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Paint wooden floorboards

I received this from forum member, Simon. Any thoughts based on previous experience? I imagine the traditional colours would be the driver for looking at those two paint options?

[quote]I am in the process decorating my 1920’s house. I first came across
your web site while researching recommendations and processes for
painting varnished internal panel doors. The information I found on
your site has proved invaluable.

With that in mind, I was hoping you might be able to advise me on
another job I am undertaking, namely the painting of the upstairs

The floorboards are in reasonable condition but have some staining
from the black carpet underlay. I have filled and sanded the boards so
they are smooth to the touch. I was planning on using either F&B or
Little Green floor paint. Both companies recommend using their own
brand primer and undercoats. I was wondering if you would suggest any
other primer and undercoat alternative? And the best method for
painting floorboards?

Many thanks,

Personally Simon, I’m happy using zinsser cover stain underneath LG but when it comes to F & B I’ve found it best to stick with their own products. Incidentally out of the two you’ve named I’d go with Little Greene, but I’ve painted stairs and floorboards with dulux oil satinwood with success and it’s durable


Thanks for adding my query to the forum Andy and also thanks for the reply from WHD. I already have some Zinsser BIN, which worked brilliantly for priming varnished doors. Could I use this instead of the Cover Stain?

I was also interested to read the article by Russ – ‘Restore Victorian bathroom with Little Greene paints’. Russ, you don’t mention using any primer or undercoat, just 3 coats of Little Greene floor paint, is that right?


Hi Simon,

Your quite right I didn’t use any primer as the boards were in reasonable condition with no staining. The LG floor paint is solvent based and is quite adequate for doing this work without priming, providing 3 coats are applied. Thin your first coat by up to 20% with white spirit this will help the 1st coat to soak into the boards and act like a sealer, followed by 2 full coats,. Leave overnight to dry and lightly sand between coats.

If however, you are applying a Water Based product then I would suggest ZinBin to seal in any knots/staining as obviously pine floorboards tend to be quite knotty, this will also help prevent any tanning coming through especially if the boards have been treated with any type of preservative.
Prior to any paint application obviously abrade and wash down to degrease and remove any surface contaminants. * The residue left from the black underlay may contain bituminous type products and therefore would need blocking out, ZinBin is ideal!

Hope this helps

Kind regards, Russ

Almost forgot: a decent 2" inch brush and work along the length of 2-4 boards at a time working towards the door and not away from it, as you may find yourself in a tight corner, lol. Believe me I’ve seen it happen! Also as Matt from WHD suggests I would generally use the suggested primer/undercoat when working with F&B paints, so 1 x ZinBin - 1 x U/C & 2 to 3 x top coats.

Personally I would go for LG for floorboards.

As an alternative if you want water based: Use white primer over ZinBin followed by 2 x coats of Dulux Diamond Glaze varnish, great effect and durable finish!


Thanks Russ, really appreciate your advice.

Best wishes,

My pleasure, any time.