So three weeks ago, I decided to paint my greenhouse concrete floor. Two weeks ago, I was halfway through the full project and ready to shoot myself for thinking this was a good idea. Now, that it’s complete and I’ve had a few days to recover… I love it! Best decision ever.
Truth is the greenhouse is my she-haven. I spend lots of time from September through June in my little glass house. But I was tired of the drab gray concrete, and I needed a practical solution for a greenhouse; After all, it’s humid and prone to frequently wet floors. Similar to a patio, this space is subject to ever-changing conditions and plenty of sunshine with strong UV rays that can fade non-outdoor-friendly materials fast. So paint was a practical solution to add a touch of style and whimsy to one of my favorite spaces.
You can get concrete floor or porch paint in nearly every color of the rainbow, so when I decided on a black and white checkerboard pattern set on a diagonal it only took a quick trip to a home improvement store to get what I needed, except for the surface prep solution (aka: an acid). Most home improvement stores do sale muratic acid, though.
I also temporarily lost my mind, and decided to also paint a rug in the center of the floor. Before finishing the rug, I was asking myself WHY, why I did I think this was a good idea. (Just like childbirth, I’ve forgotten how agonizing it was and now think, okay… maybe I could do that again.)
I did a little research before jumping into the project and received some great advise from a friend who owns a fitness center that happens to have painted floors. She encouraged me to really make sure I properly prepped the floors before painting or I would constantly be touching up areas where the paint didn’t properly adhere to the surface.
So here are the steps I took to create the checkerboard-patterned floor:
1.) Clean and prep. Concrete is a porous surface and dirt and grim can really penetrate into it. So it needs to be cleaned, and the paint really benefits from being able to adhere to a surface that has been further etched. I used a product called SS Surf Prep (acetone) from the Stamp Store. It’s highly corrosive and can be diluted when applied to the concrete. I actually acid washed the floor twice. The first time I used the acid wash that had been diluted with water. (I followed the directions on the label.) I noticed that areas of the floor still looked a bit dingy, so I applied another round of the acid directly to the surface without diluting it and worked it in with a plastic bristled floor brush. Baking soda can be used to neutralize the solution as well as further diluting it with water.
Allow for plenty of time for the floors to completely dry.
Note: Do not paint a newly poured concrete floor. The paint will develop blisters and likely peel. The concrete needs to cure. The floor in the greenhouse was poured 18 months ago.
2.) I applied an even coat of white floor paint with a roller brush. And allowed plenty of time for it to dry.
3.) Using a few tools, I found the center of the room and marked it. From this point, I measured out the 12″x12″ squares and set them on a diagonal. This can be tedious work. I was exhausted when it was finished. I marked the squares to be painted black with a pencil. I also covered the area where I would be painting the rug. (Note: a section of magenta wrapping paper, measured to the proper length really helped with laying out the rug.
4.) Once the pattern is drawn out, I taped off the white squares. I used the delicate type of Frog Tape. It is yellow. You want to avoid ripping up strips of your white paint, but it might still happen in a few spots. That was my experience at least.
5.) Paint the black squares. I used both a brush and a small roller when applying the black paint. Allow plenty of time to dry and then remove the tape. Be prepared for touching up both the white and black.
For the rug:
6.) After the floor was completely dry, I applied two coats of teal-colored, enamel paint with a gloss finish for the rug. Allow drying time between coats.
7.) I used three types of stencils that I purchased from Hobby Lobby to paint the rug. After the base coat had dried, I painted the colorful center medallion using acrylic art paint and small sponge brushes. This can be tedious and I would use the acrylic paint sparingly within the design of the rug, it doesn’t have the durability of the floor paint. After the medallion paint dried, I applied a spray sealer just to the medallion for extra protection.
8.) I then used the black floor paint and a stencil to create the border. This takes time. One must allow dry time as you move along the border. Small sponge brushes work great when applying the paint.
9.) I used the white floor paint and a different stencil to create the body of the rug. Again, this takes time waiting for each section to dry.
Now that it’s finished, I love it! I’m even planning another paint project. I just bought an old vinyl chair for the greenhouse. It’ll be my new reading nook. Stay tuned for another adventure from the greenhouse.
I hope you found this helpful and maybe a little inspirational, too. If you’ve painted a floor, I’d love to hear about it.