Carpet and Linoleum to Faux Wood Floor

5 Materials
$50
1 Week
Easy

After removing carpet in our living room and main hallway (and later the linoleum from the laundry room), we painted our concrete foundation to look like wood planks. The process is fairly easy, but it can be hard on your knees and back.

We have two large dogs and two small children, so our almost white carpet was constantly nasty. My husband and I both wanted wood floors, but we were already knee-deep in other house projects, so we needed something inexpensive and fast! So, like everything else ugly in my house that needs a quick makeover, paint!

Laundry room before and after

You will need:

-concrete patch

-primer suited for concrete (we used Zinsser, but I don’t remember which one)

-concrete/floor paint (we used Behr’s Porch and Patio Floor Paint - if you get your paint during Memorial Day or Labor Day weekends, you will save a ton of $ because they pretty much always have rebates on paint!!!)

-floor sealer/clear coat

-roller and cover (small cover for graining MUST be FOAM, but we used a standard size roller and regular nap cover for primer and main paint)

-wood graining tool/set (Allway Wood Graining Set)

Nasty!

First we had to remove all the carpet. If you think your carpet looks nasty on top, just wait until you see the underside!

Our concrete had all sorts of stuff caked on.

Next step is to remove all the tack strips, glue and other gunk from the concrete. We used a heavy duty scraper and hammer for most of this, just sticking the edge of the scraper under one end of the tack strip or glue and gently tapping it with the hammer to loosen, and then pulling the whole piece up. The nails from the tack strips will pull up chunks of the concrete, so those holes will have to be filled later.


Next you have to clean the floor REALLY WELL or the paint won’t stick. This was the part that took the most time for us. You have to wash it until the water stays clear. We washed the whole floor 5 or 6 times, and we probably should have washed it even more! Our concrete had all sorts of paint and plaster stuck to it from when they textured and painted the walls (without covering or cleaning the concrete AT ALL!), and because concrete is porous, it all seeps in and does not want to come out.

After filling holes and lightly sanding.

After everything was clean, we filled the tack strip holes and a few other large dimples in the concrete with concrete patch. Then we sanded any rough spots smooth. We weren't concerned with making everything 100% smooth, but you can’t have any super rough spots, or the wood graining tool won’t work.


(If you do want a completely smooth surface, or if your floor is really uneven, you need to use a concrete resurfacer to level everything out, and then you will probably have to use a concrete etcher to add a little bit of texture so the paint has something to stick to!)

Dry edge to walk marked with a shoe. 😆

Allow everything to dry completely (concrete soaks up water, so make sure ALL water has evaporated). This can take a day or two depending on factors in your area. Ours actually sat for a whole week until we had time to work on it again.


Vacuum really well to make sure all sanding dust, dirt, (and in our case, dog fur) is removed. Finally it was time for primer! I can’t remember the exact one we used, but it was a high quality bonding primer that is acceptable for porous surfaces like concrete.

When the primer dried, we painted our solid base coat. I like the look of darker wood floors, so I chose a fairly dark brown for ours. If you need help picking a color, grab a sample piece of a wood flooring you like and take it with you to the paint counter to match colors.

I cut a long strip of paper from my craft roll that was slightly wider than my room and used it as a guide to mark out my planks. (Rosin paper would work well for this also. Later I used this to walk across the floor To the kitchen.) Because my wood graining tool and roller were 4”, I wanted my planks to be 4” wide. So on my long paper, I measured and marked every 4”, then lined it up in the room, making sure it stayed perpendicular to the side walls, and transfered the marks onto the floor with chalk. I repeated this every few feet for the length of the room.


Using a long straight edge, I connected the marks lightly with pen. After doing a few lines I switched to only marking every 8“. That way, I still had a guide on one side of every plank, but it was much faster than marking every line.


Next, I cut another piece of paper that was 4” wide x 3’ long, as a template for my planks. I put a mark on both sides at every foot to help stagger the planks evenly.

Now, the tutorials people have made using the wood graining tool all say to mix paint with glaze. I had a giant area to do and that would end up being pretty expensive, so I just used water. I mixed around a 3:1 water to paint ratio in a glass jar. The paint color here will depend on how you want your planks to look. I used some of the brown floor paint mixed with a tiny bit of black. You can refer to your wood floor sample again to decide what color you want your grain to be, but it should be darker than your main floor color.


Wood planking time! I did a test on a scrap board before starting on the floor. I tried to upload a short video of how I did the planks, but it never would save. (There are a lot of videos online on how to use the graining tool, just none of them on floors.) I started by placing my paper template next to where I wanted to paint.


Using my 4” roller with a foam cover, I covered the roller in my paint mix, squeezed most of it out on the paint pan, then pressing down gently on the roller, I lined up one edge of the roller onto my pen mark and painted a plank in the floor, starting and stopping at the ends of my template. (You want to push down just enough that a little paint puddles along the edges; this will give you defined planks!) Then, I gently pulled the wood graining tool through the wet paint, slowly rocking it to make knots and straight grain. The more you rock the tool back and forth, the more knots you will have. I moved the template over a space and staggered the end a foot from the first plank, and repeated the process across the room. You will need to wipe the tool off with a rag after every plank or two so you don’t get dribbles and streaks.


When I finished an entire row, I moved back to the other side and started a new one. At first I only did whole planks, so if a plank was going to be obstructed by a wall or the fireplace, etc, I skipped that one, measured where the next plank should start, and kept going.


When I finished all of the whole planks, I went back around the room and carefully did the borders. For this I had to use the brush some to get where the roller couldn’t, and used the smaller wood graining tools that came in the pack to fit all the way up against the wall. This would be less of an issue if you take the trim off your walls or are adding new shoe molding to cover the edges. Again, I was trying to do this as fast as possible, so I didn’t take our trim off, but we do plan to add shoe molding... eventuallly.

Here is where you can see how I used the pen marks to guide my planks and keep them straight. As long as you hold the roller fairly straight when adding the paint, your paint will overlap just barely and your pen marks will be completely covered up. And of course, if you don’t like how a plank turned out, roller over it and try again while it’s wet, or if it is already dry, carefully paint over it with the main floor paint first.

Here is the floor completely planked! It took me less than 24 hours to plank all of it. I did one side of the hallway and about half of the living room at night after putting the kids to bed, and the rest during nap times the next day. You want to make sure you leave dry areas to move around, especially if you are painting a main living area that connects bedrooms and bathrooms to kitchen and exterior doors!

Close up

Have fun with the wood grain! Twist the tool a little and vary the direction you pull it. Wood grain isn’t perfect, so your planks shouldn’t be either!

After everything has dried, add a few coats of a high quality floor sealer. We hadn’t bought a rug for the living room yet, but we had bought this one for our patio, so I relocated it until I could find the right one for the living room.


I did have a number of supplies already, so all we had to buy for this project was the wood graining set, primer, paint, and clear coat - 1 gallon of each was enough for us. Because of sales and rebates we spent right around $50!


Total time frame was about 2 weeks, but most of the work was done on weekends. The painting-only part could easily be done in about 3 days with leaving proper time for paint to dry. (A few months later when I did the laundry room, I did the whole thing in one day. I set up a fan and didn’t leave much dry time in between washing, primer, and paints. Most of it would be covered by the washer and dryer, and we couldn’t survive without them for very long. Also, because it was linoleum instead of carpet, the concrete wasn’t as dirty, I just had to scrape off the left-behind glue.)

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Frequently asked questions

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  17 questions
  • Anna Anna on May 29, 2018

    Thank you so much for the tutorial! I plan on doing this on our basement floor- after I rip out the sliding floating linoleum...My boys play a log of ball downstairs- how did your floor hold up from lots of foot traffic? Also, do you mind sharing a bit more details on how you washed the floor? I am nervous how to wash the concrete as we do not have any open drains that I know of down there. Also what brand sealer did you use- were you happy with it? Thank you! It looks beautiful- definitely the best painted wood floor I've seen so far!

    • Amanda Amanda on May 29, 2018

      Foot traffic has not been an issue at all so far! Our living room is also the main walkway between our front and garage doors to the kitchen and rest of our house, so it gets a lot of traffic. I used SealKrete Floor Tex Top Coat. It is made specifically for concrete floors that are painted or stained, but I know most people recommend a polycrylic for floors and are happy with that. Our top coat does have scratches and scuffs from our dogs, but they are only visible from certain angles, and as the floor gets more worn in, individual marks are less obvious.

      As far as washing, this is our living room, so it also has no drain. We just had to use a mop and bucket, one tiny section at a time. That is why the cleaning step took the most time for us. Vacuum it REALLY well, and put a small amount of water in your bucket, because you will have to get fresh water frequently the first few washes. The concrete will soak up a lot of water, so I recommend keeping a fan on it and then letting it dry for at least a day or two before you try painting.

    • Anna Anna on May 29, 2018

      Great! Thank you so much for your help!

  • PBouillon PBouillon on May 29, 2018

    Love It!! I would like to do this on my front porch but I have landscaping around it. Would the solution that cleans the concrete be safe to use around plants?

    • Amanda Amanda on May 29, 2018

      We just used water to clean ours. With yours being outside, you would most likely only need to hose it off really well, maybe use a pressure washer. My only concern would be that the outdoor concrete would be too rough and the wood graining tool may not work well on it.

    • 16999903 16999903 on May 29, 2018

      I agree with Amanda! She really knows her products and surfaces. You might try a slate or stone pattern on your outdoor steps. You can do a similar process with outdoor products, and foam stamping patterns. We did a living room this way with a stone pattern. We made our own stone shapes (several different stones in different shapes and sizes that fit well with a small space for the look of grout between) by using a dense upholstery foam. For the face side, we pinched and cut and tore little bits off to make the stone pattern. Some we used 2-3 colors in close range to give it depth. After the finishing coat it was fabulous.


  • Karen Karen on May 29, 2018

    I read thru the whole article. At first I thought you used some kind of paper, and that those were air bubbles. What are those white squiggly lines that look like air bubbles in wallpaper to the left of the rug in the final picture? I'd like to avoid those, But the rest looks AMAZING!

    • Amanda Amanda on May 29, 2018

      That is where the concrete wasn’t perfectly smooth, so little dimples in the concrete. We weren’t concerned with making the concrete perfect before hand, and those dimples are not as noticeable in person. You could use the concrete patch to fill in any holes like this, or concrete resurfacer to smooth the whole floor.

    • Karen Karen on May 29, 2018

      excellent! Thanks, Amanda.

  • Bjb27155862 Bjb27155862 on May 29, 2018

    I don't have concrete under my floors; usually Luan board or plywood; so would I follow with same materials? I was thinking of redoing half bath which now has linoleum.

    • Amanda Amanda on May 29, 2018

      Yes, this paint would work. Because you have a wood product underlayment, you could use any indoor/outdoor paint that specifically says it can be used on floors, but not made for concrete only, and then you’d have to find a different top coat made for wood flooring. Store employees should be able to help you find a suitable paint if you want to try something other than the one I used.

    • I seriously hope that you do not have luan as a bathroom subfloor

    • I seriously hope that you do not have luan as a bathroom subfloor

  • Mro164 Mro164 on May 29, 2018

    I was wondering how the floor has held up? You guys did an amazing job- that’s a big project to take on!

    • Amanda Amanda on May 29, 2018

      The floor has held up great so far. There are a few deep scratches I’ve had to touch up, mostly where our couch protective feet came off and it scratched the floor.

  • Did you do an acid wash beforehand?

    • Amanda Amanda on May 29, 2018

      I did not because our floor wasn’t perfectly smooth to begin with. I would definitely recommend it if your concrete actually has a smooth finishe and you are concerned with getting the paint to stick.

  • Anu16484572 Anu16484572 on May 29, 2018

    It looks gorgeous! I am interested in how it will hold up and what you will use to clean it with. I would definitely want to have a no street shoes rule in that room.


    • Amanda Amanda on May 29, 2018

      It has been a year and we usually try to keep shoes off of the rug, but the main walkway has shoe traffic constantly and has had no issues with wear. I usually clean it with my Swiffer wet pads or my steam mop.

  • C C on May 29, 2018

    BEAUTIFUL JOB. My only question is how long will it last with dogs, kids, traffic patterns, etc. How long ago did you do this? Can you let us know how it looks after a year and then after two years?

    • Amanda Amanda on May 29, 2018

      It has already been a year, and it has held up great! Floor traffic has been no issue, but I did have to touch up where the protective feet came off the couch and it scratched up the floor.

    • Joyce Joyce on May 29, 2018

      Love it. Beautiful work.

    • Elise Elise on May 29, 2018

      Wow, beautiful work.

      Nice

    • Marie Oriol-Lavalle Marie Oriol-Lavalle on May 30, 2018

      I don’t have a question; I just wanted to say that your project came out beautifully‼️

  • Gwen Ellett Gwen Ellett on May 29, 2018

    I love this, would this work on a front porch?

    • Amanda Amanda on May 29, 2018

      My concern would be that the concrete is too rough for the wood graining tool to work. You could use a concrete resurfacer to smooth it out first, or maybe a wood grain roller cover instead.

  • Mci22288778 Mci22288778 on May 29, 2018

    This is gorgeous...and the room as a whole so inviting... Would you be willing to share where you got your beautiful sectional sofa? :)

    • Amanda Amanda on May 29, 2018

      Thank you! It is from Ashley. We have had it for 4 years, so I doubt they still have the same one, but most likely have similar styles.

  • Mary Ann Mary Ann on May 30, 2018

    I'm wondering if this technique would work on plywood floors?

    • V Smith V Smith on May 30, 2018

      Wood loves paint. You may need to fill in the joints between boards to make a smooth surface.

  • Dianne Dianne on May 30, 2018

    Beautiful! How big is the area you did?

    • Amanda Amanda on May 30, 2018

      The living room and hallway total 340 square feet. The living room alone is 16’x19’

    • Dianne Dianne on May 30, 2018

      Thanks. How do you clean it? Can you use any type of cleaner?

    • Amanda Amanda on May 30, 2018

      I use my steam mop or Swiffer wet pads.

  • DonnaW DonnaW on May 31, 2018

    Beautiful !! I’m not understanding the paper part, did you paint over the paper or did you trace the lines onto floor?? I’m not getting it 😩🧚🏾‍♂️

    • Amanda Amanda on May 31, 2018

      The paper was just to make it easier to mark every 4” across the floor and keep it straight. By marking every 4” on the paper, I could lay it down and use it to mark the floor, then slide the paper a few feet and mark again.

    • D D on Nov 06, 2018

      I would just ho to flooring store and buy one plank of flooring to use as a ruler.

  • Veda Johnson Veda Johnson on Jun 03, 2018


    is the planks the paper?

  • Jane Jane on Jun 05, 2018

    How did you paint up close to the wall edge? Like when you are going back and forth. Most rollers don't fill in that space.

    • Amanda Amanda on Jun 05, 2018

      I taped along the baseboards, and then I could kind of push the foam roller in as far as possible. This is where I used the smaller tools in the wood graining kit to get in the hard to reach areas and then did the larger one on top to blend. Honestly, for some, you have to kind of play around and if you don’t like how it looks, just wipe off the wet paint with a rag and try it again.

    • Bmi32050820 Bmi32050820 on Jul 27, 2018

      You have the patience of job😁😁😁let us know if it holds up. I means scratching from furniture and walking. I certaining hope so cause it looks great. Good job

    • Patty Patty on Apr 01, 2020

      So much work! But a beautiful job! 😀

  • Daneen Daneen on Apr 12, 2019

    If this is concrete. . . is it cold in the winter??

    • Amanda Amanda on Apr 12, 2019

      It is a little cooler than other floors, but not enough to be a big deal.

  • Amanda Smith Amanda Smith on Jan 13, 2020

    Can this also be done on plywood or subfloor?

    • Rodriguezr2009 Rodriguezr2009 on Feb 18, 2020

      That’s my question. I want to stencil our walk-in pantry sub-floor that my husband just finished building. But I want the base coat to look like Vinyl plank wood flooring. I thought it would look more old fashion that way. I think if I just clean it really well and seal the wood with Zinner’s, it would work.

    • Amanda Amanda on Feb 19, 2020

      It will work on pretty much any flat surface.

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