Texture ideas when painting a subfloor
January 21, 2015 6:17 AM   Subscribe

Could I pour Elmer's glue in little puddles that match the grain on my subfloor so that when I paint it with porch paint there will be some texture? Or would it just break up the first time someone walked on it?

To save money I am going to paint my subfloor with porch paint instead of installing carpet or vinyl. I'm looking at the wood grain and it looks really nice but will be lost after painting. The floor will be completely flat. I thought maybe I could pour some glue on the floor in the shape of the wood grain, Let it dry thoroughly and then paint with porch paint. That way when you look at the floor there would be some texture. Our would the glue just break apart under the paint and just make a mess?

Or are there other ideas to make texture under the porch paint?
posted by cda to Home & Garden (18 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
It won't look like woodgrain - it will look like someone spilled glue and painted over it. And if you use base Elmer's, yeah, it probably will crack and crumble because you'd need to use a lot of it to make it visible through the relatively thick porch paint. Plotting out woodgrain gets really fiddly too. They do make woodgraining kits you can use with some glaze to fake a grain. It'd be Base Coat -> Gel Stain/Woodgraining -> Seal well.

How much floor are you looking to cover? There are some other options, but they get expensive as vinyl.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:28 AM on January 21, 2015 [4 favorites]

The other problem this will cause (other than, as noted, looking like you spilled something on the floor) is to make it much more difficult if/when you decide to add flooring on top of the painted subfloor. Even small bumps and depressions in the subfloor can telegraph through thinner flooring, and can cause creaks and movement in the floor.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:32 AM on January 21, 2015 [1 favorite]

Elmer's glue is water soluble. This will not work.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:36 AM on January 21, 2015 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: The floor is 6' by 6'. It has a couch and a tv. It is a tv room.

I'm afraid a completely flat floor will look too perfect and the first ding or scratch will drive me crazy. Maybe there is some way I could distress it.

It is in a "rustic" cabin in Idaho.

Dip Flash, I will never put flooring in over this. But you are right, I don't like to do things that limit my options in the future.
posted by cda at 6:45 AM on January 21, 2015

Nope, don't do it. If you visit a real paint store like Sherwin Williams, they will have tools and instructions on how to do patterned or textured floors the right way. You could paint a tile pattern, for example. Or faux wood grain or all kinds of other patterns. Or go wild with layers of paint. Or, if you really like the actual wood grain, sand the subfloor pretty smooth, and varnish it.
posted by beagle at 6:56 AM on January 21, 2015 [8 favorites]

If you're worried about a ding or scratch driving you crazy, maybe consider some vinyl flooring planks. I know you're trying to do this on the cheap, but a few extra bucks might be worth your peace of mind. A rug that would cover up scratches will cost you, what, 50-80 bucks down the road?

I did an office and a back hallway in Traffic Master Allure and it looks okay and is pretty indestructible. I wouldn't use it on my living room, but a TV room? Sure. You could do this for under a hundred bucks (36 square foot TV room needs 2 boxes of 24 square feet to the box vinyl plank) and be all set. It is dead easy to install - no glue, no nails, just cut the strips with a box cutter and lay down.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:05 AM on January 21, 2015

I have a bit of a left-field suggestion: what about painting it with a stencilled pattern?
posted by quaking fajita at 7:05 AM on January 21, 2015 [5 favorites]

Our contractor installed this "temporary" measure four years ago when we couldn't find matching tiles. It's stained subfloor covered with two coats of water based flooring sealer. It's looking a bit beaten up now but understand that it's part of a thoroughfare which takes plenty of foot traffic and is rolled over by a 350 pound wheelchair many times a day.
posted by firstdrop at 7:31 AM on January 21, 2015

How about using colored stain rather than paint?
posted by ottereroticist at 7:46 AM on January 21, 2015

Elmer's glue is water soluble. This will not work.

Ruthless is right. You will never be able to mop.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 7:58 AM on January 21, 2015

If you are dead-set on pouring something on the floor (though I would recommend any of the previously-posted suggestions first, Envirotex Resin would do the trick. I've splashed some on the basement floor and it has not budged in over 4 years. You might even be interested in coating your bare floor with it...
posted by sarajane at 8:35 AM on January 21, 2015

If there's grain o the floor now that you can feel when you run your fingers over it, you'll probably be able to see the grain once it's been painted.

Consider a solid color stain as suggested upthread.
posted by bricksNmortar at 9:30 AM on January 21, 2015

You can use sanded paint for texture.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:38 AM on January 21, 2015

In addition to being water soluble, Elmer's glue is also edible by many critters you likely don't want in your rustic cabin: roaches, pillbugs, mice, rats, squirrels, etc.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 10:46 AM on January 21, 2015

Response by poster: I meant let the glue dry and then seal it in with the porch paint which is hard like enamel on metal. But yeah sarajane, resin would be better for what I had in mind. I may end up just using some kind of stenciling so I don't notice imperfections.
posted by cda at 12:25 PM on January 21, 2015

Response by poster: From quaking fajita's link this is sort of what I had in mind although with this idea I would need to paint with the porch paint, paint the wood grain and then seal it with something.
posted by cda at 12:29 PM on January 21, 2015

Instead of wood grain, why not stencil the floor? Doesn't have to be twee, could be argyle if you're precise, or get some old lace curtains to act as the stencil, and spray paint. That was the plan for my concrete floor downstairs, but it never got done. You can make stamps from sponges, or you could spatter paint.
posted by theora55 at 11:35 PM on January 21, 2015

I've never done it but I've seen people on the green get excited about brown paper flooring. It uses Elmer's, covered by polyurethane.
posted by bonobothegreat at 9:50 AM on January 23, 2015

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