By Sarah Engler and Alexis Givens
August 17, 2014
| Credit: Mark Lund

What You'll Need

  • One gallon (for a 12-by-12-foot room) Pratt & Lambert Withstand Oil Gloss Floor Enamel (shown in Lambswool; prices vary, for store locations).
  • Orbital sander (about $140 at hardware stores or can be rented by the hour from Home Depot, for store locations).
  • Paint roller with 48-inch extendable handle (about $15 at hardware stores).
  • Paint tray (about $3 at hardware stores).
  • One two-inch-wide roll blue painter’s tape (about $8 at hardware stores).
  • One pack 100-grit sandpaper (about $4 at hardware stores).
  • Dust mask (about 50 cents at hardware stores).

How to Do It

Step 1: Before beginning to sand the floor with an orbital sander (which can be rented), dust and mop to remove any oil and dirt. Next, close all the windows and doors. Seal the cracks under doors with painter’s tape to keep dust from traveling through the house; to keep it out of your lungs, wear a dust mask. Now you’re ready to sand (if you don’t, the paint won’t stick to the smooth finish). As you go, touch the floor occasionally to check your progress. When the glassy surface is gone and you feel bare wood, stop sanding immediately. Tackle corners and tight spaces by hand with sandpaper, then damp-mop up the dust. Let the floor dry completely. (It will take an afternoon to do a 12-by-12-foot room.)

 Step 2: Mask off the bottom of the baseboards with wide painter’s tape.

 Step 3: Starting at the wall farthest from the door and working with a paint roller in the direction of the floorboards, paint in sections from one side to the other until you’ve painted yourself out of the room. After at least 24 hours (nothing must touch the floor while it dries), apply a second coat. With paint that’s specifically formulated for floors, there’s no need to seal afterward.