Wednesday, May 9

Kraft Paper Floors

Casual visitor: I really like your bedroom flooring. What kind of wood is that?
Us: Um, the paper kind.
Paper floors?

Mm hmm. Our bedroom flooring is paper. A while ago, when construction was just a pipe dream Erin and I smoked every now and then, he brought up the idea of paper floors. He'd seen something obscure about it on the internet, and he thought I would love the idea because it's so cheap. I hated it.

Fast forward like 5 years... we're out of money, we still need a bedroom floor, and all of a sudden I love the idea! We found an online instruction video which was really helpful, and brainstormed ways to make it our own. We decided we didn't like the "patchwork" pieces look, and wanted to create something that could be mistaken for wood. We decided to go with planks.

1 gallon of Varathane Water-Based Poleurethane, a roll of brown kraft paper, and a gallon of Elmer's Glue later, we were ready to begin. We cut the paper into long-length-planks and short-length-planks that together would span our whole room. We also made three different plank widths - 8", 10" and 12" - to give the floor some variation. Each plank was individually crumpled, flattened, and re-crumpled three times to get the grooves we wanted. 
Our kraft paper floor
Once we'd glued all the "planks" down according to the video, we ended up with a few spots that needed to be cut out and re-planked. This was a pain, but pretty easy. When the whole thing dried we stained the floor with a dark (almost black) wood stain to make the grooves and crinkles stand out. Most of the stain was rubbed off, but it added a lot of character to the overall floor. We put on 6 (?) coats of the polyurethane and called it good.

Kraft paper floor next to dark stained English oak
We love this floor - it looks great with our lime green bedroom wall (Benjamin Moore's "Feel the Energy", in case you were wondering.)

As far as yurt floors go, I think this would work swimmingly. If you don't want to spend much money on real flooring, but you want to avoid the plywood floor look, I say do it. Our bedroom is around 200 sq. ft., so pretty big, and we used a 100' roll of paper. The subfloor here is plywood, and before papering the floor we went around and filled every screw hole, nail hole and crack with putty so the paper wouldn't have mini-divots throughout.

I have to say, I was skeptical in the beginning, but this turned out quite nice, and I would recommend it to anyone trying to put in a unique floor on a very tight budget.
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