My son’s carpet NEEDED to be changed. The carpet was older than he is and was installed in the house when it was built in 2000. Even though it looked pretty good the carpet smelled, had a filmy feel too it and just was all around gross. We have plans to change all the flooring in the house later this year but his room really needed to be done now due to his allergies and asthma issues. I just wasn’t sure what we would be doing or if we could do anything other than waiting. This is when Google came to the rescue, a simple search for “inexpensive floor”,” floors on a budget”, and “DIY flooring” really came into play. Several times I was sent back to the blog by An Oregon Cottage An Oregon Cottage and the blog by Lovely Crafty Home. Lovely Crafty Home Even though I loved the look it just didn’t feel right, I wanted this floor to be awesome, suddenly an idea popped into my head. COMIC BOOKS…… do my son’s floors in comic book pages. But can it be done? All I found was information on brown paper bags; would comic books be the same? I did find a simple blog called Lazy Cozy Lazy Cozy where she did something similar in her bathroom, but with heavy craft paper instead of brown paper.
So I had an idea, sorta-kinda instructions, a room that needed new floors, and a whole week to complete the project. My husband said worse case if it looks horrible we can put down a cheap throw rug and the oldest monkey could wait until the rest of the house has floors installed to get a new one. But we both agreed the carpet had to go. Plus it would be an awesome surprise for my son.
For anyone who likes the idea of inexpensive floors but not the brown paper bag idea take head of this blog. I will walk you step-by-step of what I did from start to finish (complete with pictures), and I will let you know what I would have done differently. This tutorial is what worked for me in my home. I can’t guarantee it will work for you or turn out the same. You can go to the wood section of your home goods store and get a panel of wood and try it on that, or do like me – just jump right in and pray it worked out.
SUPPLIES I USED (and the cost)
1.) 1 gallon tub of Elmer’s Glue All. I purchased this as the art store with a ½ off coupon. Cost was $9. Best part is I have more than enough to use for the next room.
2.) Paint Brush – didn’t use anything special, got this at the art store too, $5
3.) White Craft Paper – Got at the art store for $12.
4.) Polyurethane – I got this at the Home Depot, but I am sure any home good store carries the same thing, or even a painting store. Make sure you get water based polyurethane and the one that is safe for floors. This was about $49 for a gallon, don’t go cheap or you will have cheap results. I ended up needing a second gallon of this, so that was an additional $49. You may or may not need a second can; I suggest using the first gallon and seeing if you like the results first. I could have finished after the first gallon, but I wanted more layers. In hindsight I think it was overkill.
5.) Comic Books – I could have gotten a great deal if I planned better and purchased in bulk online, but I didn’t. I got 40 comic books at $2 each for a total of $80.
6.) New floor vent cover thingy. The old one had some rust on it so I opted to replace instead of refinish. $7 at Home Depot.
7.) Floor Transition – you will need this for a smooth transition between the new floor and your old flooring in the hallway. $5
Total Cost of project: $216. The room is approx. 250 square feet so the cost comes out to about $0.86 a square foot.
All of the tutorials talk about how you can do this floor for about $0.50 a sq ft. I can see that is you stuck with the original Brown Paper Bag flooring.
PREPERATIONSTEP ONE: Clear out the room. I used this time to pack up everything in my son’s room and throw away old pieces of paper, purge his toy box and just do a general clean of everything. I also cleaned the baseboards with soap and water, something I hadn’t done in a while.
STEP TWO: Pull up the carpet. Did I mention this one my first every DIY project? I had no idea how to pull up carpet or what I was going to find under the carpet and boy was I scared. Just in case you wanted to know how - go to the corner with a pair of pliers and just grab ahold of the carpet and start pulling. The carpet will start popping off the tack nails and a carpet pad will be revealed. I suggest that you roll the carpet as you pull it up; this makes it easier to dispose of when you are finished. You will need a box cutter or something you can use to cut the carpet at the doorway.
STEP THREE: When the carpet and the padding are removed you will see these strips of wood down the sides of the walls with little nails sticking up. This is how the carpet was being held to your floor. You will also notice staples that held down the carpet pad, you will need to remove those as well. It wasn’t has horrible as I thought it would be, I just used a hammer and screw driver to remove the wood and the staples. You may have a better tool to do this though. I saw whatever works for you feel free to use.
STEP FOUR: Sweep and clean the floor. I used my regular broom and dustpan and then finished with my vacuum cleaner. I have read on some tutorials you could mop the floor up and let dry, but I skipped that step and it was just fine.
Now you have a nice and clean subfloor that is ready for your new flooring. Remember this is what worked for me and there are a few steps listed below that I wouldn’t do if I did the floor again, but you can see the list of things I would do differently at the end.
STEP ONE: Lay down the white craft paper. Prepare the Elmer’s Glue by mixing approx. 1 cup of glue to 2 cups of water. This is just what I did and you can have a better mix ratio, just make sure it isn’t too watery. I brushed the glue on one side of the paper and placed on the floor. After it was down I brushed on the glue mixture over the top. Repeat this step on the whole floor. The comic pages will be going on top of this paper. If you have any vent holes just cut the paper to go around the vent hole. Let the whole floor dry, takes about 12 to 18 hours.
STEP THREE: When all the comic book pages are down you can start using the polyurethane. Just open the can and dump your brush in. I used a roller brush, but I have seen others use a regular paint brush. I did a medium coat of polyurethane on the whole floor; I didn’t want it too thin but didn’t want it to thick either. The polyurethane goes on sort of blue but dries clear; it was super easy to use. I didn’t sand in between coats like the directions on the can said. Remember when you are laying down the polyurethane to leave a path to the door. I just filled that area in as I was heading to the door. It takes about 3 to 4 hours for the polyurethane to dry, make sure the previous layer is dried before you brush on the new coat. I did a total of 7 layers of polyurethane and the floor looks amazing and is super easy to walk on.
WHAT I WOULD HAVE DONE DIFFERENT
I would not have put down the white craft paper first. I would have just glued the comic book to the subfloor directly, and maybe just added a second layer of comics if it was needed. There isn’t anything wrong with the white craft paper, it was just an unnecessary step that added time to the project.
I would have been more patient and not used the second can of polyurethane. Yes, it worked out and the floor feels great and smooth but this was an added expense and time that wasn’t needed. I truly feel I would have gotten the same results if I only did 4 coats of polyurethane that the first gallon gave me.
As I mentioned before I should have purchased the comic books in bulk for less than the local store gave them to me for. Don’t get me wrong I still got a great deal, but I know I could have gotten it for less if I was patient.
When the oldest monkey got home from camp he was super happy to see his floor. In all honesty his room is one of my favorite rooms in the house. I can't wait to repeat this process with my daughter's room. I am coming up with all kinds of ideas for her floor, I am thinking pink, purple, and maybe zebra print. One thing I learned from this project is to not be afraid of a DIY project. Just jump right in and have a plan B. Wonder what other typed of projects I can do around the house.