Dexter Hardwoods Part III: Paint


In my mind, you can never go wrong with hardwood floors.  And I was thrilled that the Dexter house had so much hardwood flooring when we first toured it last year.  Unfortunately not all of the hardwoods were in good shape.  Over the years, previous owners had covered them with tile, maroon paint, linoleum, and carpet (sometimes a combination of a few of those).  After a bit of noodle scratching, Garrett and I came up with a plan to salvage the floors.

First we would replace the kitchen floors and have them professional refinished along with the dining and living room oak floors.  That all happened a month or so back (you can read about it here) and they look great!

Next, we planned to paint the fir floors in the hallway and bedrooms.  I’m not normally one to paint over wood, but the floors were already in rough shape and most of them had been painted by a previous owner.  Plus fir isn’t the hardest of woods and it’s been our experience that they dent easily and need refinished more often than harder woods such as oak.  Considering all this, paint seemed like the most cost-effective and durable option.  So we began by stripping off the remaining linoleum and tile on the fir floors.

The Grit and Polish - Bedroom Demo 3The Grit and Polish - Dexter Master Bathroom Ladder

And then, last week, Garrett rented a floor sander from Home Depot.  He and his dad sanded off the goo in the hallway and master bathroom floors (remnants of linoleum tile) and roughed-up the maroon paint in the bedrooms.  The goal was not to sand down to fresh hardwood (although we pretty much got there taking off the goo from the linoleum), but to rough the floors up enough so that the new paint would adhere.

The Grit and Polish - Floors at master bath pre-paint

After wiping the floors down with a damp cloth to remove the dust, it was time to prime.  Since we were ready to paint the entire house, Garrett used one primer and a spray gun and primed everything – walls, ceilings, moldings, and floors.  It took 5 gallons over the course of a LONG day.

The Grit and Polish - Floors primed at Master bath

After the primer dried and the walls and trim were painted, Garrett and Papa came back and masked the quarter-round molding at the base of the walls.  They applied one coat of Benjamin Moore’s Deck and Patio paint using rollers. I had selected low-sheen in Onyx, a slightly-dull black color.  I realize that black may be impossible to keep clean, but I went with it anyway.  I like the simplicity of black plus it sticks with my black, white, and wood theme for the Dexter House.

The Grit and Polish - Master Bathroom One Coat Black PaintThe Grit and Polish - Floors in Master after 1 coat black paintThe Grit and Polish - Hallway after 1 coat paint

Did you notice all those footprints in the hallway?  Yeah, I’m hoping we won’t see that on a daily basis.  The floors were actually still a little tacky when I took these photos and since the only working bathroom in the house is down this hallway, there was no keeping people off of them.  I’m hoping that once the final coat of paint dries, dirt won’t stick quite so prevalently.

All in all, I have to say that painting hardwood floors was a relatively painless and super cheap option.  We only spent somewhere in the range of $250 in paint, scraper tools, a sander rental, and supplies.  And the floors look great!

I have to share one more primer shot, this time with the hardest working guy I know.  Doesn’t this hallway look like a portal to Heaven or something…?!

The Grit and Polish - hallway pried with Garrett

Progress on the Dexter House is moving crazy fast, so I’m going to lag a little behind on the blog here.  But if you want to keep up to date, check out my mini updates on Instagram.

UPDATE: the floors took a solid 6 days to cure.  They were tacky and dirt stuck to them like crazy before then.  I called Benjamin Moore and they said it probably took so long to cure because we didn’t wait long enough between coats.  Plus black paint has the most pigment and thus takes the longest to cure.  In case you are painting your floors, I recommend great patience, lots of fans, and a 2-day-plus cure time between coats.  



p.s. My dream country house and it’s right here in Washington!  I am dying over this one!!!

p.p.s. Check out look peak into Emily Henderson’s home.  I pretty much love everything she’s ever done but it’s really fun to see what she’s put in her own place.  Don’t worry, I already ordered those seagrass animal heads!

p.p.p.s. Love this Tacoma kitchen remodel!  Glad to see DesignSponge did an article on it!

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  1. Hi! I am sure you have answered this ? a thousand times, but I am new to your gorgeous site and would like to know what Whites you are using for walls and trim. Thanks!! You’re place looks amazing!

    • Hi Sarah and thanks! At the Dexter House we’re using Benjamin Moore’s Simply White. We’ve used that color at every house (although usually just on the trim) and love it!

  2. Alyssa Brolsma says:

    Beautiful! I took the same approach this spring – the original 80 year-old oak floors throughout the main floor were in great condition and just needed a refinish (a matte, clear finish since I loved the look of the bare wood once it was sanded down). The kitchen floors were another story – nearly the same issue as you, they were fir that had been patched [poorly] over the years. Not only were they not going to take any stain very well, but taking the same matte/clear finish as the rest of the house would mean clashing with the oak and leaving the patches visible. I painted the fir black instead, and while it shows every little crumb or speck of dirt my dog drags in from the backyard, it was an immediate improvement.

    • Great to hear others are doing the same thing with their floors! I’m sure figuring out that the black floors show everything, but I’m with you, it’s still a HUGE improvement!

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