how to paint your subflooring

i hate carpet. carpet & i are not friends. 

if i were the captain on a kickball team, i'd pick carpet last. actually, i wouldn't pick carpet at all. i'd make carpet cry & sit on the sidelines.

those are my thoughts on carpet.

so when we first walked into this house, i told my sweet & loving husband that we had to get rid of this carpet, like, yesterday. one year later, we pulled it up. the thing is, you never know what you'll find underneath.

we found wood. wood painted at least four different colors. wood with holes bigger than a half dollar. wood separated at the seam to reveal the dirty crawlspace beneath. uneven & dirty wood.

we spent hours scrubbing, sealing, sweating, sweeping, & painting.

it was worth it, friends.

hello, charcoal gray painted wood subfloors!

no, it isn't sustainably harvested & fair-trade bamboo, but it's also not carpet & it makes me happy.

instead of waiting for your dreamy farmhouse kitchen, pull off the kitchen cabinet doors right now & paint those brown cabinets white. instead of waiting until you have enough money saved up for hardwood floors, pull up the carpet right now & paint the subflooring your favorite color. 

make it your own even if it isn't magazine worthy. it will make you happy & that's worth more than a magazine spread any day of the week.

(i love this. read this.)

 set aside a few days & paint your subflooring. while you're waiting for paint to dry, binge watch orange is the new black at your in-law's house.

step-by-step instructions on how to paint subflooring:

1. gather your supplies. you'll need: high grade interior paint with primer, polyurethane for floors, paint rollers, lambswool paint roller, paint brush, paint trays, paint tape, pliers (as shown above in the photo), crowbar, plaster & x-acto knife.

2. pull up your carpet & the pad underneath. we used an x-acto knife to tear the carpet in a straight line for easy rolling & discarding. 

3. remove all staples & nails from the subflooring. we used a crowbar & pliers. this job is very tedious, but you must be thorough in order to make sure your floor is completely smooth & hazardous-free.

4. once all staples & nails are removed, thoroughly scrub, wipe & sweep floors. your floors will need to be completely clean before applying paint.

5. using painter's tape, apply tape along the baseboards of your floor.

6. once your floors are completely clean & tape has been applied to the baseboards, apply the first coat of paint in your choice of color using a paint roller. you may need to use a paintbrush to paint the borders of your floor. once your first coat of paint is completely dry, apply a second coat. you may need to wait up to 12 hours before applying the second coat of paint.

7. once two layers of paint (or more) have been applied to the floor & you're satisfied with the color, apply your first coat of polyurethane using the lambswool paint roller. you must use a lambswool paint roller with polyurethane to avoid bubbling. 

8. once the first layer of polyurethane has been painted & completely dry, apply your second coat of polyurethane. 

9. once both coats of polyurethane are completely dry, remove the painter's tape & celebrate your hard work!

additional notes: 
- it took us two full days to complete this job from start to finish.

- the total cost was about $250 - much cheaper than hardwood floors!

- purchase high quality supplies to ensure your hard work will last.

- we were very hesitant at first to paint our floors such a dark color because we had heard the darker color was more difficult to clean. the color actually matches our dogs' fur perfectly & the two coats of polyurethane prevent dust & footprints from sticking to the floor. don't skip out on applying the polyurethane!

what upcoming home projects do you have planned? i'd love to read your ideas on making your home your own without breaking the bank!

credit: i get questions about that "happy home" pillow (in the top photo) all of the time. it's from tiny prints & i'm just a wee bit obsessed over it. get getcha one!


Anonymous said...

It looks perfect!
I mean, who likes carpet?

Tonya said...

I love this! I so wish I had the freedom to decoratemy house like i want. I keep telling myself soon, very soon.

Unknown said...

yes to this! when we pulled up our carpet, our floors were so bad we had to do something immediately. no subflooring for us! but we got snap-together wood flooring, made it work, and i'm so happy we have no more carpet! yay for DIY!!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this inspiration. We Americans need to lose the "I want it perfect and I want it NOW!" syndrome. It is killing marriages and relationships everywhere. Let's get thoughtful and creative with our dreams. Let's adopt an "Ok, I can't do that....but what CAN I do with hard work and a little cash?" attitude. Having tons of $ actually bypasses the creative seed we all have inside. Don't forget to ask the Lord for creativity. Yep, we ask Him to provide other things. I'll bet He would love to answer that prayer. Afterall, He did some mighty fine creating!

shanna said...

Looks stunning! One question I have on the gaps in the floors (because I've seen this come up in so many houses we've thought about buying and have wondered what to do)... did you just leave the gaps, exposing crawl space underneath? Does something you're applying them in?

shanna said...

*fill them in

Natalie Freeman said...

shanna, we filled in the gaps & holes with plaster, smoothed it out & then painted over it.

Heidi Joe said...

Looks awesome, Natalie! You have a beautiful home, I love when you share photos of your space. Amazing job. (And to have done all that in the heat of summer, no less. Kudos!)

Jessica K said...

A-to the-MEN on the carpet hatred! I love the dark floor! It looks great!

Jess said...

good work, guys!!! looks wonderful! we have carpet in the bedrooms of our house, and while I think they're okay for now considering my kids are always doing acrobatics in their rooms, I do want to get rid of them in a few years and this is a great how-to!

Unknown said...

LOVE the new floors! Can you come to my house? I'll pay your travel expenses!:-)

summerlily said...

The floors look beautiful!!!! We have green 1970's carpet going up our stairs and in one room - I would love to do this in my house!

Lauren Hooker said...

Your house truly is one of the cutest, most creative homes I've ever seen. You are so talented!

Anonymous said...

Guard your heart from entertainment like Orange is the New Black! Floors look great leaving this anonymous just because I'm embarrassed to be outraged about orange is the new black. But I am! And I love and respect you. So I had to weigh in.

Jen said...

Our subfloors are plywood so this wouldn't work here. :( Our entire house is carpeted except for the kitchen and bathrooms, and although I love the look of yours, I do think carpet is so cozy, especially in the bedroom and living room in the winter. And how do you clean all the different surfaces easily?

Kassie said...

Love how it turned out! SOOOO much better than carpet!

Holly said...

Amazed it took no more than 2 days!

Elise said...

Love, love, love your floors painted!!! I am having a slow moment, but is the subflooring just put on top of floor joists{like I know what I'm talking about-ha!}, so that air and bugs could come up thru the holes and cracks originally? I ask, because I have no idea what flooring is under our bedroom carpet, but we are also on a crawl space. I would love to paint our floors, as well. Thanks so much for always being so gracious and sharing!

Susan said...

Lovely space. And I totally agree that we need to love the space we are in and not wait to enjoy the place where our hearts rest.

Natalie Freeman said...

elise, yes that's correct! that's why you have to make sure you fill all of the cracks & holes!!

Elise said...

Thanks so much!

Jenid said...

Your flooring looks beautiful. We did the same with the floorboards in our last home. We only had dark floors in one room though, the rest we left natural. Can I ask if your beautiful charcoal grey floors are hard to keep clean? Mine tended to show every speak of dust and cat hair!


Unknown said...

I have a home built in the early 1900's. We have beautiful original hardwood downstairs and this post is giving me the itch to pull up the carpet in the upstairs!

Unknown said...

Gorgeous! I love the look of the subflooring, with the glossy paint and all. You really made painting it sound so easy. I'm going to recommend those steps to a friend who is having trouble with their old, scarred floors. Thank you so much for sharing! Cheers!

Pat Ballard @ Cheap Floors

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