paper floor on concrete slab

A Paper Floor on Concrete

It sounds crazy, but doing a paper floor is a viable and extremely cost effective option for flooring. Most people assume our floors are stained concrete but there are many potential looks possible.

There are lots of reasons to do paper floors. And there are also lots of reasons not to. We were about to install flooring when COVID hit and everything shut down. Unsure what to expect and how it might impact our income, we decided it was not a good time to spend that money. However, our carpet HAD to go. And we had already started ripping it up and taken time off to install the new flooring. So we needed to come up with a solution quickly. That’s when a friend told us about paper flooring.

Most of the information I found online about it was doing it on wood sub-flooring though, not concrete slab. We needed to cover about 1400 square feet of concrete slab. So we figured, let’s go big or go home and see what happens. We (including our teenager and the pack of dogs that own us) have lived on that floor for over a year now. There is definitely good, bad and ugly. We are going to share what we’ve learned so you can determine if this is a good fit for you. There is so much information so I am going to break this up into multiple parts. I will give supply lists, links and detailed instructions. But for starters, I’m going to discuss some things to consider.

So many paper floor options…

You can create a variety of looks using the same materials. By changing the size and shape of the paper, the color and amount of stain you apply, the way you apply the stain and the pattern (or lack thereof) that you put the paper in you can vary the look. And you can even paint a design on the paper to create a totally unique look. My crazy talented friend, Adrienne, at, painted an amazing floral design on hers that looks like a beautiful (and expensive) rug.

I do not possess that kind of talent AT ALL. However, I can wield a mean ruler on graph paper. So I created a geometric design that we painted using a wash made from the wall colors in the room. I will show you how I did it in a later post.

And, the good news is, you save so much money doing a paper floor, if painting it yourself isn’t your thing, you can contact someone talented like Adrienne and pay them to do it and still come in way under budget.

Definitely time and labor involved but paper floors are very affordable…

Laying a paper floor is very simple and does not require any special skills or fancy tools. But the time and labor involved is not trivial. After hours on your hands and knees, even the fittest will feel it and there are not any significant ways to speed up the drying times involved between steps. However, 1400 square feet cost us around $500. That’s pretty hard to beat!

More durable than you might think….but it’s still a paper floor

This can definitely be a “permanent, temporary solution” but will require some upkeep and repairs. Because you are not likely to have a flawless concrete slab, there will be places prone to rips and tears.

Coupled with the amount of wear and tear your family subjects it to and the weather in your area, you can plan on doing some patching along the way. And when you do patch, or even lay the original floor in sections, the finish never turns out the same and you can tell. I feel like it adds personality and dimension, so it doesn’t bother me. But it may cause some people to develop a nervous tic.

Not slippery, but definitely wrinkly, when wet

When the floors get wet (like puppy accident wet vs wet footprints coming in from the rain) or the weather gets humid, it will wrinkle up and be much more prone to ripping, however, when it dries, it goes back down and is fine. But that might be something to consider if you’re planning on putting it in an area that will get a lot of wet traffic. We have it in a powder bath, which is fine but I’m not sure how well it would fare in a full bath with a tub or shower.

Next time I will cover my LEAST favorite yet, what we learned the hard way, MOST important part, the prep work. But, if you have questions about anything I’ve discussed so far, please let me know and I’ll do my best to answer it. Thanks for reading and I’ll see you back here next time for floor prep!

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