Hardwood floors are beautiful – until they’re not. In many older or long-neglected homes, hardwood floors, nicks, scratches, stains, and years of accumulated life can make them decidedly unattractive. Then there are those times when you want a specific look for a room – and your hardwood floors don’t contribute to the vision. In any case, you can paint hardwood floors any way you like, but you’ll want to be aware of a few pros and cons.
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly About Painting Hardwood Floors
While well-maintained hardwood floors are beautiful, floors that beat up look more like a gymnasium floor than they do a traditional hardwood floor may not be so appealing. In these cases, you may be searching for more creative options.
Some of the benefits of repainting hardwood floors include:
- Ease and Affordability. Refinishing a hardwood floor is a costly endeavor. The wood is stripped, sanded repaired, and then finished – and all of this requires significant time and labor. It also requires a specific skill set, and it’s a rare DIYer who can execute a professional-worthy wood floor refinishing project. Experience, skill, time, and labor costs money. Painting, however, is much easier, it’s much cheaper and can easily become a DIY process.
- You can get creative. There are things you can achieve with a painted floor that cannot be achieved using carpet, tile, or area rugs. Hardwood floors painted white will yield that homey, country cottage look. You can use any colors or patterns you want to create unique designs and specific patterns. None of this is possible with a stained wood floor.
- The ability to highlight a specific living space. Area rugs can do this as well, but then you lose the hardwood below. If you want to keep the hardwood surface but would like to create a defined outline of space, perhaps a colorful border around the master bedroom, fun or funky space in a child’s playroom or an artistic shape or pattern that matches your design vision – all of that can be done using paint.
- It can be used as an accent. You aren’t limited to refinishing or painting; you can have both. Some people opt to refinish and stain the main living areas so the beautiful wood grains shine through. Then, paint can be used as a fun accent in smaller rooms in the house, like the bathroom or laundry room, for a little something different.
- They’re easy to clean. If they are sealed well, painted hardwood floors are easy to clean. The paint seals the grooves in the wood, making them more impervious to dirt, grime, and stains. They can be cleaned with less ceremony and precision than stained and finished hardwood, and they are much easier to touch up if an area fades chips or cracks.
Some of the downfalls of painting hardwood floors include:
- Cracking, chipping, flaking. Your painted floors will be much more likely to paint, chip, and flake. While it’s relatively easy to fix, it might become an irritatingly constant “to-do” on your list.
- Buyer appeal. Many buyers will view your painted wood floors as an expensive restoration project to bring back the natural wood aesthetic, which may affect their interest in your home or the final selling price.
- Sanding and refinishing will cost even more. Should you decide later that you want to sand and refinish your floors back to their natural look, the process will be even more complicated, lengthy and expensive.