Choosing Brown Paper Flooring – Part 1

This topic is going to be a “2 parter.”  I’m going to be pretty detailed in the steps, because I ran in to some issues that I want to discuss.

Here’s the back-story:
We have carpet… and pets, which is a nasty combination.  After years of complaining, my wonderful hubby FINALLY told me that I could get hardwood flooring throughout the house.  YES!

I searched high and low for the perfect floor that would hold up to our incontinent (but loved) yorkies and settled with hand scrapped solid bamboo flooring.  I ordered samples from and patiently awaited their arrival.

When the samples came in they were BEAUTIFUL!  BEAUTIFUL, I tell you!

I was elated, I carried these samples all over the house, holding them up to the walls, the couch, the trim, the bed… my face. Yes, I rubbed all over these samples… then it happened.  My eyes started to itch, then swell. WHAT?!  Are you kidding me?!  I have very bad allergies to all grasses and the only thing I can figure out, is that bamboo is a grass and maybe all my rubbing on the side that wasn’t sealed got to me.  Either way, can I risk putting this floor throughout my house, when the samples made me look like I had been punched in both eyes?  The let down was terrible.

I still had to, at least, do something about the carpet in our dining room… and I had read online where someone had used brown contractor’s paper as flooring and it looked almost like stained concrete…Say whaatt???  So on a whim, I told the hubby to do his demo magic and rip it out.  He was done in no time!

Once the carpet was gone, I had to do a couple of things that I had been putting off.  First, I needed to put a final coat of paint on the board and batten.  I recently purchased this paint sprayer from Amazon and was ready to put it to good use!

To tape off and protect the upper portion of the wall, I found this amazing stuff at Lowe’s, in the painting department.

It’s plastic with painter’s tape on one side, you simple press down the tape then unfold the plastic and it clings to the wall!  Amazing!!!

Once the board and batten was painted, I used Killz on the subfloor.  I pretty much just did the entire floor and I’m glad I did, I’ll tell you why in my next post that includes all of the steps.

In between painting the walls and the sub floor, I did a test board of two methods for the brown paper flooring.

I cannot express how important it is to do a test board.

I used a scrap piece of plywood and on one side, I used RIT dye in dark brown, on the other side I used Minwax stain.  I polyurethaned both sides and waited for the results.

RIT dye wins!!
Here is a picture of the test board (Rit dye side) next to my wall.

I ended up choosing the RIT dye for several reasons:

  • From the research I had done, I found that when you do the stain it stays tacky until you put your first coat of poly on.
  • There are also horror stories of white splotches on the stained version after the poly due to how the stain and poly react together with the paper and the paper actually having a front and back side.  
  • I knew if I used the dye it should all be pretty uniform if I made sure my measurements were the same for each batch of glue, water and dye.  
  • I also liked the idea of being able to darken the floor in increments if needed by placing some of the dye in the coats of poly.

That’s it for now!  In the next post, I’ll list out all of the steps I took and the final results!

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