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Painting Parquet Floors

susankasprzak's picture

I'm inspired by the H & H video re: painting hardwood floors. I'm wanting to do same to my parquet floors. In the video, it states to sand floors. Is it necessary to sand away all of the existing finish?


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Shaina Khan's picture
Shaina Khan

I was also looking for the solution, nice sharing.. thanks

hoopgrfghrtfhb22's picture

You may think just putting some primer on first would be sufficient, but for the most part primers aren't suitable for floors (I.E. Not durable enough to be walked on) so the best thing to do is just sand it all down. floor sanding

Nestor_Kelebay's picture

No, it is not necessary to sand all of the polyurethane off the parquet  before painting.  The whole idea of sanding is not to remove the polyurethane, but to increase it's surface area.  By providing more surface area for your paint to grip, you increase the apparant adhesion of the paint to the floor.
If you find that it's too much work to sand the floor down yourself, any place listed under "Janitorial Services" in your Yellow Pages phone book will sand the floor down with a floor machine.  The charge to do that work shouldn't be very high as the Janitorial Service sector of the economy tends to pay their employees minimum wage.  The following picture shows a person sanding a gymnasium floor down with a floor machine connected to a vaccuum cleaner.  The floor machine is turning a sandpaper disk and the vaccuum cleaner is drawing in all the dust created.  Double click on the thumbnail to see a larger picture.
 Janitor sanding a gymnasium floor with a floor machineJanitor sanding a gymnasium floor with a floor machine
You should also be aware that you need a paint that dries to a HARD film to provide good service on a working surface like a floor.  Typically paint companies will use their hardest drying polyurethane paint as a floor paint, but normally the colour selection is very limited.  Typically, floor paints will come in only 4 colours; light grey, dark grey, navy blue and brown.
If you can't find a colour you like in a polyurethane floor paint, then use an INTERIOR oil based paint.  Regardless of what the advertising says, latex paints are simply too soft to stand up well on a floor.
And, there's something you need to know about paint:
On a paint tinting machine, you'll typically find about 12 canisters with different "colourants" in each one.  The carrier fluid in those colourants will be glycerine.  They use glycerine as the carrier fluid because it's equally soluble in both water and mineral spirits, so the same colourants (and hence the same tinting machine) can be used to tint both latex and oil based paints.
The problem with using an interior oil based paint and just tinting it to the colour of your choice is that the more colourant you add, the more glycerine will be in the paint.  Glycerine evaporates very slowly, so the more heavily the paint is tinted, the longer it will take to dry.  This is obviously an important consideration because you can't walk on a painted floor until it's fully dry.  You can, however, help speed the drying process along by using an electric heater with a fan.  If you put the heater in a doorway to circulate warm air in the room, that will help any paint dry faster.  And, of course, you can paint one half of the floor first, and then the other.
If you can't find a floor paint in a colour you like, you might also want to look in your Yellow Pages phone directory under "Industrial Coatings".  Most of these places will provide powder coating services, but several will sell moisture cure polyurethanes and epoxy floor paints for warehouse and factory floors.  You may be able to get an extremely durable floor paint made to the colour you want from one of these places.  I don't know that the colourants used in moisture cure and epoxy coatings contain glycerine.
Still, if you can get a janitorial service to sand the polyurethane off your floor entirely, you might be best off just refinishing your floor.  That's always going to look better than a painted floor.

Flip's picture

Did you refinish your parquet floors yourself or have them professionally done?  If it was done professionally, where did you find the refinishers?
We are ripping up our old carpeting and want to restain our parquet a little darker than the old yellowy finish that is there now.
Thanks for your help.

Idbeolderifiwas's picture

Yes, if you're going to paint your floors you definitely need to sand off the old finish. You may think just putting some primer on first would be sufficient, but for the most part primers aren't suitable for floors (I.E. Not durable enough to be walked on) so the best thing to do is just sand it all down, or have someone sand it for you if it's too much work. you could also look into renting a floor sanding machine to take it down to the wood.

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