Painting Subfloor?


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Old 09-18-14, 05:46 PM
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Painting Subfloor?

I couldn't find a board specific to this topic but I thought this was the CLOSEST one since I'll be using polyurethane as part of the process.......

I own a mobile home and I had to remove the carpeting in a few locations as it was nasty. I will also need to remove the sheet vinyl in the kitchen because 1) I'm putting in new cabinets and in one location, there was a large pantry cabinet that covers more floor space than the new cabinet (so there will be exposed sub-floor there) and 2) the floor under the sink has some moisture damage so I'll be removing that.

But as of right now, I can't afford the vinyl plank flooring that I ultimately want to install. So I'm trying to find an inexpensive alternative to do in the interim. I expect to be able to do the planks in 3-5 years.

I've read some blog entries about painting the sub-floor and I'm intrigued about the idea. But I've got a few questions and I'm hoping someone here can assist.
  1. The seams where the plywood sheets meet have small gaps and sometimes are slightly different heights. How would you deal with these seams?
    1. One blog author said he used a DAP "Flexible Floor Leveler" to fill in the seams and then sanded them. Your thoughts on that?
    2. Can you offer a better alternative?
  2. How many coats of polyurethane do you think I need? We're talking about around 900 sf and since poly is so expensive, I'd really rather not do a BUNCH of coats. I intend to redo the floors in 3-5 years anyway so I thought maybe it wouldn't need as much as it would if this were intended to be permanent.
  3. If I did ever need to repair an area, how would I go about it? Sand the area down to bar paint and apply new coats of poly? Or would I need to redo the whole thing at that time?

TIA!

EDIT: Would rugs reduce the amount of poly I need to use? I was thinking that since the foot traffic wouldn't be in direct contact, that might help.
 
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Old 09-19-14, 02:59 AM
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I'll let Marksr deal with the paint aspects, and he'll be here right after breakfast. Being a mobile home, you most likely have particle board as a subflooring. It is substandard for most any type of floor covering, and you may be looking at replacing some, if not all of it, in order to install your plank flooring years down the road. Painting is an option, but may succumb to wear, depending on what type flooring it is and the paint you ultimately use.
 
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Old 09-19-14, 03:07 AM
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Thanks for the reply. I've already exposed about half the sub-floor and it's plywood so far.

I'm hoping the rest is too.

For the sake of discussion, can we assume for the time being that it IS in fact all plywood? If I find out different later, I'll deal with that then.

TIA!
 
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Old 09-19-14, 03:20 AM
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By all means. If you have discovered plywood, then most of the repairs you would normally be looking at have already been done. Incidentally, the plank flooring is sweet ! It lays down fast and cuts with a knife or metal shears. You will like it.
 
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Old 09-19-14, 03:40 AM
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A little more background might help. My purchase loan (as well as a couple other loans) will be paid off in 3 years so the money flow will be better at that time.

Until then, I'm looking to just do the repairs and improvements that are absolutely needed.

Even if I do find pboard SOMEWHERE (still hoping not), I'd prefer to paint it if I can. Hopefully it'll last until then. If that's the case, I can convert it to plywood at that time.
 
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Old 09-19-14, 04:33 AM
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Most MHs have 5/8" PB for the subfloor although it's not uncommon on an older MH for the PB to have been replaced where damaged and then overlayed with plywood. You should be able to determine at your HVAC vents what you have for a subfloor.

There is no need to paint and use poly, it would be simpler to coat the plywood or PB with a floor enamel. Basically a coat of primer and then the floor enamel [some floor enamels recommend thinning the paint and using it for the primer] Hard to say how well it will wear - the amount of traffic being the main factor. I wouldn't use a floor leveler as it would be prone to cracking and popping loose taking the paint with it. Spackling would be fine to hide nails/staples. If I did anything to the joints it would probably be caulking.
 
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Old 09-19-14, 05:36 AM
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Thanks. The idea of enamel never even crossed my mind - - does it wear better?

If I do need to make a repair within the next few years, would I just prime and paint then (using the enamel that I set aside of course)?

I understand that you don't know how much wear the floor will have to endure. But can you give me an educated guess as to how many coats I should apply? I'm sure your guess would be better than mine.

I live alone with a cat. There are rooms that I RARELY go in and then there are the everyday rooms (master BR/Bath, LR & kitchen).

Would rugs (area rugs in large rooms and runners for hallways) protect the finish reducing the number of coats needed?

I'll go with paintable caulk for the seams then.
 
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Old 09-19-14, 07:11 AM
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Bare minumum is a 1 coat primer, 1 coat finish. 2 coats of enamel is always better than 1 but 1 might be sufficient. I've seen painted floors last for decades but also have seen them not last a year. While the quality of the floor enamel plays a part, the main thing is the amount and type of traffic. Stocking feet will produce less wear than hard sole shoes. Tracking in grit will cause the most damage to the paint. Throw rugs in high traffic/wear areas will help reduce the wear on the paint. The odds are if/when it comes time to 'touch up' an area you'll have to paint the entire floor in that room to make it look right. The odds are when the floor needs more paint you'll either have the loan paid off or have the final payment in sight.
 
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Old 09-19-14, 07:28 AM
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Thanks for the advice.

We're talking about around 900 sf. I went and looked up floor enamel and the site says 400 sf for a smooth floor. Once I put down the primer, I think it should be pretty smooth. So I'll assume three gallon for one coat.

I'll do one coat in those 'almost never go in there' rooms and 2 coats everywhere else. At $30 a gallon, that sounds reasonable.
 
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Old 09-19-14, 09:31 AM
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Coverage can vary. Besides the differences between rough and smooth, how porous or thirsty the substrate is also plays a part in how far a gallon will go..... but 3 gallons should be enough over the primer. You might want to have your primer tinted so the enamel will cover better.
 
 

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