Making new floors

One of the great many benefits of permaculure is that it saves you a lot of money along with the number one consideration of saving the planet. Which is particularly good when you dont have any money.  Necessity is the mother of invention, afterall.

I needed to redo at least 2 of the floors in my house (I have a third awaiting some ideas and resources) Flooring is very expensive, particularly expensive in fact. Mass produced carpet is usually to be found in heavy patterns or dull tones manufactured from pertrochemicals or involving heavy pollution in the production, then there’s the ‘underlay’ and fitting and delivery… unappealing to most people if they stop to think about it. Im not going to get started on the ‘laminates’ that have become so overly popular; dull, lifeless and cold in unlimited capacity, and actually I find far too expensive for such an end result. If they were here already I’d have to make them work, dont get me wrong Im not some weird floor snob, quite the opposite.. but Im talking about a a necessity to replace, and not redecoratation.

The worst was the kitchen, heavy wear and tear and a bit of flooding damage. I didnt know where to start but the bits of ‘lino’ that were down were falling apart and something had to be done. After I lifted it all up, I found plastic ’tiles’ that were stuck fast to the floor, some were missing and what were left were cracked and badly stained, reluctant to hire some sort of steam cleaner, I set to work with a hairdryer and a paint scraper and had them off within 2 days.


Scraping off the these tiles and removing most of the sticky residue was the hardest part. I used a hairdryer and a paint scraper.

 Then I attempted to sand the floor. I already had a hand-held sander so used that, hiring one was an expense and does not got right up to the edges anyway, in a small space it would have taken just as long again to around the edges with it afterwards. It was difficult with the residue of whatever that glue was left, so I painted it with an emulsion paint I had left over from painting the walls, this helped conquer any of thesticky residue left. I had been given some previously bought white spirits, but I’m never keen on using chemicals, and suffer alleries and easily irritable skin. In any case it didnt work!


Painted over with an emulsion wall paint

This meant I finally had a relatively serviceable floor at least! I have a liking for texture and colour, and for the real shabby chic (not the manufactured modern version) and I was reminded of imagery I had seen of old peeling paint layers and wonderful verdigris colours. So I decided to gloss over the blue and then have a go at sanding again, with a view to varnishing a top coat to finish


With a coat of white gloss

A quick sand over the top once dry revealed the colour and woodgrain beneath


A quick sand revealed the colour and wood grain which looks attractive and shows the natural fabric of the building.

I quite liked the effect and finish and it turned out much better with less expense to my pocket and the environment that buying more lino/underlay/cushioning or whatever is used!

My Hallway floor was again a small space and done with the hand held sander and same batch of sand paper! This time no paint. Thinking about textures and peeling had lent me to consider the use of paper. Heavy durable paper, things like old map books, or car manuals or album covers even, could be interesting. I had some waterstones gift wrap which was at least quality wallpaper thick and I found very attractive in colour and design


Heavy duty wallpaper or very good quality giftwrap, old maps, car manuals or album covers would be very interesting

I cut my paper into strips and glued to the floor boards with strong wallpaper paste.


I sanded them back a little once dry and washed over the top with varnish a couple of times to prevent them being scuffed off


Over a year and a half on and this hasn’t needed to be touched and I do have a three year old and a pushchair.

I have thought about tiling too, this would be particularly suitable for the bathroom (which has sheets of board, not nice floorbaords, and is in dire need of new flooring!) it would be easier to keep clean with small boys too..

As you may gather I wouldn’t wish to purchase trendy ‘hipster’ or ‘shabby-chic’ styled tiles and would prefer to source smashed/broken ones from elsewhere to make a mosaic. As I type that I am reminded of the floor at Bealtaine cottage so I just popped over and found that this is indeed how Colette did her floor

I am now inspired certainly for the bathroom and perhaps the living room floor too, new carpets are certainly out. Maybe you think Im mad. I think it will be a work of art and will be made cosy with plenty of handmade rag rugs!


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