Paper Bag Floor

Michael Kosak
by Michael Kosak
5 Materials
1 Week
I had a building with a concrete floor coated with epoxy that was peeling all over (70% gone) I used brown craft paper and the results were incredible
Clean the floor- pressure wash, scrape, wash again, de-grease ANYTHING you have to do... the cleaner the better. I did not remove 100% of the epoxy- i went right over it.
Pour water-based urethane into a 5 gallon bucket, mix 50-50 with water. Tear brown craft paper into 1.5 foot irregular pieces. Important! no straight edges, and tear it- do not cut it with scissors, and crumple it into a loose ball (also very important) and dunk it in the urethane and stick it to the floor. smooth it a little only and move on... it will bubble up in spots as the paper expands so work fast but ignore that (more on that later )
Don't soak it too long in the bucket, it can get too mushy and fall apart as you're smoothing it. Dunk, spread,work quickly. If there is a dry spot You can use your fingers to spread it- rubber gloves are wise to use.
this is how it will look in-progress.. This is the first time i tried this so at this point i was freaking out a bit...
...but keep going. this is the floor almost all covered but still only about 2 hours into it, still pretty moist
This is after it dried the next day! All the bubbles flatten themselves out and pull taut as it dries. I was really encouraged to see that. Note the big square section on the bottom left- i tried to speed up with bigger pieces but ONLY do that occasionally, crumple it (!!) and leave no straight edges.
notice the bubbled section by the post? rip it up and cover it with a new piece. You can 'patch' it anywhere at this stage
Now complete dry. I am liking what i am seeing
I put some wood stain to bring out the grain. Wipe it with one cloth and wipe it off with another half a dozen or more.. a 2nd person is a huge help, and they will ruin a good pair of jeans so use old ones. Wipe off almost all, until you like the effect.
First final coatings of urethane - you should use AT LEAST 4 OR 5.
Second coat. they get easier and soak up less. I put 7 coats. the last 2 went on super fast and dried in an hour, the more you put, the tougher the floor.
After it was ready for furniture (2 days to be sure) I had an accident where some idiot (probably me) dragged a couch cross it and tore a section. It proved to have been a week bond to the floor from the start, but it was super easy to patch it. Since then I do NOT have to baby the floor in any way- treat it like any other floor.
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Frequently asked questions
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3 of 18 questions
  • Susan Sheldon White Susan Sheldon White on Nov 12, 2018

    How does this withstand mopping ?

  • Margie Hughlett Margie Hughlett on Nov 12, 2018

    Where do you get that many brown paper bags? Everything is plastic now.

  • Carla Danger Carla Danger on Nov 20, 2018

    Looks great! Rich color. Which stain specifically did you use? Please clarify: you applied the stain once with a cloth and then wiped it off with several cloths and then applied the half dozen layers of urethane? Thank you!

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8 of 21 comments
  • Debra McMenamin Debra McMenamin on Nov 09, 2018

    Looks amazing. Thanks for the idea . I would love to try it in our basement but there’s old tile that is coming up in pieces in some areas. I’m concerned because it’s an older home. I’ve had people say that the tile could be toxic if that makes sense.

    • See 5 previous
    • Revonda Williams Revonda Williams on Dec 11, 2018

      Yes Sue it right. Older houses most often had Asbestos tile if it is the thin speckled stuff - then it probably is. It's best not to disturb it. Look on YouTube for videos on how to deal with Asbestos Tile removal.

  • Ann Goodrich-Bazan Ann Goodrich-Bazan on Aug 05, 2023

    I have done an enclosed porch and it has held up for at least 8 years! I do have some patching to do after we dragged furniture across.