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How to Whitewash Wood Floors

Learn how to whitewash wood floors with this step-by-step DIY project.

What You'll Need

-- Unfinished wood floors

-- Microfiber cloth

-- Gloves

-- 1 gallon Sherwin Williams Sher-Wood wiping stain in White S64W11

-- Sponges

-- Rags

-- 1 quart each of two shades of gray interior latex paint (We used Sherwin Williams Dorian Gray 7017 and Repose Gray 7015.)

-- 2 coarse-bristle paintbrushes

-- Polyurethane (We used Minwax clear stain polyeurethane for floors.)

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Step 1

Assess your wood floors. A light-tone wood, such as maple or ash, works best. Floors must be unfinished or sanded thoroughly to remove any existing finish. (The flooring shown here is unfinished maple from Dean Hardwoods' Prestige collection.) Clean floors with a vacuum, then wipe down with a microfiber cloth.

Step 2

Starting in a corner, dip a sponge into the wiping stain and apply it generously to a 2x4-foot section of floor.

Step 3

Before the paint dries, wipe most of it off with a separate dry sponge. 

Step 4

Use a dry rag to remove any streaks. The result should look like a thin white film through which you can see plenty of the wood grain. Repeat this process (steps 2–4) until the entire floor is whitewashed. Allow it to dry at least one night.

Step 5

To give our floors more tone depth, we added two shades of gray over the whitewash. Achieve this look by using a coarse-bristle brush to lightly apply the darker shade of gray to a 2x4-foot section of floor. Immediately afterward, use a different brush to add the lighter gray tone. The point is to see thin gray lines, so allow the brushes to dry between each application. 

Step 6

Let the paint dry six hours before applying a thin, even coat of clear polyurethane to the entire floor. The finished look is pictured at right.

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