Paper on concrete with dark stain

Staining Paper Floors- Crossing the Finish Line!

You are in the home stretch, staining and sealing your paper floors!

Heavier or lighter coats of the same stain result in a variety of looks.

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Paint pad- we wrapped this in an old cotton shirt so any kind will work. (But I do like the Shur-Line brand for painting)-

Lambswool paint pad-

Paint tray-

2 x extension pole/broom stick/anything long you can attach a paint pad to

Cotton cloth- old t-shirt, dish towel, etc. This will be covered in stain so don’t use anything you want to keep

Water based polyurethane for floors-

Before you pour that stain or paint, check the perimeter of your floor and make sure none of the paper is lifting up. It’s easy to assume that once you put the quarter round down, it will hold the paper down. However, it really doesn’t and the loose edges lead to far more tearing than you would think. If any of your edges have lifted, saturate them with the glue mixture, make sure they lay down and let them dry. Once that’s done, you’re ready to go!

Let’s get staining!

Now that you have the paper down, it’s time to add the finishing touches AND THEN YOU’RE DONE!! Staining and sealing your paper floors is simple but also slow. You have a few options at this point before you seal it:

  1. Leave the paper the way it is This option is simple, you can skip to the bottom and seal your floor.
  2. Paint a design on your floor You are only limited by your imagination here! First decide if you want the background to be the unstained paper or a stained color. This will determine whether you need to start painting now or after you have stained and waited for the stain to dry. If you’re not sure, I’m happy to help you figure it out. Please reach out to me.
  3. Stain the paper to create your desired look Using the lambswool paint pad on an extension pole with the stain in a paint tray, one of us would apply the stain. Then, with an old cotton t-shirt wrapped around a paint pad on the other extension pole, the other would come along behind, smooth out the strokes and wipe to the desired color. This can be done by one person but we worked best as a team. The drying time on the stain was the longest waiting time in the entire process. Even with fans on it, we found that each coat took almost a full 24 hours to dry. Let the stain dry until it is no longer tacky. One coat may be enough to reach your desired effect, however, you may require additional coats. Keep that in mind when you are budgeting your time because each coat will add an extra day to your timeline.
With a darker stain- you can see where I did a terrible job blending the roller strokes but it is under a rug that is under the bed so, either way, it isn’t visible.

Seal it up!

The final step after sealing your paper floor is to seal it up with a good water based polyurethane for floors. There are different finishes available that will determine if and how glossy your floor turns out. We used Varathane by Rust-Oleum in the gloss finish. We also used the brand available at Home Depot and had good luck with both.

Each coat should be a good, solid coat but not so thick that it takes you days just to get three or four coats down. We used a paint roller and had good luck with that. I also know of people attaching one of the brushes used to apply the glue to an extension pole and applying it that way. I think this boils down to a personal preference between the two.

It is critical during this step to make sure you put on PLENTY of coats. Each coat only takes around an hour to dry (but obviously can vary depending on your climate) so it is possible to get quite a few coats on in a day. If you are putting your floors in an area that gets any real amount of traffic you should not go with less than 12 coats. We tried to cheat on this and we paid for it. We were more generous with the coats and put more of them down in the first room we did and it has held up noticeably better than the rooms where we thought we could go with less.

And there you have it, stained, sealed and finished paper floors! Please let me know if you have any questions and enjoy your new floors!

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