Friday, February 3, 2012

Frugal Friday: A Paper Bag Floor Update and Tutorial

Well we've ripped out the carpet in two rooms and replaced them with paper bag floors.  And I have to tell you I couldn't be happier.

  • They are durable (thus far they've stood up to two dogs, three cats and three children).  
  • They are easy to repair.  Under the piano bench I just noticed a few small nicks.  Someone must have been particularly rough there. It'll be a quick fix to lay down another layer of paper and polyurethane over it. 
  • They are easy to clean -- a simple swipe with the vacuum or a quick wipe down if something has spilled.  
  • They are attractive (so much more than our smelly old carpet)
We like these floors so much we will be replacing the remaining carpeted areas in our house (our bedrooms and the stairs).  I might get creative on the stair risers and use some sort of decorative paper.  I really like the flooring pattern here.  I wonder if I could find a similar paper pattern to use on the risers?

This is such an easy project.  There are tutorials all over the web.   But the process hardly needs a full tutorial.  Here's what we did:
  1. Rip up the carpet and remove any staples or nails (our subfloor is OSB board).
  2. Fill in any cracks with wood filler, sand even as needed.
  3. Rip up brown paper into various sizes and crinkle it. 
  4. Dip paper in polyurethane and lay it down on the subfloor.  Smooth to the best of your ability.  There will be wrinkles and bubbles.  The bubbles will eventually get squished into wrinkles.  This is part of the charm of the floor.  Relax and go with it.  The more you dip the paper the darker the color will be.  To add light and dark contrasts lay some paper down without dipping it.  Instead paint a layer of urethane on the subfloor, lay down the paper and paint over the top.  As you are laying the paper be sure to overlap the edges so no subfloor shows through.  
  5. Allow to dry.
  6. Coat with five additional layers of polyurethane allowing to dry for 2-4 hours in between layers (read the label on your urethane container)
In Progress

And a hint -- splurge on low odor polyurethane.  It's a bit more expensive but well worth it.  Trust me. 

Total cost:  $200.00 per room (~ 13 x 14 feet); this includes the polyurethane (3.5 gallons per room) @ $50.00 per gallon and bulk brown paper from the hardware store.  One roll was plenty for each room.  This could also be done with actual brown paper bags thus saving additional money.  

What do you think?  Are you willing to give it a go?  



Anonymous said...

Love this!!! just did it to my countertops in my kitchen. Only question is your home on a concrete slab or a foundation? we want to do this to our floors in the house and because we have a foundation and not a slab we are concerned about cracking.

Shalet said...

To tell the truth I have no idea. I would guess a foundation. My floor have a few scuffs where the traffic is heavy but are otherwise holding up great. One of these days I'll go in and do some small repairs on the scuffs.

Anonymous said...

I have done it on both concrete as well as plywood, holds up the same.

Patty Garcia said...

I did this to my living room,dining room,foyer and hallway and just love it. I did the hallway months after doing the other rooms and you can't tell whwere it starts and stops. My master bedroom is next as well as the walk-in closet. I love these floors!

medontcook said...

Are you still happy with your floor? I have OSB stairs that I want to paper, but I hear nothing good about OSB. Someone said it would look good for awhile and then have issues. I am just curious how yours is holding up.

Shalet said...

Yes -- we are very happy. There are a few places that have been roughed up by furniture that could use some patching (easy enough to do we've just been lazy). We have dogs and kids. :o)