Be creative!
Once you've got the basics down for this checker board painted floor, embellish with boarder details and accent colors. This colorful and whimsy floor was created by the artists at Fiarde Architectural Designs, an internationally recognized Decorative Arts Firm.
Contact Fiarde for your next project.

180 - grit sandpaper
Painters tape
Drop Cloths
Oil-based primer
Benjamin Moore 'Yellow Lotus'
(# 2021-50)
Satin Impervo
oil-based paint
Benjamin Moore 'White Dove'
Satin Impervo
oil-based paint
Roller w/ 3/8" nap
Roller Tray
Razor Blades
Mineral Spirits
Measuring Tape
Straight Edge
Disposable gloves

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Checker Floor Mural

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"Poetry is superior to painting in the presentation of words, and painting is superior to poetry in the presentation of facts"

Leonardo da Vinci  1452-1519




Hand-Painted Floors
Classic checker board in yellow and white



Rating 2.5 -moderate

The magic of a painted floor can transform a common space into a unique and beautiful expression of you and your families personality. You can paint entrance floors, children's rooms, porches, or just about any wooden floor. Start with this 2 color process, using any colors you choose. Then when you've mastered this simple process, get creative, add decorative boarders, quirky elements and personal touches that help create these singularly unique painted floors.


Preparing the surface

Step 1:
New Floors:
Sweep and clean surface thoroughly.

Old Floors: Remove all nails and repair any damaged or cracked areas. For optimum results, sand floor completely to remove sealers or previous paint. If you have a previously painted floor and you wish to paint over it, like the project below, scrape off and loose paint areas, then sand with 120 grit to 180 grit sandpaper.

Using a power sander to remove and smooth loose particles.

Step 2: Applying your primer.
Next you will need to prime the wood floor. Benjamin Moore's 'Fresh Start' oil-based primer will provide good results. Refer to the artSparx basic preparation resource for tips and techniques.

Use a brush and a roller to apply the primer, and then allow to fully dry.

Applying the base color

Step 3: Choose and apply the appropriate oil-based, low-luster finish base color. For this yellow and white checker board pattern we have used Benjamin Moore 'Yellow Lotus' (# 2021-50) Satin Impervo oil-based paint. Allow to fully dry (24 hrs).

Start with brushing the corners
and edges.

Complete the base color application with a roller. using a 3/8" nap roller head.

Why use oil paint instead of water based paint?
To insure durability and long life for your floor it is recommended that you use oil-based products. Floors are high traffic zones, subject to allot of wear and tear. Oil based products can last years longer than comparable water based paints.

Marking your layout

Step 4: Determine the size of the outside border. 10 inches is a nice, substantial size, without becoming to dominant. If you have a very large floor, larger than 20 ft. x 20 ft., then a 10 in. to 16 inch. border will work. If the overall floor size is less then 20 ft. x 20 ft. then 6 in. to 12 in. is appropriate. Experiment to determine what looks proportionally correct to you.

Marking your points with a measuring tape and pencil.

Step 5: Once you have completed marking your boarder begin the center panel. First find your center point by drawing a diagonal line from on corner of the floor to the other. Repeat, where the lines cross is your center point. We are using 18 inch squares, and placing them on a diagonal.

Using a straight edge to create the diagonals.

You can also create a straight checker pattern (or grid) by simply marking 18 inch lines in an even progression along each side, then connecting the points. Creating a checker board on an angle creates interest and adds energy to the linear space.

diagram 1

diagram 2

diagram 3

Finding your center point

Measure 18 inches off center line, then again along the end of the same diagonal line. Connect with  a straight edge.

Repeat along the opposite axis point until all lines are created.

Continue creating your diagonals. You will do this by measuring 18 inches along one center, then repeating the measurement at another point along the same line (dia. 2). Connect with your straight edge and pencil. Continue this method, measuring at 18 inch off each newly created line.

Repeat this process by working off of the opposite axis line (dia. 3). Pay close attention to the pattern to insure you stay consistent and you create equal and parallel lines.

Applying the tape

Step 6: Use the painters tape and carefully tape off every other square. Use a razor blade, placing it at the cross section of the squares, and tear the tape against the blade to insure crisp corners.

Carefully placing the tape along the pencil outlines.

This may seem like a time consuming process, and it does take a while. But once you complete this stage you are almost done. Simply paint the squares, remove the tape and voila! allow to dry and enjoy.


Painting the secondary color

Materials: mini-roller, paint, painters tape and rags.

Step 7: Pour some slightly off-white oil-based paint into the mini-roller tray. We are using Benjamin Moore 'White Dove' Satin Impervo oil-based paint.

Wear disposable gloves and carefully roll on paint, being cautious not to paint over a 'yellow' square.

Using a mini-roller to paint in the secondary color. animated clip! View movie clip.

Our porch floor in process...


Removing the tape and finishing off

Step 8: While paint is still wet, and still wearing disposable gloves, carefully remove the tape. Have a trash bag handy for tape disposal. Be careful not to step in any 'wet paint' areas.

Allow to dry completely, 24 hours, before walking on the floor. Wait a minimum of 48 hours before replacing furniture to insure proper curing times and complete drying. When using exterior/interior enamel oil-based paints, a protective sealer is not necessary.

Step 9: Clean up with mineral spirits.

Step 10: Retain some of the paint colors for future touch-ups. Dispose of rags, paint brushes and empty paint cans properly.

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