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Whitewashed pine floors

(15 Posts)
Umnitsa Mon 27-Jun-11 19:42:20

I am trying to convince DH that we should get rid of the carpet in the bedrooms and refurbish the original Victorian floorboards. Since we are not keen on bright yellow knotty wood we are likely to uncover, I am thinking of having the floors whitewashed.

If you have whitewashed pine floors, I'd be grateful if you could share your experience both in terms of having this job done, as well as living with such floor:
- Did you have to move out when the floors were being sanded/ stained / varnished or you can stay at home? How long does it take per room?
- What's the advantage of oil-based vs water-based whitewashing? The chap who will be doing our floors will use oil stain and then a two-pack varnish. From what I've read, oil may give a yellow tint and is generally more toxic and it takes longer to finish the job. Your experience?
- How durable is whitewash? Does it wear out in higher traffic parts of the room?
- Is wooden floor a good idea for a nursery? DD is 10 months old and seems to find carpet lint an irresistible snack... On the other hand, carpet absorbs the shock when she plops.
- Will it look weird if some rooms have wooden floors and others, as well as the hallway, are carpeted?

We are moving into the house in ten days time (yay!) and I really want to have the bedroom floors done before putting in the furniture. At the same time I am concerned that trying to unpack and settle in with a baby in a house being sanded and stinking of varnish may not be wise and we should postpone it until we go on holiday and the house if empty. I need to decide NOW!

Umnitsa Tue 28-Jun-11 09:54:30


PigletJohn Tue 28-Jun-11 10:29:03

Sorry I don't understand this. Actual whitewash will flake and wear away in dust when you walk on it. Ther might be a white treatment I don't know about, of course.

A few points, hth.

Sanding the floor is a very dusty and dirty job and the dust will spread through the house.

Pine will intrinsically go yellow over time, although you can dye it with a darker colour to hide it. If you put a light-coloured dye on a dark-coloured wood, the dark colour will show through. You can use paint which will cover though. If the floor has been taken up for plumbing or electrical work, you may have damaged or mis-matched boards which you will want to correct if on show. It is preferable to use countersunk screws rather than nails to fix any boards above an electrical or plumbing item (including ceiling roses) so that they can in future easily be taken up without damage.

Floorboards are much noisier than carpets, especially for anyone underneath and your neighbours unless you have a detached house. Fluids will go through the cracks between the boards and drip into the void below or stain the ceiling. This may be unhygenic.

Floorboards do have splinters; even if you sand the tops well, bare feet can get splinters off the edges at the joints, or when there is any damage.

Satin or matt PU varnish is hard-wearing and will cure within a day. Avoid gloss varnishes which are known in the trade as "toffee-apple" due to their unnatural appearance.

Mumswang Tue 28-Jun-11 10:50:12

We've just done ours. It took DP 4 days to do 4 rooms, we did have the ghastly, sticky bitumen stuff all around the edges which was what took so long to get off. We did them before moving in to our new house. Sanding is a VERY dusty job, so far far better to do it before moving furniture in if possible. We used osmo polyx White tint on the floors upstairs, no odour and made if natural stuff, so much so that apparently you can eat it.

They do seem very noisy and echoy compared to our old house that had carpet, but sure one everything is unpacked and a few rugs are down it'll seen better.

Umnitsa Wed 29-Jun-11 00:12:51

PigletJohn - thank you for that, very helpful about using countersunk screws for boards above plumbing / electrical.

I think all the cracks will be filled in either with resin or for bigger cracks - with wood, so I hope this will prevent splinters and dripping fluids.

Umnitsa Wed 29-Jun-11 00:17:20

Mumswang - thanks, I've been dithering whether or not to do it straight away, and your comments confirmed that now is the best time to go for it, before the furniture is in etc.

Do you like the result?

I like the sound of Osmo Polyx!! Off to google it now, thank you for the tip.

SirenSusan Wed 29-Jun-11 08:10:46

Have a look at woca oil too.

minipie Wed 29-Jun-11 13:00:41

Don't know v much about this but I think one alternative to painting the floorboards is to bleach them. Won't wear in high traffic areas in the same way.

You could consider putting soundproofing under the boards to counteract the noise factor (however, the most effective soundproofing involves detaching all the boards from the joists and putting padding between, so it's not a small job).

Umnitsa Wed 29-Jun-11 17:07:42

SirenSusan, thank you for the reference, it looks good indeed. I will quiz my guy later today which product he is planning to use (makes me feel vaguely competent...)

Umnitsa Wed 29-Jun-11 17:12:46

Minipie - bleaching or liming is what I initially had in mind but I think it is used mostly for oak whilst white washing is for pine. The effect is similar, ie it does not look painted, you can see the grain of wood but the wood looks, well, bleached, tinted.

Soundproofing underneath is a good idea but at this stage it's way too much, I am after a low-hanging fruit (minimum effort for maximum impact plus something that's easier to do before all the furniture is in)...

minipie Wed 29-Jun-11 17:48:27

once you've done it, would you mind letting me know how much it cost and how long it took to have done? am considering the same thing but depends on the cost...

Umnitsa Wed 29-Jun-11 21:19:03

He has quoted me £1600 for four rooms (55 sq m total) to sand, strip gap, white wash stain oil base and varnish with junkers 2-pack water base.

He is coming on Monday with two assistants and guarantees they will finish on Sunday but actually expects the job to be completed on Saturday. Well, we'll see...

minipie Thu 30-Jun-11 11:18:24

Thanks, v useful to know. Good luck!

echt Sun 03-Jul-11 06:43:52

Because pine is softwood, you'll need to take care with furniture which will make dents in it.

WhereTheWildThingsWere Sun 03-Jul-11 06:52:29

I have done this twice (I love the look) once I did it with a white woodstain that came in a can, can't remember what it was called, sorry. The effect was brilliant and really easy.

The second time I just watered down cheap white emulsion, if anything this was better.

Both were satin varnished over the top.

I love floorboards.

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