DIY: Painting A Checkerboard Floor (Tips + Products I Used)

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Written By Jim J Neal

I’m about halfway through painting a checkerboard floor in my studio, and I’m really pleased with how it’s turning out. The main room, which is around 19.5′ x 21′, is 2/3 complete. After having completed this portion, I’ll need to cover it with protective paper, move my furniture and other items to this side of the room, and start on the remaining sections of the studio.

Since I’ll be using paint, resin, and alcohol inks in this studio, I wanted a floor that could be spot sanded and retouched if any of these substances were to drip on the floor. Thus, I chose red oak hardwood flooring, and then sanded it for extra durability. After that, I applied two coats of Zinsser B-I-N Shellac-Based Primer and two coats of Behr Porch and Patio Floor Paint in a low-luster finish. The color I chose was Benjamin Moore Classic Gray.

To ensure that the checkerboard design was centered on my cabinets rather than in the center of the room, I marked the center of the middle cabinet using a tape measure and pencil. When I was done drawing this line, I used a leftover FLOR carpet tile as my pattern and traced the squares along the marked line. I then taped off every other square to be painted my contrast color, Behr Polar Bear, and then applied two coats of it.

Before I could paint, I had to make sure all of my pencil marks were removed. I used a Magic Eraser to do this, and then sealed the edges of the tape with the first color, Classic Gray, to ensure the edges of the contrast color would be perfect.

Once all of the preparation work was finished, painting the squares went quickly. I applied two coats before removing the tape while the second coat was still very wet. I let it dry for 24 hours and then repeated the process on the remaining squares.

I’m happy to say that my new painted checkerboard floor has held up admirably to my hyper 100-pound dog who won’t let me clip his claws. I don’t plan on adding a clear coat to the floor as this would complicate the touch-up process and defeat the entire purpose of having a painted floor.

Painting a checkerboard floor is a lengthy process, but the difficulty level is low. In the end, I’m extremely satisfied with the results, and I’m looking forward to completing the remaining sections of the studio.