I had been trying to redo the flooring in my bedrooms for the longest time. I went to a few reasonable flooring stores. Bob’s Carpet gave me the cheapest estimate of only $400.00 per room.
Although their price was competitive, I was still unable to afford it. I desperately needed to redo my floors. The carpets were old, stained and worn out. I decided to explore other options.
I started searching online. While searching for cheap flooring alternatives, I found this great YouTube video recorded by a couple who remodeled their floors by using craft paper. This was the first time I had heard of this.
In the video, found at (http://youtu.be/MvR2pfSdrmw), the couple gave a great demonstration on how to assemble, lay and set the floors.
The toughest part of the project was getting rid of the wood strips that held the carpet down. They were nailed down on concrete. Those little suckers did not want to come out. The hammer I had just purchased was not doing the trick. I headed back to Ace and I explained to the guy what I was trying to do . He showed me this great tool. it made things a lot easier. It is the blue tool in the picture. It is almost the same size of the hammer but thinner. I placed this tool right under the wood strip where the nail was, and hit the opposite end of the tool with a hammer. The tool did wonders.
After I removed the carpeting, the wood strips and nails, I tried to make sure the areas were well swept and free of any cement or paint chips. These chips get stuck under the paper and can mess up the finish. In the video, it is recommended that you remove the wall strips. I did not find this necessary, since I had plenty of room under the wall strips to line up the straight edged pieces.
The floors used on the video demo have wood panels. This makes the surface a lot easier to work with. Since I was on a quest to redo the floors for the least amount of money, I had worked directly on concrete. I had no idea how it would turn out. To make things worse, my concrete floors were cracked and chipped in some places. The bozos that worked on my carpets poured too much glue to hold down the carpet padding. This made preparing the floors a lot more challenging. I did the best I could in getting the concrete surface ready with the budget I had in mind.
It took me more than a week, since I had to strip the floors by myself. I also had to remove the pieces of the padding that were stuck to the concrete. I also repaired the chipped pieces of concrete that were caused by pulling out the nails. Some of these nails were even rusty. After having started the project, I went back to Home Depot to buy a sealant. One of the Sales Associates recommended a ready made one, no mixing required. It worked just fine.
The day before I started, I cut the craft paper into 14×16 inch squares, more or less. Once I measured the rooms, I had an idea as to how many pieces I needed. Just like she shows in the video, I too used my hands to tear the paper into squares. Once all the pieces I needed were cut, just like she shows on the video, I crumbled them up one by one, and reopened them after a few minutes. This helps to make the paper easier to work with. it also gives it a leather/wood look. You will also need to leave some of the squares with straight edges. These are the ones that will be used to place against the wall and in the corners of the room. This will make them go evenly against the walls. I included a picture of the square I cut out. It will give you an idea of how it looks once it has been crumbled. Once the pieces are glued on to the floor, they no longer look wrinkled. Please refer to the photos and video.
When you start laying the paper on the room, refer to the video. She demonstrates how they overlap over one another. It is also recommended that you should start at the inner most corner of the room and work your way outwards.
The whole room should be covered with the craft paper pieces. When working, I too moved back the unglued ones that were on the way. If you lay them out before hand, it will really make things easier for you.
You should have a container or bucket where you mix the glue. Continue to add water to the glue until you reach a creamy consistency. If you see that the glue is not easily gliding from the paint brush to the paper, just add a little more water. You should also have a waste basket handy just in case you need to make any adjustments to the already cut out pieces.
You will also need knee pads or small pillows to rest on, since you will be in this position for a while when doing the floors.
When you glue the pieces of paper, make sure you smooth each of them out by placing your hands over it. your hands should be facing the paper. Pretend you are ironing with your hands smoothing it out from the center towards outwards of all four corners. Once that is done, take the brush and cover it with glue over the top as well. Once you have completed the entire room, it might be a good idea to double check and make sure there are no loose corners. Once you are completely finished gluing all the papers, as she recommends, give the glue 24 hours to dry, before pouring the polyeurethane.
The polyeurethane can be poured into a bucket. Please make sure you have ventilation in the room. You can also wear a mask for the fumes.
In the video a home made broom is made just for the polyeurethane. A broom stick and a standard sized paintbrush are used. You can hold the paintbrush to the end of the broomstick with tape, as demonstrated on the video. This will make it easier to work with. In the video, she also placed a plastic bag over the paint brush to keep the polyeurethane from drying between applications.
It is advised that you do at least five coatings of polyeurethane. The floors will last longer. Please give the Polyeurethane at least two hours to dry before applying the next coat. I must say, it was a bit tiring. However, it didn’t stop me from enjoying the project. I took pride in doing it myself. More importantly it saved me more than $1,000. My special thanks to the couple that posted this video.
Below is a list of the materials and/or supplies you will need to do these floors.
Craft Paper – A large roll of craft paper which can be found in Home Depot for just under $14, will be more than enough to cover two standard sized bedrooms. My rooms were 14×16 and 9×13.
Polyeurethane – The Water-Based Polyeurethane comes in a white plastic gallon. It costs around $35. As she mentioned on the video, this is the most expensive product you will need for the project.
Elmers Glue – You can pick up a gallon of it at your Ace neighborhood stores, for about $16. You can also get the one Home Depot carries for around the same price.
Paint Brushes – You will need about two regular sized paint brushes – If you don’t already have them, you can get these at the “dollar stores”.
A gallon of Water – The water will be used to dilute the glue you are using to a consistency that compares to heavy cream.
The additional items I got were not mentioned in the video. Most of the people doing DIY projects already have most of these.
Hammer – $12 (Ace)
Wood strip nail removal tool – $11.99 (Ace)
Goggles – $3.99 (Home Depot)
Breathing Masks – $7.99 – includes three (Home Depot)
Concrete Sealant – $8.99 (Home Depot)
I was pretty pleased with the results.