Brown paper flooring



If you hate carpets and have a particle wood sub flooring…this is the post for you! 

I have decided to rip out carpet! Particularly because I have grape juice stains …in about two rooms…We live on a busy ranch and the carpet is just trashed…despite bringing in carpet shampooers and my personal spot removing steam vacuum.

To pull up carpet on any flooring…just grab a corner. You can use your hands or a pair of pliers. And use your entire body weight and just pull. Pull on the edges only….and you will discover the tack strips. 

You will see foam underneath. And underneath the foam you will see all the years of dirt that is trapped…and won’t ever come up. Yes…your house is really dirty underneath all of that carpet. 

If you have a little slave laborer…:) Have them help with pulling up staples. 

For the carpet tack strips, use a small crow bar and hit it underneath. They pull up super easy. Just be careful and use gloves when picking them up…they are sharp!

For staples…use a sturdy flat head screw driver.

Put it under the nail and then hammer it through, careful not to rip up the flooring underneath. You will get better with each time. Just remember to be as flat to the floor as possible…like in this picture…so you are hammering the nail up and not into the flooring.

Once the nail is kinda up, you can use a pair of pliers and pull the rest of the nailing up.

Before you start laying flooring, vacuum entire floor and make sure their are no nails or major bumps in the floor.


I found this out the hard way. I didn’t have all of my paper done…cause I thought, I can hammer this out in a day or two….ya…the day or two turned into a couple weeks of cutting paper. All together this is the WORST part of the project. It’s tedious…and if you are doing a large floor than this is the worst. I went through almost an entire roll of contractors paper. 

So you need two items to get the wood plank look. I used a long metal ruler and a triangle.

Here is my madness! I measure out five inches, set my ruler against the triangle that is square with the paper. I use a pen and draw out the lines.

I then cut down the lines.

And cut…and cut…

Each row had eight pieces of paper in each…I didn’t want to have to stop and cut paper if I was in the glue phase so I made sure I had extra cut…just in case.

I laid them out to make sure I had enough for my flooring. 


When you have all of your paper cut and your floor prepped for application…start here! 

I mixed elmers glue with water. I ended up using my hands a lot. I would mix it until it was good enough to have a little pull when I would run my hand through. 

I started with the very corner and used a brush…it worked…ok…but as I got better…I found my own hands to be the quickest and easiest way of applying the flooring. 

You have to overlap your paper or this will not work. 

The method I found the easiest and best for floor laying is dipping the entire piece in a bucket with the glue mixture. Then using your fingers, like scissors and running it down. I would then apply the wet sheet directly to the dry floor. 

It is critical that you apply your entire body weight and smooth out from one end to the other. Eliminate all bumps that you can. As you can see, bumps will form once you lay down the paper…Do not touch them…they will…for the most part smooth down.

If you still see bumps…gently lift the right side of the piece you are laying and smooth out the bumps. 

There will be major patches of glue…that’s ok…let it dry. 

I had multiple interruptions in life. So I had part of my flooring dry…You can do this…its ok. On the glue phase. You can start where you left off! 

One thing I should say with this flooring…is there will never be a perfectly smooth floor. Unless you are laying over laminate flooring. You will have imperfections. There was multiple areas that had water damage and the particle flooring was warped. So just realize that if your sub flooring is bumpy…I mean really bumpy…you might not want to go with this method. I hate blogs that don’t say this…Because EVERY BLOG I READ…never said this. I could kinda see it from the photos but no one just came out and told you. 

You will also see where the wood transitions from one particle board to the next. But…it’s minimal as you can see.

I used Valspar for accents to make the flooring look a little more like wood.

I would just brush small strokes with the glaze.

A couple knot holes.

I used minwax dark walnut stain. 

I used one of these brushes found in the paint section. It’s got absorbent padding (sheep wool). I just dipped it and smeared it, going with the “grain” of the faux wood planks.

You can see the stain kinda pools up.

Leaving behind a unique texture.

I had to do this in three different phases…the stain. I DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS! Do the entire room all at once and let it dry for 24 hours if not longer. I had to do it this way because this room is in the middle of our house and links the kitchen and our bedroom. I needed to walk on this flooring. 

You can see where I stopped and started stain. It’s not perfect but…it still turned out amazing. 

I applied Minwax fast drying polyurethane. I will show you what this does. 

It seals and makes everything glossy. 

I applied and waited…

And about cried…

The minwax didn’t work….what? I did everything right…but it seemed to not work. Did I get a bad batch of Minwax? Halfway through applying…it just turned…DULL. Even when I mixed the poly and applied the poly at one time. I could take my fingernail and push into the poly and a print was left behind. I almost cried. It would never stand up to ANYTHING! I would have scratches and it would look really bad! I almost cried. Almost. But then I got tough! 

I picked up another brand…At first I was hesitant. It was less expensive than Minwax. I applied it and waited. 

A COMPLETE SAVE! I waited 12 hours and pushed my fingernail in it…ROCK HARD! YAY!!!

Apply five-6 coats of poly. It took me virtually 1/2 can per coat for the first coat. The rest were less.

I finished the white washed trim. Eventually I will replace the door (since it has a doggy door and we don’t have a dog indoors) and it’s ugly. 🙂 Oh…and it leaks. I spent four days calking and sealing it. Bought a new rubber stopper on the bottom…it still leaks so this might be done pretty soon. 

The end result is a beautiful floor. I placed pallet trim which I destressed in white around entire room.

The supplies list break down:


Poly Minwax: 1 gallon- $49.97

Elmers glue: 2 gallons-29.96

Minwax stain: 1 gallon- $26.77

Optional valspar glaze in black: $8.89

Optional valaspar glaze in brown: $16.49


Poly Pro Finisher: 2 gallons-$51.96

Construction paper: 1 roll- $10.97

Total Project cost: $195.01

Total Square footage covered: 14′ 9 inches X 21’= (I previously did math wrong…who me? NAH! Thank you to my awesome reader, Jackie Davidson, who ‘assisted’ in letting me know my math was wayyyy off! You rock!)

So total square footage covered was= 315 sq foot rounding up (15’X21)

Price per square footage: $0.62

Left Overs after project was complete: 1/2 gallon of Elmers Glue and 1/2 gallon of Minwax stain

Almost entire bottle of Valspar Glaze in Black and Brown

Is this worth it? I’m not fully in love with the flooring after a couple of weeks wear. Their are bubbles that I could not get down..despite re-glueing. I’m afraid I am going to rip it up the first time I catch my shoe on it. I ended up pressing it down..which caused a crease.

Oh and did anyone mention the dust factor? Ugh…

You can see where the chairs were dragged. I put pads on the chair bottoms but this is what it leaves. 

You can see where each foot print is from outside to indoors. Every footprint. 

I probably could have saved on the first gallon of minwax and bought one more can of Pro Finisher, which would have saved me $24.00. Then I could have saved and instead of the valspar glaze, done with $2.00 acrylic paint in the craft section at walmart, saving another $21.00. That would take the overall price down to $150.01. The price per sq would be $0.48. 

But if you look at the price of flooring per square feet…Here is an example $.99 per square foot…

I could have had hard wood flooring in this room. Here is an example for just $3.69 per square foot. But this is not including sealing your new wood floors.

Overall…I probably would do this if I had no other alternative. I’m not typically a negative person with certain elements. But I was not overall impressed with this particular flooring and I would spend an additional $157 for laminate because it’s not as labor intensive and will outlast my lifetime of abuse…And will be bumpless. I still would like to challenge bloggers to be honest about their DIY projects. And…don’t just install it and say it’s done…but really show us the ‘aftermath’ of your project. 

So in a year …I will be posting my laminate install. (kicks self in butt)

But thanks Jackie Davidson…at least I don’t have the pit of the stomach kick each time I see the floor…(I previously thought it was almost $5.50 per square feet)…



I wanted to share my floor…almost 1 year later.

This is right by the front door. We do not use this door often. Our back door is our main way in and out of the house. 

You can see how dull the floor is…not like when we first put it down. Every little scratch and mark has made it appear this color. I’ve tried several solutions to bring it back to ‘glossy’ but to no success. You can also see where the plywood gap is underneath. The moving has caused a crack that split right through the polyurethane. And yes there are ‘chips’ throughout the floor. We live on a ranch. I’m not about to baby my floors and make cowboys take off their boots. Our flooring has to stand up to our lifestyle….and paper…just doesn’t cut it.

So…this year….I plan on putting in Home Depot laminate flooring. 

Would I do this project again….? No. Too time consuming…too expensive (versus a laminate that’s easier to clean and will last more than a year)….and after reading all the prep work from comment number two under this blog ….um…ya…I don’t have time for that! 

8 Comments Add yours

  1. Kathie Elia says:

    thank you for your post. I did our kitchen floor over laminate about 3 years ago. Same process except I mixed my stain in with my glue. The flooring looks like leather. It’s still holding strong except two 1/2 inch spots where water or other liquid was left and not wiped up but that was an easy fix. I just clean the floors with mop and glow. The kitchen lies between my front room and back living room so it has constant foot traffic along with 3 dogs one of which has potty issues.


  2. Tabitha says:

    Thank you for your honesty!


  3. Nicole says:

    Wow! Amazing project from start to finish! The BEST instructional, honest, thorough, and forewarning blog I have ever read. Amazing on all fronts!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. autumnokie says:

      Thanks Nicole! I laid down laminent flooring over it. Such a disappointment but I’m sure it was in the finish.


  4. Gwen says:

    Thank you so much for your honesty. I was considering doing this…then read your “one year later”. Your honest approach (which is very refreshing btw) saved me tons of regret later.
    Thank you again!


    1. autumnokie says:

      No problem, Gwen! I ended up with flooring from home depot. Kick in the stomach for wasted money but I only did one room this way!


  5. Kasi says:

    THANK YOU SOOOO MUCH for the unfiltered honesty! I’ve never read a blog that actually said, ” looked great, BUT, Didn’t turn out the way I had planned”. Every other one says ” it’s super easy & I didn’t even break a sweat while doing this the entire 45 min it took me to build the faux wood Arc” or whatever. So, again, thank you for the info, instructions & the honesty!


    1. autumnokie says:

      Absolutely Kasi! It wasn’t back breaking work just long and tedious with less than perfect results. I have since laminated the floor which was a little more labor intensive since the boards had to be cut and the boards were not paper. But it was definately not worth my time or more importantly my money doing paper flooring. One of my friends said her mom had a paper wall made the similar way. You will have the same problems of bubbling on the edges if you did that. Best of luck picking a floor design! Hope my post helped you!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s