D-O-N-E spells done!
My frugal floor, that is…
Here are the materials and costs:
- Giant roll of kraft paper from the paint section at Home Depot – $9.50
- Gallon of glue from the teacher supply store – $15.00
- Minwax Polyshades (to achieve that non-paper bag look) – $12
- Minwax Clear Polyurethane for floors – $42
Total cost: $78.50
Plus, I have enough materials to do a second room. So technically the cost for this one room is only $39.25.
The time factor however, was a different story.
- Scraping off the old carpet goo – 8 hours
- Cutting and wrinkling up all that paper – 2 hours
- Gluing the paper to the floor – 7 hours
- Two coats of tinted poly – 3 hours (it was fiddly)
- Two coats of clear poly – 1.5 hours
Total time: 21.5 hours
I mostly used this tutorial, but here’s what I did differently:
- I cut my paper into equally sized strips and laid them in a brick pattern.
- I was laying this paper on a concrete sub-floor, so I had to work a lot harder to get each paper strip to lay flat and not be so wrinkled. The best method I came up with was pulling each paper strip flat while it was still wet. After painting on the glue and securing it to the floor, I grabbed one edge of the paper and peeled it up, gently pulling it straight while the other edge remained affixed to the floor. I then continued to gently pull it straight as I secured it to the floor again. It’s kind of like re-stretching it after the initial wrinkling. The pieces wrinkled back up again after this step, but in the end they dried flat. I did not use this method on my first row, and it never flattened out. Definitely worth the extra effort.
- After the glue was dry (about 12 hours later), I painted on the first coat of Minwax Polyshades (I used the color Tudor) with a foam brush. This step took some extra care too. You can’t just slop it on, you need to finesse it to get a nice even coat.
- When the first coat of Polylshades was dry, I rubbed the floor with steel wool, and applied a second coat of Polyshades to get it even darker. DON’T skip the steel wool step between colored coats. I started without it, and learned my lesson. The steel wool helps the second coat go on smoother and darker.
- After the second coat of Polyshades was dry, I followed up with 3 coats of clear, floor-grade polyurethane. I used Minwax brand just to make sure the two products were compatible. I chose a satin finish, but I wished I had chosen gloss. I think it would look richer.
- Have a lot of wide foam brushes on hand, they are really useful for all that polyurethane, and you won’t ruin your expensive paint brushes.
- I tested several methods of staining before I decided to use the Polyshades. I tried mixing regular stain with glue in a cup, I tried applying regular stain directly to the dry paper, and I tried applying regular stain on top of wet glue…but the Polyshades worked the best for an even color coat.
- I had to heavily patch my concrete floor before doing this. There was a crack down the middle of the room, and divots around the perimeter from pulling up my carpet tack. The paper didn’t adhere as well to the locations where the concrete patch was. Just a warning.
- This project made my house very stinky. My husband did a lot of sneezing. It was all in the name of my frugal floor. I’m glad he loves me. If you’re sensitive to smells, you may want to use a low-voc or no-odor polyurethane for the clear coat.
The faux wood look was not my intention, but I’m not complaining! I’m really quite happy with the results.
[Update: my son has been living in this room for six months now and the floor is still holding up great! We learned to be delicate with it when moving the furniture in – a few scratches occurred, but nothing tragic. He pretty much only sleeps in here, so it doesn’t get a lot of wear and tear, and we have a rug in the middle of the room covering a good portion of the floor. In theory it should be easy to repair if it does get torn, just touch up with poly or throw another piece of paper down. I’ll let you know if we get to that point. All in all I’m happy we chose this route, though I still haven’t found the motivation to tackle room #2 :)]
Thanks for reading. Let me know if you have any questions.