Max the doodle in wet paint

Painting the Cottage Wooden Floor

Our summer cottage had an old wooden floor painted forest green which I did not love. We gave it a coat or two of neutralizing paint for a quick makeover.

We have enjoyed spending another summer at our cottage. It is a very comfortable cabin – and has everything that we need to relax (but I can’t relax, because I need to fix things). It is probably about 100 years old and was originally used in the local ice harvesting business. (link to Ice Harvest story here) The cabin was renovated a few years before we bought it to add fresh pine panelling on all walls and ceilings, and new windows to enjoy the lake view.

It’s definitely a “man-camp”, with black furniture and counters and pine all around – but that’s fine with me. I have no plans to make it an ethereal vision of Instagram. A cottage is meant to me to be “woodsy”, where the outside adventures and family activities are the important things.

The only thing that we have changed inside so far – other than buying new beds and putting out a few trinkets and photos here and there, is that we painted the fireplace. (Link to fireplace painting story here) We are really happy with the results.

The floor is original – and made of tongue and groove 3″ planks. It is hard wearing and sturdy. It had been painted a shiny dark forest green. As much as green goes with the wilderness theme, I found it quite distracting and dark.

Green wooden floor - before
Green wooden floor – before

I suggested that I could “easily” refinish it by sanding and stripping it like we did in our century home. (Link to Old House Floor story here) The decision was made for me: – “NO NO NO – Lillie – there is still dust in our house from all the sanding from the last project – this is a cottage and we need to relax……” All the kids agreed – if you can believe that! Well geez…..

So we decided to paint the cottage floor and ran off to the store to buy some paint.

So you painted a wooden floor – What’s so exciting about that? – You may ask…..

Well it’s not the most exciting project that we’ve ever done – but we can always learn something new. In this case we learned:

  • Sanding and special cleaning products are nice – but not required
  • How to tell if paint is oil or latex
  • Priming is not always necessary
  • Sometimes it’s nice to just get started
  • The least glamorous and interesting projects can have the biggest results!

Why did I paint the floor? It was distractingly green (I hate green!!) – and was needing to be freshened up!

Old green wooden floor
Old green wooden floor – I laughed when I saw the TV was tuned to “Today’s Homeowner”

Choosing the Paint

We picked a neutral colour that would not draw attention to the floor. We were persuaded to pick a colour called “Persuasion”.

Glidden Persuasion PPG1077-3
Glidden Persuasion PPG1077-3 – should blend with the dog hair and sand!

How to test for Oil or Latex Paint

We didn’t know whether the green paint was oil or latex. This would determine whether we would have to prime, or paint with oil or latex paint……..

To test painted surfaces to see if they are painted with oil – use acetone or alcohol! Place a little bit on a rag or paper towel – and then rub over the surface. If a little bit of paint comes off on the rag – the paint is likely latex.

  • Acetone is an ingredient in most nail polish removers – so you can use this! I do not have nail polish remover or acetone at the cottage! Not a lot of manicures going on at the lake!
  • Rubbing alcohol can also be used for this test! (I didn’t initially have any in my medicine cabinet – so first I tried Hydrogen Peroxide – no results – and then I tried a little bit of Gin – no paint rubbed off – so I got out some tonic water and ice to mix with the Gin.)
clear drinking glass
Gin and Tonic – Photo by on
  • Eventually we purchased some rubbing alcohol and tried the experiment again – and guess what? Some green paint rubbed off on the rag! We had latex underneath!

This means that we didn’t HAVE to apply primer first – or use an oil paint. That was awesome news! I hate using oil paints!

Use a Paint for Porch and Floors

We chose a Beauti-tone Acrylic/Latex paint from our local Home Hardware specifically for Porches and Floors – tinted to our colour choice. The paint is water based – so that it dries a little faster than oil paint and the cleanup doesn’t require solvents. We picked a “pearl” finish – which isn’t too glossy. (Hopefully it won’t show the dirt and sand that will get tracked in)

Prepping the Floor

Painting experts all over the world will tell you to clean the floor with a special wood cleaner and then sand. I don’t think these people actually really paint their houses and live in them.

We washed the floor with some Mr. Clean style of cleaner and moved all of the furniture as best as we could. We did not sand – but I used a bit of wood filler here and there and hammered down some loose nails. This is a very old “rustic” wooden floor (even older than me) – so if it looks imperfect – that is the intention!

Wood filler
Wood filler

Painting the Floor

This summer we have mostly been working on cleaning up trees and debris, planting a garden and making a beach. Nice days are reserved for working and playing outdoors. We had several days of forest fire smoke when we stayed indoors and painted the fireplace. After that – back outside – and then….. We had three days of torrential rain.

A little rain.

The sun did not shine. It was too wet to play. So we sat in the house. All that cold, cold, wet day. 

Dr. Seuss – The Cat in the Hat

It was time to paint!

  • Painting a first coat with primer would definitely improve the adhesion of the paint – but I wanted to get straight to work and apply the colour.
  • We used 2 coats of paint – with touch-ups here and there (Whenever “You missed a spot” was heard)
  • We used brushes around the edges and corners – and a roller attached to a broomstick to apply the paint
  • The most difficult part of the project was planning which sections to paint first – so that we could get out the doors, to the kitchen – and of course the bathroom.
  • We sectioned off the room so that the dog could be inside with us – but at one time he barged through the barricades and miraculously chose to lie down in a dry section. Maybe he is a little smarter than we think he is. The paint is remarkably similar to his fur colour though.
Max the Goldendoodle lies down amidst the wet paint
Max the Goldendoodle lies down amidst the wet paint

This “easy” painting project took three days to complete – allowing for the painting by section and giving the paint time to dry between coats. We could walk on the floor after 24 hours, but we found that the paint scratched off in the first few days after painting. We touched up with leftover paint – and it looks as good as new.

Painting the floor
Painting the floor

In the future we may have to touch up the paint or put down a new coat. I’m quite happy to do that. The floor painting involved minimal effort – two cans of paint – and we were able to do it on a few rainy days!

Painted fireplace and floor
Painted fireplace and floor

Hope our painting story is helpful! Painting a floor isn’t exactly an exciting makeover – but it looks so much better, and didn’t require any special preparation. (and we learned how to test for oil paint.)

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8 thoughts on “Painting the Cottage Wooden Floor

  1. Great job on the floor. You picked the perfect color which goes nicely with the fireplace. I like your dog too. Is that a labradoodle? My brother just bought a bernedoodle, so cute.

  2. Definitely worth the 3 days and 2 cans of paint. My dogs always stay away from paint – I often wonder about if they can smell it more than we can. I guess I’d he be easy to wash outside in all that rain!!

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