Painted wood floors, what to do?

15 Replies

We are under contract for our first property.  The intention is for this to be a rental.  It doesn't need a total rehab.  Just some basic stuff.  We plan to paint everything, clean up the yard, remove an old half crumbled fence that looks awful and figure out what to do with the flooring.

It's a 1940s bungalow.  It has hardwood floors that have been painted brown throughout the entire house.  I don't know what to do with this.  I don't like the look of the painted floors.  As far as I can see, the options are: 1. Strip and refinish 2. Put floating laminate down 3. Carpet.

If it's practical, I would like to strip and refinish, but I am unsure of the cost and the difficulty on doing this.  If it's pricey, it may not be practical for this particular home. 

Anybody have insight into stripping paint off of wood floors?  Are there other ideas on what to do with this floor?

A lot of work and you wont know what the floors will look like when done . If its going to be a rental  I would just paint the floors again . Once you put in furniture , and some area rugs  you dont see much floor anyhow . 

Will you get more rent if you strip them and spend the next 200 hours of your free time sanding and varnishing them .. probably not ! You gotta stop thinking this way . It’s a rental not where you live. They are probably going to trash the floor in some way anyhow so why kill yourself .

For stripping or sanding if they were done long ago it could be lead paint. Also if it had glue or urine damage it wont refinish well. What you do depends on the quality of the area. You probably need to either repaint or do vinyl. In either case you coud do a test room yourself if you really want to refinish. No carpet, waste of money.

I have s rental like this. I just left the floor as is. You could always put carpet down too but I personally hate carpet

I recently found hardwood floors under green carpet in a 1950's brick ranch.   I paid $3K to have around 1,500 sq ft stripped and refinished.  It looks great and several good applicants fell loved it.  Probably added $50 to monthly rental price.  Good surprises are few and far between in the buy, repair, hold, rent business. This was one of them.  

I would vinyl plank over them. I don't disagree with the folks saying leave it as-is or paint over it but if it were me... I would present a decent product to my customer. IF ONLY for the selfish reason that if it's between my rental and the landlord down the street with decent floors, I'm probably losing the tenant to the house without the weirdo floors. I used to refinish floors on those little 1940's bungalows too. Not anymore!! I saw the light! And honestly no one gave a damn about my hardwood floors I worked so hard on. Vinyl plank can get wet, you can scoot furniture all over it, and if a pet soils it, well, it's not the end of the world.

A lot depends on what other units in your area offering. I have done a lot of Victorians, which all had heart-of-pine flooring under carpet/paint/linoleum. Since I was retailing, I always had them sanded and I've never had a floor that didn't look great afterwards. 

Even pet stains don't look so bad, if sanded off and poly on top. 

The worst ones were when I did one of those myself, with rented large sander, and they had painted over. The paint sort of melted from the heat and rotation of the sander and it constantly gummed up the sheets. And those sheets are pretty expensive. 

I swore that I would never do it myself again.

I would personally sand and refinish. If there are stains or pet marks a darker stain can go a long way and looks great. I put out a quality product and typically get top market rent in my area I also get good tenants because I offer a nice product. It also does depend on where the home is. Someone to sand and stain should cost on average 2/sq ft. Good luck.

There is a good chance they were painted for a reason and not refinished. There is at least a 50% chance that you pay $1k to strip them and find out they're ugly and need to be painted or gone over again. Just prep them properly and paint them again, it is the best ROI

And if you do decide to strip them run a good paint scraper over them or try a sripper before sanding so you dont run through a ton of sanding pads. Its a ton of work and some guys wont sand painted floors around here so you may have trouble hiring it out.

It really depends on your budget and clientele. If your tenants want a nice clean basic unit and dont want to pay up, repaint or colored polyurethane. If you think you can get more money or a nicer class of tenant either refinish or cover & protect your original wood floors with wood look vinyl plank. I like the solid core vinyl plank but its pricy. Lighter colors are coming back and they actually show less dirt than dark.

Pretty sure we are going to do vinyl plank.  I discovered there are multiple layers of paint.  I think vinyl plank is adequate for the neighborhood and our budget.

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