wood floors painted in checkered pattern
Photo: Kolin Smith
Q: A smooth finish depends on the amount of prep work you're willing to put in before painting

A: Q: I recently removed carpeting and am thinking of using deck paint on the hardwood as a temporary solution. What preparation should I do to minimize flaws?

— Marisa, Phoenix, Arizona

Tom responds: Well basically, if you remove the carpeting, you're first going to have to sand the floor. After giving it a light sanding, patch the floor with a hardwood filler. For this, people use different products, a lot of which are water-based. After the filler dries, sand it off flush with the floor again. Then prep the floor following your paint manufacturer's recommendation. In some cases, deck paints don't need primers and in some cases they do. But if the floor is still rough to the touch before you paint, it'll still be rough to the touch after you paint it. So remember that the finish you end up with is only going to be as good as the amount of effort you put into sanding and prepping the floor. Paint won't fix it on its own.

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