The Paper Flooring Experiment, Part IV – Misfit Questions & Other Resources

Can I be honest for a second? I’m so glad this is the last part of my paper flooring series (as I’m sure you are too). I’m ready to move onto some fun creative projects, and I’m itching to finish up some of the rooms in our house that have in been in progress for forever. I don’t even want to DIY things, I just want to go shopping and be done already. I know, crazy…but that’s how I feel at the moment. I’m in a weird mood. ANYWAY, moving on…for this last post I’m going to answer some of the more random questions I receive about my flooring.

Paper Flooring Part IV

So here we go!

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Can I paper over tile?

papering tile

Yes, it actually works really well. This tile has some bumps and ridges to make it look more natural, and it shows through the paper and looks pretty cool, almost like real stone (if my stain job wasn’t so terrible). Just know that if you paper over tile the grout lines will very clearly show. I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing, but some people might not be so thrilled.

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  1. Phew!
    Now go have yourself a stiff drink.
    Sam Pereira recently posted..Lemonade is for WimpsMy Profile

  2. Ashley, you definitely deserve a reward for your exhaustive research!
    Sarah recently posted..Tillary-ish Day BedMy Profile

  3. What a great post! LOVE all your experiments. Thanks so much for including a link to my rit paper bag floor! You’ve totally made my day!
    Marilyn recently posted..Office Depot: #TeachersChangeLivesMy Profile

  4. What a huge project. You did a wonderful job! I’m sure both you and Adam will be glad to have the results out of the freezer, oven, microwave… ;)
    Jan Elizabeth recently posted..A bowling ball with a history, and big plansMy Profile

  5. Thanks for mentioning me Ashley! I feel like I’m famous. Haha. We tried this flooring with the plan to cover our entire downstairs floor. I was beyond excited because I don’t know anyone personally with this in their house. We started by ripping up all the carpet and linoleum. The kids were able to help with that part so that was fun. :) We rented one of those floor maintainer sanding machine thingies. Hubby went to town on the floors and got the concrete all even and pretty. We decided to do the paper in the kitchen first. BIG MISTAKE! We probably should have started with the much smaller area in the bathroom first. So we ripped and glued for the better part of 6 hours. We even made some of the papers look like our great state of Texas! The whole time we kept oohing and aahing over what was going to be the most beautiful floor ever. We saw some wrinkles but kept telling ourselves that they would go away. That’s what the blogs said. (I read a few of them beforehand.) Well the wrinkles did mostly go away after the glue dried. When we stained it a day or two later, I was in love! It was so beautiful and the Texas shapes stood out all neat and cool. More wrinkles popped up. :( Then I did the poly. I let it dry for 2 hours between each coat because that’s what the bottle said. I did 4 coats total because the bottle said that after 4 coats you need to sand it before adding more (or something like that) and 4 coats seemed like plenty. So we waited…a full week! (Because the bottle said it would take that long to fully cure and so did the blogs I read). That is a really long time to have to use a makeshift kitchen in your living room. :) As the week went on we expected the wrinkles to disappear. They just got worse and worse! They were BAD! So we did the bathroom thinking maybe we didn’t smooth out the glue and paper correctly. The bathroom was going to be much better! Or not! I took a lot more time smoothing out and making sure it was perfect. Once the poly came into play though, wrinkles happened again. We finally realized that it had to be the moisture in the concrete that caused the wrinkles. Just for fun, we decided to experiment on a spot in our living room. I got out some old paint we had and painted a good size square on the floor. Then went through the whole process with the flooring again. That time it worked. NO WRINKLES! This all took almost a month of our time because well, we have kids, hubby has a job, kids have activities, etc. We planned on redoing the kitchen and bathroom and then working on the huge living room area. Hubby tried to scrape it up by hand because I couldn’t at all. It would have taken him (very strong and patient and capable though he is) a very very long time to do it by hand. So we rented the big floor maintainer machine thingy again. This time with a scary looking attachment that had bolts or something on the underside to scrape up the flooring. HOLY SMOKES! IT TOOK FOREVER!!! Well 4 hours of forever, but when you’re really tired and don’t want to hear a loud machine and have to wear a dust mask and it’s late at night, 4 hours is forever! It was very hard to get up. Hubby still had to go back and do around the edges by hand. In the end, we decided to not do it at all. It was so much work and we weren’t completely sure our new experiment would work out in the end. I was very sad, but I was also tired of not having a kitchen and living with ugly concrete floors for so long. We put down tile. Not as pretty at all but functional and not carpet. We are however, planning on doing the paper flooring on our stairs. And since Ashely did this awesome experiment with all the different papers and polys, I feel much more confident about doing it and I’m excited to get to it…once we can afford it. Tile is not cheap. I’m sorry this is so long. It just all came out as I started typing even though I had every intention of keeping it short!

  6. Hi Ashley!
    I was just looking at some stats on my blog– saw that I’ve had quite a few hits from the link you’ve so graciously added to your post…:) I just wanted to say ‘THANK YOU!’
    It looks like you’ve done tons of research and homework on the paper floor movement. I am so pleased with my floor.
    When I finally get ready to do the floor in my vintage camper– I’m going to use the same method there. I love it.
    thanks again for the link up!
    Patricia recently posted..:: Creatures of Habit or NOT-My Profile

  7. We are about to give this a go over our concrete floor. Iv been looking at blog posts for quite some time and quite confident, but Lizs story sounds like a nightmare.. I will do a test area first and prime the (new) concrete first… BUT we have underfloor heating and I cant find anyone who has done ths over a heated floor – concrete or wood. Any body got any relevant info? I think it should be alright if everything is temperature resistant…..

  8. I was so excited to find this technique because I was considering acid staining my basement, which I’m converting to a studio, but to do the 1200 sq foot would cost upwards of $6000 to do by a pro. I am considering doing it myself, but this sounds easier and less expensive. However, after reading Lizz’s experience, I’m scared to. I figured HAVING a sealant on the concrete would inhibit adhesion. I guess I will have to test it first, but how would I test the Bona Traffic sealer? I wonder if I can combine only a portion of it with the hardener to see? Ahhhh, this floor project is becoming a royal pain. LOL I appreciate all of the information you have provided here. It has been very informative and may have saved me HOURS of work and getting similar results to Lizz. That would not be good. Thanks for your posts!

  9. Also, I wonder if an epoxy sealer would be better.

  10. I have to say I like the look of the paper floor, but do not recommend it in the bathroom. If you have a leak anywhere, and the water gets under the edge of the paper, it will stain. Unfortunately, this has happened to me, and I’ve been in the process of repairing the problem for months. I put the paper down with water based sealer, and it looked great. I even did several coats. But for some reason, water still gets through. Now, I’m trying some polyurethane (oil-based unfortunately) over the water based poly. When it dries, I’m going to put water on it and see if it penetrates like it did with the water based. Hoping for a miracle!! :)

  11. Ashley,
    Thank you for all your hard work, research and willingness to share it with all of us! I am looking into inexpensive flooring options for my kitchen/living room and I LOVE the look of the brown paper floor. Your website has been really informative! I hope to dive into DIY Brown Paper- probably kraft paper ;) – Bag floors this summer. Thanks again!

  12. I have a question and hope to find an answer soon…before I decide to undertake this project. I am a renter. So, I struggle with how to make temporary improvements. The 30+ year old, high-gloss linoleum that is in my kitchen, dining, hall and bath areas is in great condition, but ugly. I read your advise on using this method on linoleum and was encouraged when you said it peeled right off when you tried to remove it, and assume you tested this with the Builders paper. This makes it temporary, but would it hold up to daily wear?

  13. Thanks Ashley for your research, it helped me a lot. I started with the smallest area in my house, the hallway and I liked the look so much I’ve now done the whole house except for the bathroom and kitchen. No more crappy carpet! I’ve learned a few tricks along the way. I happened to use 70lb craft paper that I got at an art supply paper. I thought that thicker would be better. Also I cut the paper into different sized circles with a circle cutter. The thicker paper is harder to crumple up but if you mist it with a bit of water it crumples easier. As far as stain goes, I would never recommend using water based stain. It just goes on streaky. I got the best result with gel stain, wiped on with a rag. Also if you want to make a pattern with the stain (using taped areas) you’ll need to use gel stain, otherwise the stain just seeps under the tape (even “Frog Brand” painters tape). In order to get the paper to go on without wrinkles, I “paint” the floor with watered down wood glue (I’m gluing this onto OSB subfloor) I use a spray bottle to wet the paper with water, lay the paper down and painted over it with more glue. I’ve put up to 14 coats of water based satin polyurethane which worked well because you can walk on it in about an hour. It really is quite durable and if anything does happened to it, you can easily patch it with more paper. I did make the mistake of putting down a plastic office chair mat that had a very sticky side. I meant to protect the floor but it lifted up the paper when I moved it. :-( Another thing that I noticed is that, if you want uniformity you need to glue it all down at once because if put paper over top of dried glue areas, they will be lighter in colour when stained. You can’t worry too much about uniformity though, because no matter how much I experimented it comes out differently each time. Oh yes, knee pad are REQUIRED equipment!

  14. Hi there! Was there any additional prep on the tile? And did you use the same glue method? Or a different application?

Thank you for your comments!

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