I'm so excited to show you this post guys, I love this floor fully, totally, 100%. It's been the bane of our lives since we moved in, it took around 32 hours to do. (not including preparing the sub floor). But love it we do!

This post is really wordy and really picture heavy so here's a look at what's waiting at the end!

Let's start at the start and then we can end at the end of the beginning. Because of course our office has so much more to be done to it!

When we viewed the house, the reception room here that we are using for an office was a pool table room with a grotty chewing gum littered and stained beige carpet. The room had big round casino style steps.

This is how it was when we viewed the house
The first day we had the keys. Dus doesn't hang about!

We looked at different pricing for a hard floor in here because carpet and pins don't mix too well and Dus didn't want to go to work and risk treading on a pin that got missed (I know, it'll show really well on paisley right?). Laminate was pricey, lino was pricey, wood was even pricier! I had a browse on Pinterest (as you do) and came across plywood floors and thought, wohoo, that'll do! But then as I started pinteresting plywood floors I came across this pin. (I also found a lace one but thought Dus has had enough super girly decor for one month).

Our Pinsperation!

I found two paisley stencils on Etsy and decided on the one from OMG Stencils because it was the cheapest. Including shipping it came to around £35 and was here within 2 weeks. I hadn't expected it to arrive so soon! The other was more like £50 and was a bit more floral paisley. I liked the cheaper one more. Anyway, onto the doing.

As you can see from the photo above, the subfloor was pretty unpretty! We decided to lay 6mm MDF on top and redesign the steps. Actually I lie, the steps was nothing to do with me, Dus decided that on his own and once he'd pulled them apart I couldn't really say no. Besides, they came out quite far into the room and with a business and a hobby seamstress both vying for space, we would need all the room we could get!

So Dus re did the steps out of wood we already had. And then we moved in.

Nice squared steps in the foreground there

We had to order the MDF to come to us because it was 2440 x 1220 (I think 8ft x 4ft?) and there's no way we'd fit that in the car! When it arrived Dus emptied the office (I was probably painting something, somewhere), and then cleaned up the base floor. He made sure that there weren't any pokey out bits and that any deposits were up because the MDF was so thin, it would for sure have shown or be felt through.

He then started to lay the large MDF sheets down ensuring that they overlapped any sub floor joins so that there wouldn't be too much movement when it was all finished.
It took him quite a while to do this because, surprise surprise, the room isn't square or level and the corners are not 90 degrees.

He countersunk screws along all of the edges of the boards and then filled the gaps and the screw holes.


It was at this point where the steps blended into the rest of the floor we realised we would need to make sure they contrasted enough for us not to fall down them!

Then he was very naughty and sanded the whole floor down without a face mask until I rapped on the door and gave him a row. He also didn't take the router or tools out of the office. It got kinda dusty in there!

We have since discussed the dangers of sanding without a mask.

Then it was up to me to clean the floor up and get to work painting. I used a barely damp old flannel to wipe the floor down (I did the skirting board too seeing as I was down there)

Kneeling on this dusty floor is kinda dirty, you will want to change into your painting clothes (what Dus and I call scraggers). Otherwise this is what will happen to your good jeans & slippers.

Anyway, so then once it had dried out and I got changed, it was time to paint. Don't do what we did. We used dark grey undercoat because it's what we had in the shed and we were trying to be thrifty. I did 3 coats. Then I started stencilling with white undercoat. About 2 hours in I realised it looked awful, it was sticky, smudgy, was catching on the stencil and overall a right pain in the neck.

So we sanded it back to almost before. This is where you'll want to catch up with us now.

The paint you want to use is plain matt emulsion. We used a dark grey for the background and a light  grey for the stencilling.

I did 3 coats of the background dark grey to get a really good solid coverage.

I loved the matt texture of this, it was so beautiful and soft.

Then I began in one corner and started stencilling with the light grey. I laid a dust sheet out and sprayed a light coat of spray adhesive onto the back of the stencil to keep it in place. This lasted a good couple of hours and I didn't need to reapply that too often. You should start in a corner that's square. Live and learn eh?

I took this pic on the undercoated floor, not the emulsioned floor hence it being a little different.

I discovered that it's easier to avoid smudges if you can do a stepped effect like this giving each square a couple of minutes to firm up before doing the one immediately adjacent to it. The stencil was really easy to line up thanks to squares in each corner.

I used a small foam roller, usually used for radiators and did one thick ish coat onto the stencil. Enough for good coverage, but not so much it was thick and would stick up from the floor when it was dry.

This is how much I got done in one day, it was around 6 hours work in total to do the stencilling with the sides & edges taking the longest.

You should wash the stencil out after each session and I just soaked it in the bath for half hour then used a washing up sponge to lightly wash off the paint. Because it was emulsion it dried really quickly so needed a bit of gentle persuasion!

For the edges I sprayed the stencil quite generously with spray adhesive to ensure it would stick well to the floor and not wibble around. I just painted as close to the wall as I could.

There was one awkward corner and again I just painted as close as I could and it's not noticeable now.

We left the steps unstencilled to give a nice safe contrast when entering the room. It's not nice to not be able to see steps and go flying!

All painted, you can't even see the joins!

Next I used Ronseal Diamond Hard floor varnish in a Matt finish and did three coats. I chose matt over satin or gloss because I didn't want the joins in the boards to show up when the light hits and I didn't want it to be too shiny as the sun comes in and you wouldn't be able to see the design too well.

Somehow managed to varnish my toe!

This varnish is really runny so I recommend using a short pile microfibre roller sleeve and don't put too much on to begin with. By the second coat it was a bit tough to see where I'd been so I worked out markers for myself on the pattern to ensure an even coverage. The third coat was a nightmare to see! We didn't want to have done all these hours and not have it definitely sealed though so three coats was a must.

Because we pulled the carpet out of this room there was a small gap around the base of the skirting and where we laid the boards so we purchased some 12mm pine quadrant beading and then I glossed it white. We also purchased a silver metal right angle and a silver metal threashold thingy (I lost the receipt so I can't tell you what it is!) to go between the laminate in the living room and this painted MDF.

Dus got to work sticking the beading to the base of the skirting board all around the room. Wooden floors can have some movement so you'll want to just stick it to either the floor or the skirting, not both. We could have nailed it but then we'd have to fill the nail holes and paint again and this beading won't see much action as our furniture will be against the walls.

That's it, the floor was finished. Dus decided to sweep the floor one last time to get rid of beading sawdust and I thought his sweeping method was so amusing I took a photo for you. Dus is very efficient and likes to exercise his full reach when sweeping.

So ta-da, the floor was done! The varnish was re-coatable in 2 hours but we still left it a good 24 hours before moving things into the room just to be on the safe side.

In total this floor took us around 32 hours and is not for the faint hearted. However, look at what we got in return! I'll break down the time and costs below in case you're thinking this is something you'd like to do.

Approximate Hours:
Laying MDF - 8 hours
Filling MDF - 2 hours
Sanding floor - 2 hours

(I won't include our foray into oil based paints because that would be ridiculously long!)

Painting the basecoat - 2 hours per coat = 6 hours
Stencilling - 6 hours
Varnishing - 6 hours
Finishing - 2 hours (Including the metal step edges)
Total hours: 32

MDF - £75
Emulsion - £30
Varnish - £40
Stencil - £35
Beading, threashold & metal step edging - £40

Total cost: £220

What do you think, was it worth it? Do you love it as much as I do? I bet you do!