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Leah miller
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I did my kitchen and dining room for 1$ a sf. It is brown paper, elmers glue with water rit dye, and Apoxy. The cost could be as low as 30-40€ if you use polyurethane. Please excuse me if I didn't post this under the right section.
 
Jami McBride
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Hi Leah,

Wow I'm so interested in this DIY project. When did you finish your floor - and how is it to live on?

Can you posts some pictures . . . .
 
Zenais Buck
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We did this in the upstairs (kids' area). It went on top of a plywood subfloor. I did not even bother filling in screw holes and the like, so you can see them along with the lines where the plywood fit together. In retrospect I would have filled those cracks. We did not use dye, but the variations between using the front and the back of the paper gives a nice visual texture. It looks so nice! I only put one coat of natural poly on top, and so the area where my daughter rolled her desk chair back and forth is very worn. Easy to fix though- just slap on more paper and cover. We have had it about, oh, 5 years or so? Love it!
 
Leah miller
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I finished the kitchen and dining room about a week ago and it looks great. I did my daughters room two months ago and I used oil based stain the finish is starting to peel up in some areas thanks to the oil based stain the areas that didn't stain well and the patches i did are hard as a rock so I think it's a stain issue. I'm not sure how to post pics on here. photo
 
Leah miller
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This is what it looked like before it was sealed. photo I used bona traffic instead of cheaper polyurethane because it had almost no odor and it is suppose to be very hard.
 
Jami McBride
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Leah - your http://instagram.com/p/xkl8qjrxfD/ link loaded with an error and no image - sorry :\

To add images from your computer to a new-post here at permies - while composing your message look down below the text field for the tab called Attachments click on it to bring it forward. Use the Browse button to find images from your HD and upload. Let me know if you have any other issues when you try it out.



Zenais - thanks for jumping in and sharing. I am concerned that the finish will be to soft and really mess up as things are dropped on it, are there gouges and pit marks in your daughters floor? And can you tell me what you like about this type of floor? I'm still trying to decide if this will work for our hard living lifestyle <g> if you know what I mean.
Do you have any pictures to share Zenais . . . . .


 
Judith Browning
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I've wanted to try this, too........so glad to hear results. I was hoping that there was something other than polyurethane, though as a top coat...maybe a wax or linseed oil? I love the look and have an upstairs hall that gets mostly barefoot traffic where I thought I might test it.
 
Leah miller
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Here is a website that shows how to do it webpage I do not recommend oil stain with bona traffic the oil makes so the finish doesn't stick to the paper properly.
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up close
 
Michael Cox
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I think this is what is being referred to:

Brown Paper Flooring Instructions - has some nice photos
 
Zenais Buck
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Jami McBride wrote:



Zenais - thanks for jumping in and sharing. I am concerned that the finish will be to soft and really mess up as things are dropped on it, are there gouges and pit marks in your daughters floor? And can you tell me what you like about this type of floor? I'm still trying to decide if this will work for our hard living lifestyle <g> if you know what I mean.
Do you have any pictures to share Zenais . . . . .




I don't have pics, but the floor looks similar to the website pics that Leah posted. The reason we chose this floor is because the building budget was empty. We knew we could to this as a temporary, cleanable finish and then cover it with wood flooring at a later date. There are dents and goudges, yes, but that is because the subfloor is just softer plywood. When a tear happens in the flooring, you simply glue a piece of paper over the tear, add a top coat over just that section, and you are good to go. That means even if the floor has an issue it is super easy to fix. We don't wear shoes in the house, so the upstairs gets very little dirt. For cleaning, the kids sqirt a vinegar and water solutions and then damp mop. We live in an off the grid cabin, so a very hard living lifestyle, yes! I chose this because it was a nice way to finish the floor (unfinished plywood gets so dirty and stained) and could be done for pennies a square foot. I used a 'green' poly-type product that we had left over from some other project. If I would have known we would still have this floor 5 years later I might have invested in a better top coat! My neighbor loved the floor so much she did it in her 50 ft yurt. It has weathered beautifully over the last 2 years (2 kids, 2 dogs, off the gird yurt). So, I would say it is a durable as your top coat and easy to repair. Oh! I just thought of another reason: before the paper floor, in our old log cabin, I had hand painted the floors. While I loved them, the kids were ready for what they called a 'real, non-hippy space'! I think it is hilarious that they thought a paper floor was mainstream. I guess compared to our old floor it is!
 
Zenais Buck
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I ran upstairs to take a pic of the floor near the boys' sleeping area. It is a cloudy day, so the light is poor. Add that to the fact that the floor is covered with stuff, and it was difficult to get a good pic.
Let's see if I can follow directions to add a picture. You will notice that, without the stain, the floor is more monochromatic. I like a less busy look, so it worked out. There is only slight variation where I used either the front or the back of the paper (they reflect light differently).
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Paper Floor
 
Jami McBride
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Oh! I just thought of another reason: before the paper floor, in our old log cabin, I had hand painted the floors. While I loved them, the kids were ready for what they called a 'real, non-hippy space'! I think it is hilarious that they thought a paper floor was mainstream. I guess compared to our old floor it is!


Tooo funny! Thanks for the laugh...

Great information, I'm getting excited to try this now. We have been living in our country home three years, and the cheap vinyl floor in the kitchen is getting a lot of splits and will have to be re-done in the near future. So thanks for sharing!



 
Leah miller
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I choose the floor because it was cheap and easy enough for me to install and you can repair it. They had carpet in the dining room and with 5 kids it got really nasty so the paper floor is 1000x better than what we had.
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Zenais Buck
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Leah miller wrote:I choose the floor because it was cheap and easy enough for me to install and you can repair it. They had carpet in the dining room and with 5 kids it got really nasty so the paper floor is 1000x better than what we had.


Leah, that floor is beautiful! You are making me rethink the whole stain thing!
 
Terry Ruth
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Perhaps over thinking but I would suggest checking with the sub-floor manufacture for acceptable glues that will withstand the test of time. OSB or plywood glue surface is not wood, it is a phenolic resign often toxic formaldehyde that is not inert and stable to all chemicals like a magnesium board or bare wood. Just don't want the floor peeling off or outgasing nasty stuff you can not see.
 
Jami McBride
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Well the smaller bottles of Elmer's glue are labeled non-toxic, and I believe all Elmer's white glue is non-toxic - school kids eat glue dontcha know.
I would think covering/sealing sub-flooring with Elmers and paper would be better than many of the other typical options. Of course polyurethane and other sealants are toxic, but most, if not all finishing options are. Even linseed oil has toxic additives now days.
We can make better choices that's for sure, but chemicals are everywhere. So sometimes it boils down to the lesser of two evils.

I found this quote on a site discussing linseed oil
The fact is that most products with solvents become safe when dry as the solvents have evaporated. As long as care is taken to provide ventilation during the drying phase, health and safety concerns are minimized.




Re: paper flooring - Beautiful, deep floor Leah! You all are so creative I'm inspired.

I'm wondering if anyone has used other papers besides brown. . . . this stuff is addictive.

 
Leah miller
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Your right Jamil Elmers is non toxic and brown paper floors can be an greener option for flooring. I used Bona Traffic HD because its green certified and safe to use around kids and animals the only down side to it is 115$ a gallon. The bona doesn't stink and it is harder than polyurethane but don't use it if you're going to use an oil based stain. Oil based stains smells like hell and I don't recommend using it. If the floor in the dining room and kitchen hold up well I will be doing the entire house. You could use any color paper you wanted but it will make the floor cost more.
 
Terry Ruth
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Toxins were the least of the concern I raised. If you are gluing to OSB or plywood such as Georgia Pacific or Huber ZIP sub-floor popular today, they are plastic and the manufacturer clearly states that modifying their products with glues and other than the ones they approve over their seems voids the 500 day vapor pressure and perm rating. The reason is these floors are chemically reactive, they are not "inert"....so you change the perm rating of a materials or air rating that is tested to ASTM E96 for vapor pressure passage, and ASTM E331 for water passage, ASTM E2357 air perm.....Elmer's is "wood" glue not meant for plastics used in OSB or plywood, so glue to bare wood, and/or an inert material like MAG-Board. That is your best bet.

I know this since a similar situation is finding fault in the field when mastic's, primers, paints, are being applied to it and the edges are swelling or failing perm rating's (blower door test, rain/vapor exposure rot in 500 days or less). I suggest to make a simple phone call to the manufacture if you are applying glue and/or stains, polyurethane, to it, especially if new construction under warranty. The low voc paints and polyurethanes that use water vs solvents as a binder transport and not that toxic at all these days but cost more. The only component that can raise the toxic level in paints are some iron oxides.

I do like the way these floors look for the price lots can been seen by goggle images.
 
Terry Ruth
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Leah miller wrote:Your right Jamil Elmers is non toxic and brown paper floors can be an greener option for flooring. I used Bona Traffic HD because its green certified and safe to use around kids and animals the only down side to it is 115$ a gallon. The bona doesn't stink and it is harder than polyurethane but don't use it if you're going to use an oil based stain. Oil based stains smells like hell and I don't recommend using it. If the floor in the dining room and kitchen hold up well I will be doing the entire house. You could use any color paper you wanted but it will make the floor cost more.


How are you determining it is “harder” than other polyurethane there is no hardness value such as Rockwell in the specs? http://www.bona.com/Global/Countries/United%20States/Spec%20Sheets/2012%20Specs/Bona%20Traffic%20HD.pdf

Be careful with certification programs like “Greenguard”, LEED, etc., most pro’s know they are an advertising tool. If you look close at these programs they do not do third party lab testing or continuous inspection of the manufactures they certify, and the proper analysis to call products “green”….the whole greenwash of toxic materials is out of control, look at the MSDS not that it reveals all the materials just the hazard ones that can pose a risk to installers, not homeowners: Leed is currently being sued I read.

http://www.bona.com/Global/Countries/United%20States/MSDS/Bona%20Traffic%20HD%20Hardener.pdf

This contains “aliphatic polyisocyanate” as listed in the MSDS as a “hazardous material”. This material is also used to manufacture toxic foams and automotive paints and is far from being non-hazardous especially in those quantities. They are also using another hazardous material they do not completely identify “Organic Solvent”. If you look at the “reactive data” it reacts with water but not “violently” ….whatever that means. It also reacts with “strong Oxidizers”. There are a whole slew of oxidizers some listed here: http://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/chemicals/oxidizing/oxiziding_hazards.html#_1_2
Resign and catalyst based formaldehydes used to manufacture OSB/plywood sub-flooring can have strong oxidizing agents that cause combustion and outgassing of the toxins found in these engineered sub-flooring and urethanes, or MDI’s. OSHA does not require listing these hazards of outgassing and chemical failure that cause the floor to crack, rot, outgas over time.
From the instructions: “Stain, sealer, and finish results may vary widely depending on the wood species, especially on oil resinous exotics”. The manufactures of OSB and plywood use “oil and resinous exotics” that can result in a poor bond when modified by Elmer’s glue, stains, paints, mastics, other membranes….or “oxidizing agents and water carriers”. It may not occur immediately, and you may not see it, but fungi can grow and outgassing can occur.

The best away around all these complexities is to bond to bare wood such as a stripped down wood floor. If OSB or plywood nail bare wood panels down, glue, stain, and poly to it. Less costly in new construction.

This low voc polyurethane less than $50/gal is more stable and less reactive than Bona Traffic HD: Their solvent is listed as a hazardous material not their polyurethane which meets the 350 low V.O.C requirement. Again, no value on hardness to compare. The higher gloss finishes will show more scratching, the property to look at there is friction if listed, this family of poly should all be about the same in durability if properly installed.
http://www.minwax.com/document/MSDS/en/027426130210

Hope that helps
 
Bill Bradbury
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I use only 2 interior finishes;

Shellac and a light wax over oil- Shellac

Osmo - http://www.osmona.com/interior/Pro_Polyx.shtml

Here's a photo of the birch plywood floors that I finished with only osmo when I installed them 10 years ago. We have 4 large indoor dogs that as hard as they try, have failed to damage the floors.
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Osmo floor
 
Jami McBride
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Hey Bill,

I visited the Osmo site and watched the videos - looks real easy.
I was wondering do you use all their products for cleaning and maintenance - if not what do you use?



Edit: I emailed Osmo and they said their products would not work for stained wood or the paper-glue applications - to bad it is a nice green-er product.

 
Leah miller
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Thanks for all the info Terry. I knew that the bona could blow up after mixed and left sealed but I didn't know much else about it. The assumptions about the hardness came from forums and some test I have read.

Bill your floor looks awesome do you know how much it would cost per sq ft?

Thanks again guys for any info.
 
Jami McBride
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Terry Ruth wrote:The best away around all these complexities is to bond to bare wood such as a stripped down wood floor. If OSB or plywood nail bare wood panels down, glue, stain, and poly to it. Less costly in new construction.


I missed this post of yours Terry, thanks it was helpful.

This - wood, stain and poly is what I have planned for my new kitchen, the wood is in there adjusting to temp and moisture as I type. But I really like the idea of the paper floor for my currently stripped bare hallway.
 
Bill Bradbury
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Jami McBride wrote:Hey Bill,

I visited the Osmo site and watched the videos - looks real easy.
I was wondering do you use all their products for cleaning and maintenance - if not what do you use?


Hi Jami,

No, I use Howard's hard wax and a random orbit buffer like for a car. This stuff makes everything look good.
 
Bill Bradbury
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Leah miller wrote:
Bill your floor looks awesome do you know how much it would cost per sq ft?


This is Birch plywood, countersunk and screwed. The plywood is CARB and FSC certified and sells for $39 for 32 sq ft at my LBS. With finish and fasteners, probably around $1.50/sq ft.
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Hey Folks,

I have had a "boiler plate" I have been working on for some time entitled "Paper Floors"... (I actually have over two dozen I am working on...) So...instead of posting here (and getting my post all out of order and lost in my old head) I am going to comment on the new post addressing this subject.

I will say that "paper floors" are well over 4000 years old and my first one was done in a kitchen with my Grandmother...She called it "depression linoleum" and I learned a great deal that year on finishes from her and my Mother...As I traveled, I learn so much more......This is a beautiful and vast finishing style over wood, stone, and earth...

I want to also stress...being in the "natural building" section...plywood, polyurethane, and the related don't really fit into that parameter and is another reason I am separating my post from this one. I understand fully...and appreciate..."plowing with the horses we got" mentality...Good job all of you!!...Yet, there are traditional and natural alternatives that are both durable and sustainable, which don't support some of the nasties industries and companies in the construction field!

Warm Regards,

j
 
Zenais Buck
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Jay C. White Cloud wrote:

I want to also stress...being in the "natural building" section...plywood, polyurethane, and the related don't really fit into that parameter and is another reason I am separating my post from this one. I understand fully...and appreciate..."plowing with the horses we got" mentality...Good job all of you!!...Yet, there are traditional and natural alternatives that are both durable and sustainable, which don't support some of the nasties industries and companies in the construction field!


Yes! You nailed it with the 'work with what you have' part: often we have to get things done and we do the best we can. I am so excited to know there are natural flooring alternatives that might be affordable and locally sourced. Looking forward to reading your article!
 
Nan Russ
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Hey, everyone, Someone had asked if anyone had used a different type of paper other than the brown paper bag. I used regular brown paper, cut it into strips of equal size; covered front and back with PVA (Elmer's glue), pressed it down and allowed it to dry. I then used a sponge to stain it so it looked like wood. I, then, covered it with 12 layers of flat lacquer. We slide furniture across it, mop it often, sometimes wear shoes and we have two dogs. This was laid directly on top of painted subflooring. Hope this helps.
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Jami McBride
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Nan, that turned out so nice. You did a great job!

Do you have any more pictures?
 
Nan Russ
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Yes, I do. Here are some pix of the progress.
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Nan Russ
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More pix of the progress
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Nan Russ
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Sorry these aren't in order...
Floor-start-guest-room.JPG
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Nan Russ
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Here's the dining room floor I did.. This one was done over linoleum...same procedure, same products.

After and before pictures
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