How to Paint Floorboards White

While some people consider it sacrilege to paint hardwood floors, other people think wood flooring seems dark and cold and prefer to paint the floorboards to try to lighten the feel of a room. White is the lightest colour of all, and brightens rooms the most. In addition, many beach houses and cottages feature white floorboards, and people trying to mimic the beach house feel often opt to copy the flooring as a major design aesthetic. Whatever your reason, use correct techniques to achieve a clean, lasting look.

Remove all furniture and other floor-touching objects from the room.

Sand the floorboards, removing all existing layers of urethane, stain, paint and primer until bare, unfinished wood is visible. Vacuum the floor after sanding to remove any particles left by sanding.

Fill in any large depressions or cracks with a hard wood filler. Apply the filler with a scraper. Smooth out the putty until the filler and floorboards become one even, level surface. Allow the wood filler to dry completely.

Tape the lower edge-face of the walls to protect against any stray painting marks.

Apply a white, oil-based wood primer to the floorboards. Paint the edges of the room first, cutting in the first two-to-three inches from the wall with a paintbrush. Follow up with a paint roller, starting in the corner of the room farthest from the door. Roll the paint with the grain of the floorboards. Finish at the door--avoid painting yourself into the corner.

Allow the primer to dry. Clean the roller, paint brush and paint tray immediately after applying the primer.

Apply white paint using the sames techniques used to apply the primer. Allow the paint to dry completely. Inspect the floor and add more coats of white paint as needed until a satisfactory even, white floor is obtained.

Stir clear, non-yellowing urethane by lowering a paint stick into the outer edge of the can, then pulling the stick toward the centre while slowly pulling upward. Continue around the entire outer diameter of the can.

Apply the urethane using a lambs wool applicator, found at most paint stores. Pour the urethane in a line along one edge of the room, then use the applicator to push the urethane to the other edge of the room. Use a brush to finish the edges of the room. Work quickly to prevent the urethane drying in-process.

Allow the urethane to dry. Apply two more coats of urethane using the same procedure.


If the edges of the urethane dry before you brush it to the wall, it will streak.

Things You'll Need

  • Sander
  • Mop
  • Wood putty
  • Scraper
  • Painter's tape
  • Oil-based white primer/sealer
  • Rolling tray
  • Paint brush
  • Paint roller
  • White paint
  • Non-yellowing water-based urethane
  • Lambs wool urethane applicator
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About the Author

Brad Chacos started writing professionally in 2005, specializing in electronics and technology. His work has appeared in, Gizmodo, "PC Gamer," "Maximum PC,",, "Wired,", and more. Chacos is a frequent contributor to "PCWorld," "Laptop Magazine" and the Intuit Small Business Blog.