How to whitewash timber flooring

Timber floors are durable and age beautifully, however there will come a time when you’ll want to refresh them. Sanding, polishing and even staining your flooring is a great way to breathe new life into a room.

Whitewashed timber floors can transform your space, introducing a modern, spacious and inviting feel. Whether your style is contemporary, beachy or farmhouse, lightening your existing floors is a simple way to brighten your home.  

The process involves sanding, and applying a white stain and seal over the top of your current timber floors. Here’s some things to consider when it comes to timber whitewash.  


Know Your Timber 

Most types of timber flooring can be whitewashed successfully – but it’s important to understand how your current floor may affect the finished look you’re trying to create. For some darker timbers, such as Jarrah and some Oak species, bleaching the timber prior to applying the white stain is necessary.  

Bleach is a hazardous chemical so you will need to take care when using it, and to be aware of the possible reactions it may have with different species of timber. If you’re unsure of what kind of timber your current floors are, or are concerned about bleaching, contact ITB Floors for expert advice. 


Prepare Your Floors  

Your timber floors must be sanded thoroughly prior to the whitewash application to ensure any existing paint, varnish and stains are removed. Depending on the current condition and finishes on your floor, multiple rounds of sanding with different grits may be required to ensure the white stain will adhere.  

Hiring professional contractors to sand your floors in preparation for whitewash is often necessary to ensure the right equipment for the job – particularly to navigate tight spaces and to protect architraves, skirting and cabinetry. 

 Once your floorboards are sanded, thoroughly vacuum the whole area and wipe down with a microfibre cloth to remove any remaining dust and debris. 


Pick a Whitewash Finish 

Don’t use white paint or a white paint mixture on your timber floors. For the best aesthetic result use either a white timber stain or white tinted sealer. Paint will not adhere to your floors properly, and can be prone to peeling and lower durability. Here ITB Floors, we use a combination of both white timber stain and sealer. The stain fully penetrates the wood and allows for the natural grain of the floor to show through – giving a more natural look to your space.   

It’s also important to understand how to blend the main part of your room’s floors with the perimeter, to avoid a visible white ring towards the edges of the room once complete.   

We always recommend doing a test patch before committing to doing the entire floor, to mitigate any issues. Our clients are always provided with samples of the whitewash stain on the existing timber floor to choose the best option. 


Care For Your Whitewashed Timber Floors 

Once the process is complete, wait at least 24 hours to walk on your newly whitewashed floors – and be sure to only wear socks (no bare feet or shoes allowed!). After around three days, you can bring furniture into the space; however, it’s best to avoid rugs, mattresses or anything that will restrict the floor to continue ‘cure’ or set. 

It can take up to 14 days for your new whitewash floor to be ready for everyday use, including bringing back pets and shoes.  

There are also ways to keep your new floors looking fresh into the future. Compared to other types of timber floors, whitewashed timber floors require more upkeep, but the results are worth it. Avoiding dirt and grit, using protective rugs in high-traffic areas and using the right cleaning products are all important. 

Our flooring experts are meticulous when it comes to the craft of whitewashing timber and can provide you with accurate expectations on how to take care of your new timber floors. 

Before you commit to whitewashing your timber floors, our services include providing tailored advice and a detailed consultation with one of our informative flooring experts to determine the size, design and needs of your particular project. 

For further details on refurbishing your timber floors or for advice on white washing or other finishes, contact our team of friendly flooring professionals at ITB Floors today.