Sunday, January 13, 2013

Saving old floorboards - part 3, painted checkerboard floor.

Never in a million years, did I think I would ever paint any floorboards white! 
We did in the past, almost paint the bathroom white top to bottom, but chickened out at the eleventh hour. Must admit, I felt a bit sick in the stomach at the the thought of doing this. I just wanted to paint the hallway, Mr CH had other ideas.

There is a method in the madness of using a 5 inch foam roller to paint a room this size. One - I just dunked the roller straight from the can to the floor and two - we wanted a thin flat coat with minimal dimpling. (A bit tricky using a bigger roller across the hallway space as well) If foam rollers came a bit bigger, I would have used one. The paint we used was Accent, which is Mitre 10's home (own) brand paint. We chose not to use an oil based undercoat (which is preferable for bare wood), opting for the water based acrylic instead, because of the lengthy drying time of the oil-based (not particularly good with a house full, home on holidays), minimal odour, water wash up, our floorboards are well seasoned and because we already had some on hand. We intended to apply two coats.

Patchy first coat.

After the second coat of undercoat. Two coats in one day, dried overnight.

 Did you notice the uninspiring grey peeping out from under the greeny walls where the skirting goes, looks kind of dirty next to the white. Our walls and ceilings were painted in it when we bought the house. We called it "Doctor's surgery grey". Must say it had such a negative effect on me in those early days before we painted over it. Wall colour is Dulux - Haitian, if you were wondering, one of those strange colours that appears cool in summer and cosy in the subdued winter light. Has been on for 12 years and we are not in a hurry to change it. Love it. Males that visit seem to like it a lot, are females more fashion conscious?

All feeling a bit like this, in this weather!

Top coat of Accent Premium gloss white (base white)


  How to paint a checkerboard floor.

You didn't think we were going to stop with a white floor did you?
 While I like the whole checkered floor look, I didn't want the harshness of black and white in our old cottage. So we thought something a little lighter would suit. Won't bore you with the how-to's just here, look at the end of this post if you are interested.

Measuring and marking out the grid in the hallway first.

That's our square paper template in the corner.

Add diagonals (495mm) together and use a tape measure to get accurate marks and parallel lines, rather than ruler-to-ruler.

The start of a long day.

 Mr CH making pretty patterns.

Testing out the hopscotch potential.

The tape we used, worth getting the good stuff (made in Canada). High tack tape (try saying that fast a few times)  Get the " mucha adhesion" rating.

 The candy colour I chose was Dulux - Iceburg.
 (Inspiration from the current powder-blue shower curtain)

 Peel the tape off each square as you go to prevent a dry edge forming. If you get any paint bleeding now would be the best time to clean up.

Sorry these pics are a bit weird in colour, think the white balance was on the wrong spot and the gloom of late afternoon.

Another few steps yet to come, next time...

 If you're interested I've drawn a rough mud map on how to draw out the grid for taping. Mr CH does the  Google Sketchup, I don't.

1                                                    2                                                   3

  • We cut out a paper template 350mm x350mm for the size of our square. It's worth seeing the size lying on the floor before you commit. Measuring across the diagonal gave us the 495mm used as our spacing.
  • A string line from the front door to the back of the room was our starting point. We wanted to start with a full square in the most visual spot (and luckily happened to end in a full square)
  • You could use a chalk line if you don't mind cleaning the chalk off before painting.
  • We made made marks along the string line, then used a straight edge ( piece of aluminium from the old shower screen) to join the marks to form one line from the front door to the back.
  •  Measure 495mm out from the line and draw parallel lines across the room, we did the hallway first. pic 2 
  • Measure in 495mm increments along the first line. pic 1
  • Use a builder's square or Pythagoras to mark the first point on the other line (which is really the second point away from the doorway)  pic 3 
               4                                                  5                                                   6                

  • mark out increments of 495mm along all parallel lines, using a builder's square for the first point only per line, and a tape measure for the others. Helps to keep things accurate.pic 4
  • use a straight edge to draw diagonals through all your points. pic 5
  • The advantage of doing it this way, is you don't need to rub out any pencil lines or marks as you paint over  them. pic 6
  • also lay the tape to the slight outside of the lines so they are covered by paint.
  • Press your fingernail along the edge of the tape as it helps prevent paint bleeding
  • knee pads would be good!


  1. AWESOME Simmone and Mr CH! Love it! Whoever said "blue and green must never be seen" obviously had NO idea!

  2. I LOVE all the images of white floors in those Scandinavian houses. I also like the look of limed floorboards as well, but my four boys would have them scuffed-up in no time. Can't wait to get into our place and have (relatively) easy care timber floorboards under our feet - the carpet in our unit is slowly getting trashed. xx

  3. Wow, it looks stunning.. You have great patience. I love the look..xx

  4. *bang*! Did you hear that?! That was my jaw dropping on the floor. You are so brave and it looks so professional! Yep, I will be back to see more of your daring reno work. xxxx

  5. Crazy house I love you!!
    I have been wanting to do check floors in my sewing room-turned craft room-turned-kitty litter box-room for ages. (If it looks prettier I am thinking I may go in there more} Mr.MS is sitting right here and I am printing off your post and making him read it and absorb it and promise me to do it: Using the persuasion only a wife can pull off. I love those floors, hard core! {that's American for "a super lot" }


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...