Paper Flooring

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In these tough economic times, the cost of home improvements really matters. The good news is, it does not cost a lot of money to have beautiful flooring. Innovation and sweat equity can go a long way when paired with a willingness to step outside of the box and try something new. Would you believe that you can re-floor an average size bedroom for $75 or less? I hope you believe it, because it is absolutely true.

Paper Flooring - Gina Sanders - paper-bag-floor-13.jpg

Paper bags, or kraft paper, are coming to the rescue of ugly floors everywhere. Getting bags from your local grocer is going to be the best for your budget, although in some stores paper has become rare or even unavailable. No worries there as kraft paper will get the job done just the same and is still economically feasible. You will also need a gallon of Elmer's glue, an oil based stain in the color of your choice, water based floor polyurethane, and a means of applying the latter two such as a mop or deck pad.

Start by removing the trim/baseboards. It is easier to remove and replace them later than attempt to work around them and risk possibly staining them accidentally. Once this is done, check the quality of your sub-floor. It may need patching and/or cleaning to ensure it a level finished product. If necessary, fill in any holes or gaps and clean it well, letting it dry overnight.

With a clean, dry floor ready to go, it is time to start prepping your paper. Rip and tear it apart in sections about 12 inches across. Take each piece and crumple it up as this will give it a distressed, leathery look in the end. Once you have a heap of crumpled paper at your disposal, it is time to start gluing. Mix half water, half glue in a large bucket and start covering both sides of your paper, then place flat on the floor. Work from edge to edge, removing any bubbles or bulges. Also remember that this paper will shrink as it dries, so overlap your pieces generously.

Once your paper floor has dried, it is time to wet it all over again, this time with stain. Simply mop the stain over the paper until it is thoroughly covered and dark enough for your taste. Be sure to be uniform in your application to avoid lines and streaks; feathering works best to avoid this. Give this stain ample time to dry (a couple of days).

Next comes the polyurethane, which can also be mopped onto the floor. It will take several coats to completely cover the texture of the bags and stain. Be sure to allow dry time between applications (30-45 minutes should do depending on the size of the room). Give the polyurethane time to dry and you're ready to use your floor as normal once again.

Paper Flooring - Gina Sanders - paper-bag-floor-1-12.jpg

Paper is a cheap way to create a beautiful floor while being environmentally conscious at the same time. There is no better recycling than making a used product a permanent part of your home. May your next choice between paper and plastic be an easy one!

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