renovation :: boys’ room floor solution; tutorial
Thursday, January 6, 2011 by {darlene}

checker board painted sub-floor

This week I am continuing to post about our future boys’ room. For the beginnings of this project, click here.

Tomorrow, I will be revealing my first Design Board here at Fieldstone Hill, which includes my vision for our boys’ shared room.

When we decided to finish off the space above the addition, to make way for our own addition, one of our biggest challenges was the flooring. Everyone knows that carpet is one of the cheapest options, but I did not want to go this route.

Reason number one: At the time, we had an older cat. I did not want our house to have that smell. moving on.

Reason number two: I am not really a huge carpet fan. I feel like they only look clean for about 2 years, and the rest of your years are spent pining for the good old days, when your carpet looked good.

Reason number three: Although carpet is the cheapest, it was not cheap enough! Especially with the amount of square footage {approx 23’x 22′}.  Since we were not counting on finishing this room originally, every single finishing step in this room was an extra cost {especially the closets}. So, I had to get creative.

So, I got my creative juices flowing and this is what I came up with:

This is not a ‘hardwood floor.’ In fact, we did this on the subfloor!

Here is how.
One:  First, our contractor installed best-quality subfloor throughout the room:

Two: Then, our next step was to fill-in and sand down the seams, using a wood caulk:

Three: Next step: I drew out a pattern that I wanted. I decided on even 3′ squares, set at the diagonal. Set off by a solid border, 4.25″, around the edge of the room {you can see this in the pics above}.Four: The next step was to trim out the border with painter’s tape, and paint the entire room in your lightest color. For us, that was the soft white. We used exterior floor paint.Five: Next, after the floor has dried for several days, draw out the squares in preparation for painting. We had our painter do this. In order to draw your squares, measure where the center of the room is and make that the center of your middle square. Work out from there, keeping all of your squares the same size. Your pattern will likely get chopped off at the edges. Scroll back up to the pics above… I think it looks fine. Especially when set off by the border. If you want to size your squares to fit your room perfectly, you will need to do a mathematical equation. Can’t help you there :)

I chose not to use painters’ tape to draw out the squares, since I was doing the painting and I have a really steady hand. Instead, we used a light pencil mark that we just painted over. However, if you were to tape, you should tape off the outside edge of one color of your darker color squares.

Six: Next step: Paint your dark squares. Again, we used exterior floor paint in a grey blue. Allow that to dry completely.
*tip: You may discover that being flexible, or being a yogi, will come in handy when painting your squares.

Six:Final step: Seal it. Since it will get heavy traffic, seal the floor with a clear, water-based polyurethane.

*tip:  Before installing the doors, we trimmed the bottom of the closet doors a bit higher to accomodate a future floor in the future, if need be.

Seven:Final final step: If you are not 9 months pregnant when doing this {which I also do not recommend}, you will need a martini. But it is so worth the effort!

So there you have it. Please let me know if you {or your painter} attempts this project. I must say, it became an unexpected show stopper in our home, as well as an excellent, super-cheap solution for flooring.

Be sure to stop by tomorrow to see my first Design Board reveal. I am excited!



Love renovations? For more ‘renovation’ posts, click here.

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Labeled: before and after, project, renovation


  • Oh, my goodness! I love your floor!! The carpet in our bonus room is horrible! This might just be an option! Thanks for sharing!!

  • allenaim photography and design

    It looks fantastic!!! You are WAY more patient than I…it must have taken forever to get all the lines exactly right…you are amazing girl!

  • totally fantastic. It is a show stopper for sure!

  • Gorgeous! I found your blog at the Inspired Room in your comment. I look forward to seeing what's to come!

  • Katie @ On the Banks of Squaw Creek

    I was loving this post, and then I saw step 7! We live in a 1907 farmhouse, and we are renovating. Can't afford to replace floors upstairs yet, so we're painting the floors (they'd been painted before.) Bedroom #3 will hopefully be finished by the end of March, and I have chosen a monochromatic blue/navy/white color scheme. And yeah, I'm 7 months pregnant and the drywalling hasn't begun, so I may very well be painting while in labor in March!

    I'm going to steal your pictures as inspiration (and of course link here) if that's alright with you!

  • The room is adorable. Love it and thanks for sharing!

  • Thanks for stopping by my blog and now I am loving yours!! I love what you did with these floors!! We did the SAME exact thing in our living room!! (i'll be posting it soon) We did a solid color but I love the pattern to yours. Thanks for sharing!

  • Richmond Thrifter

    GORGEOUS! I love that! The perfect color!

  • Love it! I have painted one coat on our floors and need to go back and sand and another coat. This has been a slow, drawn out process. I started three months ago!

    Heather @ The Other White House

  • I love the floor~looks Awesome!

  • This is GORGEOUS!! Seriously! Wow! Great work!
    Visiting from

  • Very cool floor and I love those closet doors! Thanks for sharing on Stories of A to Z.
    Scissors & Spatulas

  • Beth@The Stories of A2Z

    This looks fantastic! Nicely done :)!

  • pinktoesandpowertools

    Your floors turned out great! I also love those closet doors.

  • Oh wow! I love this! It is a great idea and I am bookmarking as I hate the carpet in my studio. Do you know about what the cost for this was?

  • Beautiful! I am currently in need of flooring on my basements concrete floor. I was considering staining it, but may just change my mind after seeing your beautiful floor!

  • Wow! So beautiful! I've been looking for ideas for our pretty gross concrete back porch floor. This is now definitely on the top of my inspiration list! :)

  • We did this in our upstairs hallway. I was hoping there was hardwood under the icky carpet, but there wasn't- just a subfloor. We caulked, and I painted it black. I need to do another coat and seal as you suggest. I love it though…great with 4 kids!

  • I love your floors! What a cool room to begin with! Love all the character, and you just added so much more :) Great job!

  • That is such a great idea. It turned out beautiful.

  • That’s a beautiful floor and I just love the big checkers! I’ve got this linked to my painting floors post too today, for inspiration!

  • Hi Sarah, The doors were custom made from beaded 1 inch thick wood, and the hardware is from VanDykes. We left space at the bottom of the doors in case we ever want to put traditional flooring in here. But so far, no temptation to do that!

  • What color grey blue did you use? Thank you.

  • can you tell just HOW you made those closet doors?! Did you attach the beaded wood to plywood? how do you keep them from warping? I love them and made some similar to blend into a wall at one of our rental cabins in the mountains.

  • Love your floors. Question… I want to do this but my husband thinks that there will be a hollow sound when we walk in out room. Is there one in this room? Thank you in advance!!

    • None at all. But the room has other textiles to absorb any echo {curtains, a throw rug, bedding, etc}. Before other items were added to the room, there was the typical empty-room-echo, but never a hollow sound. The floorboard is thick and secure {not cheap floorboard}. Hope that helps!!

      Thanks so much for reading Fieldstone Hill Design!

  • I’m late to the party…as usual! LOL But, I have to ask, how are the floors holding up? I’m in a mobile home that was rented out for 8 years. The carpet was only cleaned ONCE in all that time. Ugh. I have tried to get this carpet clean, but, it so worn down and gross. I’m thinking of just ripping out this carpet and painting the sub-floor. My only concern is that the sub-floor is crappy as well :/ I have two young boys and three half time house dogs. We live in the country, so dirt is always an issue. I’m worried about excessive scratching, etc.

  • Hi, we’re looking at doing this for our house because I haaaaaate carpet. I read that you sanded down the seams, but what did you do to make sure that your kiddos wouldn’t get splinters from the wood? Did you sand the rest of the floor as well to get it smooth?

    • We love it 8 years later! No, we did not sand down the entire floor. Instead, we used top quality (the highest end you could get) of subfloor. Then, the several coats of paint and the poly has sealed it. No one has ever gotten a splinter, and we are a “shoeless” house most of the time. Nor have I seen the floor splinter at all.

  • Thanks for the response and the information! I think we’re definitely going this route now as splinters were our only hang-up!

  • […] Fieldstone Hill Design – It took us a while to find it but we’re glad we made the effort to track down Darlene Weir’s guide to painting the plywood floor of her boys’ bedroom. Like the project from Remodelista above, this floor was created by painting directly onto the plywood subfloor. If you are looking for a guide on how to paint a beautiful pattern onto plywood then this post is for you. We think the floor makes this room, which is really saying something as the overall design is superb, and that it was achieved on a budget is doubly impressive. […]

  • The floor looks amazing. Was there any “yellowing” from sealing it? What brand sealer did you use.

  • Wood caulking is all that is needed being no dovetails to work with?

    Thank you.

  • Beautiful and just what I want to do. Did you use primer paint before the floor paint? From your text it sounds like there is one coat of soft white and one layer of blue for the dark squares. Can you share the paint brand or at least the paint finish type please? Thank you for the great photos.

  • Okay, I’m totally sold on plywood flooring as an alternative to carpet in a new home my husband and I are building. Our plan is to do a temporary, cheaper flooring (10 years or less) and then replace the flooring with something nicer down the road. I think plywood floors are beautiful and the idea of doing them in a new build has a couple advantages, namely no cleaning or excessive prepping, and we can put in a higher quality sub floor. My husband isn’t so sure, because plywood isn’t a well known or used type of flooring solution, like carpet is (gross!). I found a person online who has had theirs 7 years with good results, which means they’d last at least as long as carpet would stay nice, but he’s also concerned about losing the insulation from carpeting and increasing the noise level (ours would be on the second floor, like yours appear to be).

    A longwinded intro to simply ask: how’s the noise of these floors, if they are indeed upstairs? Have you found them to be especially noisy, to a bothersome level?

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