How to water down latex paint to provide a washed look on lauan

For a temporary look, we are putting in new lauan (sub-flooring) over the top of OSB sheeting on the floors. This is in preparation for future tongue'n groove wood flooring to go down (but that's not quite in the budget yet).
So it doesn't look totally "unfinished," we are thinking of buying latex paint that is very close to the stain color of the flooring we WILL be doing - and in case you are wondering, it's a Medium to Dark tone of Brown with a Grey undertone.
We have a couple of questions -
1) How much should or can we water down the paint to get a washed look but still provide a decent richness in color?
2) We have quite a bit of square footage to cover, and wonder if you all think we can roll the watered down paint directly onto the lauan (sub-floor)? - Also, sand first? We are hoping to make it a fairly quick project, that's why we are thinking of rolling! - Not to mention we don't want the house all tore up with the Holidays coming...
Thanks in advance for your feedback!! :)
  10 answers
  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Nov 22, 2015
    There is no direct link to give you on this process. Google How to whitewash a hardwood floor.This site comes up. see if this answers your questions.
  • Theresa Theresa on Nov 22, 2015
    Latex paint is water based so... Yes you can water it down. To get the desired look will come from trial and error due to the fact it is water based. I would suggest to save a piece if the board and try different level of water added to find the desired look or try to start light (more watered down) and work your way up to look you want. You have to sand and clean very well so paint will adhere better. That will truly be the longest part of the whole job. Latex paints are easy roll paints which falls back to its water based. Just remember it would be best to sample water added to paint ratio to ensure you find the desired look. If it's a concrete floor I would suggest a sealer. Remember applying latex paint to a floor is not proper usage it will be easy to tear up and if it gets wet at all it will remove your paint..... I would highly suggest looking into a stain is your best bet be it concrete or wood. Latex paints are mainly wall or ceiling paints. Be careful how you apply if you still do because as stated it is a water based paint and walking on it will damage so with holidays coming note high traffic will defently damage the floor.
  • Johnchip Johnchip on Nov 22, 2015
    1. Water down in separate can from paint until you get desired color saturation.(usually 1/2 and 1/2 works well for a medium color wash) 2. **test sample is a must***. Rolling is not my choice of application methods for a 'wash', you should do it with a good brush to get a good blend. Go with the grain and *** wipe with towel as you go to get the best look.***(if you want to roll, you can do so, but wipe with towel with grain while wet* is a must ##) This will depend on how much color saturation you intend to put down, more color, lean more to brush, less color, roller and wipe can do. 3. Sand first if it is rough, if it is 'livable' smooth, why bother? 4. Seal with a poly or varathane. This you can roll on. A good seal will make it last longer than you need, but make it very easy to keep clean. One last thing, you may consider wetting the floor in front of you first if you want a quicker light stain look.
  • Jean Thompson Jean Thompson on Nov 22, 2015
    Not too wet because the luan will warp...
  • B. Enne B. Enne on Nov 23, 2015
    I think I would take Polycrylic or another WATER-based top coat, in the level of sheen of your choice, and add a BIT of your latex to that. That way, it is better for heavier traffic, and you are not diluting it with water, but with the actual protective coat. I would follow the dry times for the polycrylic and sand (IF recommended) between coats, and respect any other steps....and yes you can add paint to Polycrylic...lots of people do it to get the shiny high ''lacquered look''. I agree with @Theresa to do it on a sample board 1st.
  • why not try an actual white wash??? General finishes has it.
  • Instead of the luan, have you thought about just laying down some plywood sheets? You could just add a top coat on it as is, or paint it was that porch/floor paint. Just a thought.
  • Alton Alton on Nov 28, 2015
    Use paint made for pickling , you get about the same look . Not a joke !
  • Bob Bonvillian Bob Bonvillian on Nov 28, 2015
  • Barb Jenkins Barb Jenkins on Aug 13, 2019

    I am concerned about water raising the grain in spots that will cause a problem with your future flooring. How about rolling stain or decking color on in small sections and then wiping? I love the idea of adding color to a poly coat. This seems to be the fastest option.