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Floors with a Flourish

Give tired floors a temporary facelift with paints designed for high-traffic areas. Add a surface design to weathered wood or unsightly concrete for an uplifting update.

By painting only a narrow runner in front of the door instead of extending the pattern across the entire floor, you call attention to the house's entry.

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What You Need:

Prepare the porch surface by scraping away old, flaking paint, filling in gouges, and sanding.
  • Scraper, filler, sander (as needed; see Step 1)
  • Floor cleaner
  • Primer
  • Floor paint in white and green
  • Paint roller or pad applicator
  • Straightedge
  • Ruler
  • Low-tack painter's tape, 1 inch wide
  • Paintbrush
  • Rigid plastic card (such as an old credit card)


Use low-tack painter's tape to help guide you in making straight stripes.

1. Prepare the porch surface by scraping away old flaking paint, filling any gouges, and sanding the surface smooth. Pound in any nails that may have risen over the years. 2. Thoroughly clean the floor, including the spaces between boards. 3. Prime with a good-quality primer. Let dry. 4. Paint the entire floor with one or two coats of white floor paint. For tips on painting wood floors, read "Facelifts for Old Floors" (see Related Links). 5. Mark the stripes. The floor shown is made up of alternating 5-inch-wide green stripes and 7-inch-wide white stripes accented with narrow green stripes. If needed, adjust the pattern measurements to fit the boards of your floor. With floorboards, you can use each plank as one unit of width instead of following the measurements. Tape along the edges of every other plank (or tape off a 5-inch width); these stripes will be solid green. For the boards in between, run a row of low-tack painter's tape parallel to the first tape, leaving one-half inch of floor exposed. Run a rigid plastic card along the tape to seal it to the floor. 6. Paint the full planks and narrow stripes green. Allow paint to dry, then carefully remove tape.

More Ideas:

  • On older porches, check the boards for stability and strength and replace any rotting or broken planks before painting.
  • Pick a single color for the stripes, or combine two or more shades, taking your cue from summery striped outdoor fabrics.
  • Although floor paints work for both indoor and outdoor use, and on wood or concrete, the design will last longest when the porch is somewhat sheltered.

Concrete receives paint well, and its large, flat surface is an ideal place for a bold border design.

What You Need:

Concrete less than a year old requires a masonry sealer; older concrete should be cleaned with concrete cleaner.
  • Masonry sealer or concrete cleaner (see Step 1)
  • Floor paint in medium green and beige
  • Paint roller or pad applicator
  • Painter's tape
  • Large double-leaf fern stamp
  • Crafts knife
  • Liquid floor wax


You can find rubber stamps (like the fern ones shown here) at most crafts stores.

1. Prepare the floor. Base preparation for old and new concrete varies slightly. For concrete less than one year old, clean and seal the surface with masonry sealer. For older concrete, clean it with concrete cleaner and repair any cracks or dings. Check your hardware store for concrete cleaning and repair materials.

2. Paint the entire floor medium green. Let dry. 3. Measure outer border and paint it beige. Tape off a wide outer border. The border shown above is 18 inches; adjust yours to fit your room, making sure the pattern shows beyond furniture and work areas. 4. Stamp leaf patterns on border. Paint a large double-leaf fern stamp with the medium green paint, and stamp leaf patterns all over the border. Extend some stamps into the taped area so the border and center blend well. 5. Stamp single leaves on border. Cut apart the double-leaf stamp, and add darker green single leaves around the border. Let dry. 6. Wax. Finish with a coat of liquid floor wax to add a rich sheen. To maintain the floor, as the wax wears and dulls, apply fresh coats.

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