Faux Floor Fabulous

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Faux Floor Fabulous
If  you dream of a fantastic designer floor in marble or mahogany but don’t think you can afford it, think again! Good old reliable paint can stand in for the real thing.
Paint is usually associated with walls, so paint on the floor is not the first option that presents itself–especially in a kitchen or bath. After all, floors suffer from a lot of abuse. Heavy things are dropped on them. Water and dirt wears away at them. They endure foot traffic; however, with a solid base, painted floors can stand up to anything that’s throw at them.

Paint on floors offers design flexibility and durability. Faux painting also can replicate the look of almost any surface available at a fraction of the cost, but the true beauty of paint is it can impart a personal, creative touch found in your home alone. For example, a French country bathroom begs for a stenciled, pattern-on-worn-wood look while a sleek, contemporary kitchen calls out for acid-stained concrete with metallic flakes.

Paint can revive a worn surface with a “faux” rug, or paint the entire floor as a canvas to showoff a favorite throw rug. A mural or phrase, painted with care, can welcome your every step. Intimidated by the idea of being creative with paint? A faux or decorative painter can make quick work of any idea you might have and suggest many more. The Web site www.gofaux.com walks you through the process of finding the right decorative painter for your project.

Remember, because paint can be made to look like marble, tile, wood or the largest paisley you can imagine, dream and dream big!

Step-by-Step

Whether you begin with natural or engineered wood, cement, vinyl or linoleum, practically any flooring can be painted. On all surfaces, any old treatment must be removed or modified to accept paint. “The preparation of the surface is important,” says Kristie Larker, assistant product manager at Dutch Boy Paints. “Be sure to use floor paint and the best surface preparation possible.” Proper preparation is essential to creating a floor that can stand up to every day use.

Step 1: Clean

  • Wood: Must be free of varnish or wax.
     
  • Cement: Must be cleaned of all dust, construction glues or drywall paste.
     
  • Vinyl: Should be cleaned with tri-sodium phosphate to remove the glossy finish. Stubborn spots, due to texturing on most vinyl surfaces, need to be sanded. Sanding accompanied by a de-glosser assists with preparation by scuffing the surface so paint will adhere well to the floor.
     
  • Linoleum: Should be removed if it is cracked or chipped. If it’s in good shape, it need only be sanded slightly and cleaned for preparation.

Step 2: Prime
Generally, an oil-based primer is used. A second coat may be needed depending on the condition of the original floor. The manufacturer’s application instructions are important to follow—the primer is the foundation for all following layers, so it must be applied correctly.

Step 3: Create
Next is the decorative layer which is where your personality can shine. Oil- or latex-based paints are used for the decorative coat. Latex is most commonly used because it adheres well to different surfaces and is easy to clean up. For an extra hard, shiny finish, use an oil-based paint.

Step 4: Seal
After the decorative layer of paint is dry, a top layer of floor-quality, clear coat latex or varnish is sometimes applied. Not all floors need one, but a final coat insures the design won’t wear off and any moisture or spills are easily wiped away.

Cement Enhancement
If you’re working with a concrete floor, consider forgoing the idea of paint for a floor stain. Acid staining not only protects and extends the life of your concrete floor; it also creates a stunning surface on old or new concrete. Available in a wide range of colors, stains can be the highly durable solvent-based or acrylic, which creates no fumes.

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