hide the holey boards or damaged ends}. If you have any damage to replace and don't have any spare to use from your own house, you can try to pick up spare boards in a similar size online, eBay or a wood reclamation yard.

We had this line ^ above, where all the boards were cut in the same place that Ben wanted to mix around the room for aesthetics. 

Because ours were tongue and grooved, we had to cut some of the tongues off to be able to lift and move the boards {we used the multi tool in these photos}. 

Once all the boards were repositioned and laid again, it was time to sand them. 

You can hire industrial sanders, like we did for the bedrooms that we were keeping bare wood, but for this room where they'd be painted, we used a handheld belt sander because we just needed to take the shine off, and create a key for the paint to adhere to. So you don't need to go crazy sanding layers off. 

Next, we used a primer undercoat to cover them with 2 or 3 coats. We had to do it in stages as had furniture to move around the room.

Once it was primed, you can see the imperfections better - holes etc, so filled the imperfections with a two part filler. 

Side note - be prepared for the sheer amount of dust when sanding floors. Our walls and every surface were COVERED.

And then lightly sanded it again before the second coat of primer undercoat. 

Our floorboards were black so we had to use 3 coats of primer undercoat. At this stage, we realised that the gaps between the boards were not how we wanted them {some were too close to each other, and others too big} so Ben ran a plunge saw set to a depth of 8mm along the narrow joints to create the appearance of larger/more even gaps. We had to do this in our bathroom a couple of years back too. 

Finally, it was time for the exciting part. PAINTING! You'll want to use specific floorpaint so that it will withstand the wear and tear. And be aware that in high traffic areas, like a hallway/kitchen/lounge that it is likely to wear over time. 

We used this ^, that we found in our local B&Q store. 

You can use a paint pad or roller on it, depending on your preference.

- make sure you hoover all the dust up first to avoid it settling on the fresh paint. {this felt like such a cute day of parenting for us, we'd had our first hypnobirthing session and then prepped the nursery!}

It needed around three more coats of floor paint to get the required coverage.

And then it was done! {loook how dusty the walls are in this photo!} 

All shiny and new. We're still busy renovating this room so may need to do one more coat at the end to freshen it up, and we might also put a lacquer on top to protect it further.

But I'm SO happy with the end result and can't wait to finish everything else in here now. - side note, you should seeee the state of this room right now, it looks like a workshop full of tools and sawdust for finishing some other upstairs renovations before the proper nursery transformation can begin! 

Back soon with more progress.

Hope that helps. Let me know if you have any questions.

R <3 xx 

You Might Also Like


@rvk_loves on Instagram