When we took possession of our new retail space for The Ironstone Nest, we completely gutted it: removed acoustic ceiling, paneling, entire walls and the 3-tenant-old office carpeting. I knew I wanted wood on the floor and had originally considered white-washing raw wood flooring. And then I remembered that we are in the Midwest and come December, when everyone is arriving in their slushy, wet boots, I’d regret that white-washed flooring very quickly.
So I began searching Pinterest (of course) for inspiration, but came up empty handed. I really wanted hardwood floors, but that was way over our budget, no matter how many times I tried to recalculate it. Then a few people mentioned they had seen plywood used as hardwood floors. What? I went to the internet and typed in “plywood floors” and sure enough, there they were! We calculated how many 4′ x 8′ sheets of plywood we’d need and headed off to Home Depot. We ordered 45 plywood sheets and Home Depot cut them for us (for a nominal fee) to 8″ wide planks and delivered them (also for a fee) to the back door of our new retail space on a pallet. We installed each plank right over the existing linoleum in a staggered pattern with Liquid Nails and then followed with 2 1/4″ finishing nails installed with a pneumatic nailer in about 6-8 places on each board.
Once all were installed, we had a beautiful, very durable floor. But how to finish them?
I talked myself out of the white-washed floors because I knew I’d be following every customer out the door, cleaning up after them as they left. The next best alternative? Mimic the look of barn wood! So we chose Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint color in Curio with Hemp Oil as a top coat. Not only are both all natural products and staining indoors in March in the middle of winter prohibited me from a “well ventilated area”, but the Hemp Oil would also make the surface water resistant. Perfect for a high traffic area!
This is where it got tricky. There was no tutorial out there on how to use Milk Paint on a large surface like this, all 1500 square feet of it, so I did what I could and everything turned out great.
Supplies you’ll need:
5 gallon bucket
Paint tray x 2
Plastic liner x 2
Drywall mixing drill attachment
I mixed up 3 gallons of water with about 2 pounds of Milk Paint to create a stain (3 parts water:1 part paint). I mixed it all in a 5 gallon bucket with a drywall mixer attachment on the end of my drill.
Once I had it mixed, I tested the color on a scrap piece of plywood we had lying around. It was still too light. So I added about 3 more cups of paint to what was already in the bucket. I gave it a good stir with the drill mixer, performed another test patch, and it was perfect.
I brought everything out onto the floor with me so I could mix as I went along, knowing that the pigments in the Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint would settle. I had the bucket, a roller with painting tray set up for rolling the stain and then a painting tray that I set the mixer into as I used it. I set it all on a drop cloth and then just dragged the drop cloth, carefully, around the room as I stained. This system seemed to work very well.
I put an empty cup into the bucket and poured the stain from the cup into the painter tray. I then rolled out the stain onto a large section, wiped it down by hand with a rag and then repeated these steps until the entire first section of our space was complete.
There were some areas of overlap on the floor, as I’ve encountered with stain I’ve used in the past. I grabbed my orbital sander and gave those areas a light sanding before I applied the Hemp Oil.
Once the stain was applied everywhere, I let it dry for about 4 hours. At that time, I was ready to apply the Hemp Oil to protect and seal the wood. I used a sponge mop and another painter tray for this step. I poured the Hemp Oil into the tray, laid the sponge mop in the oil, and applied generously until the entire floor was finished.
I can’t even begin to tell you how pleased I am with the way the floors turned out. They have held up very well to the constant traffic in and out of our store.
Let’s not forget that I stained this entire floor, all 1500 square feet of it, indoors, in March in the Midwest with no open doors or windows. There were no fumes! Using a zero VOC paint to stain whenever possible just makes sense.
We love seeing jaws drop when we tell them our floors are made of plywood. And then again when we tell them we used Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint as a stain.