Protecting floors during decorating is very important. There are a couple of reasons, firstly the floor needs to be protected against the odd drip of paint and secondly to protect against any dirt from foot traffic, tools and during preparation.
In this post I am going to talk about protecting hard floors. This would apply to Karndean, vinyl floors, wooden floors, engineered floors and even on occasion limestone and marble.
My go to method to protect these surfaces is 1400 grade lining paper and a suitable masking tape. Tapes can vary a lot in quality, amount of tack and clean release time. Some also don’t allow paint to bleed when painted onto.
It’s worth considering floor protection if you are having a number of trades working in your home. The lining paper method would also be useful if you had other light trades in your home, for example carpenters and electricians.
Some trades use a product called Correx which is a thick plastic and is semi ridged. There are a couple of issues with this for me. It’s quite bulky to move about and store and if it’s down for any length of time condensation could get trapped under it without realising, resulting in flooring damage.
My preferred masking tape which will come in contact with the floor is Tesa yellow. It’s quite expensive but worth it. The advantages of this tape justify its cost. It has a clean release time of 6 months, it prevents paint bleed when painting skirting boards and it’s sticks fairly well to itself when being overlapped.
It’s also available easily from my main supplier, My Paint Brush.
There are of course things to consider with any tape on certain surfaces. For example if masking a painted floor the tape may pull off paint if the paint isn’t well adhered. Another important point when masking limestone or marble is the porosity of the substrate. It can in fact become stained from the adhesive in the tape. Therefore when masking off porous surfaces I check the tape isn’t causing any issues once a week. Peel a bit back and check the surface and then re apply. It does depend of course on the length of the project as some jobs would be completed quickly and checking tape wouldn’t be necessary.
I would always check with the manufacturer if I was unsure about the compatibility of the tape on the substrate.
Generally i mask all the edges with Tesa yellow along skirting boards. Then I unroll and cut lengths of lining paper to just overlap the tape. To allow a bit of scope I use 1.5 or 2 inch around the skirting. Each piece of lining paper is taped to the edge tape. Each strip of paper is overlapped so it can be taped to the next strip, without the tape coming in contact with the floor. It also means a cheaper tape can be used as it wont need a long clean release time. Usually I would use Tesa 3 day tape 1 or 1.5 inch. I also use a product called Q1 which has good tack and is inexpensive.
There are several other benefits to masking off a hard floor this way. I’ve already mentioned the protection against dirt but it also means the floor is covered edge to edge. No dust sheets coming out of corners. No grit getting under dust sheets and no dust sheets for us to trip or slip on.
Finally it can be swept or vacuumed each day and during the work so that once the project is complete the tape and paper can be removed leaving a spotless floor. Always check during any work for holes or rips which occasionally occur and tape these accordingly.
The tape can be cut off the paper at the end and disposed of and the paper itself can be recycled.
Whenever I start a job with hard floors I make sure these are protected before any tools or shoes that have been worn outside enter the property. I can then work confidently knowing that i wont damage your floor.