I just finished updating my plywood subfloor in my home office! Check out this gorgeous diamond design I created using FrogTape to achieve these sharp lines throughout the design! Affiliate links are included in this post.
For years, I’ve wanted to tear up the nasty carpet in my home office. Installing new carpet or hardwood wasn’t in our budget at this time. So I knew I would have to do something with the subfloor. But what?
After looking online, I decided that painting the plywood subfloor would fit the bill! Adding the diamond pattern to it was like the icing on the cake! It completed the look I was trying to achieve.
Another benefit of the diamond pattern is it hides the poor condition of the subfloor. There’s only so much wood putty can fix! 😉
This DIY is genuinely one of the most rewarding projects I’ve done in our home! A close second would be when I redid our laundry room. Since I use this office at least 8 to 10 hours a day, I wanted it to be a gorgeous workspace that reflected my farmhouse style.
In the beginning, I got a lot of side-eye looks from Mr. Man, but he admitted that any project I’ve ever taken on has come out well. So needless to say he was just as pleased as I was with the final result!
This post is exceptionally detailed making it rather long, but I wanted to provide as much detail to you as possible. Thus, helping you to complete this project without any hitches.
A few good to know facts.
Several years ago when I removed the carpet from our stairs to paint them, I was disgusted by the filth I found under it. That said, I shouldn’t have been surprised to see the same nastiness under it in my office.
If you decide to try this project, hopefully, it won’t be as bad as mine was! I want to prepare you for what you might find under your carpet!
My subfloor was also very unlevel with noticeable height differences where two pieces of plywood meet. I tried to apply putty to these areas to join the two boards. You will see these areas in the photos. Fingers crossed that you don’t have this problem too!
Just pulling up this nasty carpet was quite rewarding in and of itself! The best part was chucking the carpet rolls and the bags of padding into the dumpsters at the landfill!
Remember, as with any DIY project, SAFETY FIRST! Please be sure to wear safety glasses or goggles and leather gloves during this process since there are LOTS of staples, tacks, and sharp edges involved in removing carpet and padding. Be careful!
To help break up this project, do the following steps for each section of carpet and padding you remove. This can be tedious work, so breaking it up into smaller chunks helps a lot!
Gather your supplies:
- Leather gloves
- Safety glasses or goggles
- Regular and needlenose pliers
- Different sized pry bars
- Poly Rope (Dollar Tree)
- Utility knife with a new blade
- Large heavy duty trash bags
- Sturdy paper grocery bags (not shown in photo)
- Kneepads (I wish I’d used these, not shown below)
Step 1 – Ripping out the carpet.
Leather gloves, check. Safety glasses, check.
First, with regular pliers start pulling up the carpet in one of the corners by grasping it with the pliers and pulling towards you. This step may require some tugging to get it started due to the tack strips.
Once you have the corner pulled up to where you can take hold of the carpet with your gloved hands, continue pulling until you’ve got about a 4-foot length of carpet that is free. Then lay it back down.
Second, carefully take your utility knife and cut the carpet the length of the room along that 4-foot width. Don’t cut too deep as you don’t want to cut into the plywood subfloor. Once you’ve cut a few feet, you will find the pressure needed to cut through the carpet backing.
Third, when you get to the other side of the room, pull the carpet off of the tack strip as you did on the other side.
Lastly, roll up the piece of carpet you removed and tie it off with a section of poly rope.
Step 2 – Removing the padding.
It was easiest to remove the padding under each section of the carpet instead of doing it after all the carpet is up.
Thankfully, the pad isn’t attached at the edges by the tack strips. But it is stapled to the subfloor in numerous places.
To remove the padding find an edge and begin pulling it up. As each piece is removed, place it in a trash bag. (The padding under my carpet was disintegrating, so it came up in lots of smaller chunks).
Due to the amount of debris under my carpet, I swept each area before starting on the next section. Hopefully, you won’t have to deal with this!
Repeat both of these steps until you’ve removed all of the carpet and the padding.
Yay! The subfloor is starting to appear!
TIP! Remove the carpet roll and trash bags of padding from the work area as you create them. That way you get a bit of a break and won’t have to carry it all out at once.
Step 3 – Prying up the tack strips.
As each section of carpet and padding is removed your next step is to remove the tack strips. Please be exceptionally careful when doing this since they have tons of sharp points! WEAR LEATHER GLOVES and safety glass or goggles!
Starting at the edge of a tack strip, work the flat side of your bigger pry bar under the tack strip. You will most likely have to use your hammer to get the pry bar underneath.
Once you’ve worked the pry bar under the edge, begin prying the tack strip upwards. Continue in this manner until you’ve pried up the entire tack strip. Most of these will likely come up in pieces and not in whole strips. Be sure to remove all the nails that were holding the strip in place.
After removing each piece, place it carefully into the paper grocery bag. Remember, these are covered with lots of sharp edges so watch out!
Total aside – A few of the tack strips were attached with roofing nails. WHAT? WHY? They were definitely a lot harder to remove! I hope you won’t have to deal with this on your project!
Step 4 – Removing the staples.
Next, comes the staple removal. Sounds fun, right?! I think they used about a thousand staples per section to hold down the padding under my carpet. Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit, but it sure felt like it!
Generally, each staple will still have a hunk of padding attached. This small piece helps you to find each staple.
Take the smaller pry bar and work the flat edge under the staple. You may need to use your hammer to tap the pry bar under some of the staples. Hopefully, most staples will quickly come out with the needlenosed pliers. Repeat this process until all the staples are up from each section.
Toss them in the paper grocery bag as they are removed. This step will help to keep the area you are working in safe and tidy.
Continue with each of these four steps until you complete the entire room. Now pat yourself on the back for a job well done! After you’ve completed these first 4 steps, it’s time to clean your subfloor.
Step 5 – Cleaning the subfloor.
Start by thoroughly sweeping the entire floor, then follow it with a good vacuuming with a shop vac. If you have debris under your carpet as I did, you don’t want that nastiness in your regular vacuum! Be sure to vacuum the entire surface, including along all the baseboards, in the corners, and the seams in the subfloor.
After vacuuming, if there are any nasty things still stuck to the floor, scrape them off with a putty knife to finish cleaning each section. There were clumps of clay and caulk among other things on my floor. Then sweep and vacuum a second time.
Due to the amount of filth that was on my subfloor, I scrubbed it with a handled scouring pad, moistened with water and a mild detergent, and a rag. Finally, I wiped the floor one last time with a cloth dampened with water to remove any detergent residue.
If your floor is relatively clean after sweeping and vacuuming, you might be able to skip this step. Just remember, paint won’t adhere to a dirty surface!
Do not to soak the subfloor as it could warp the plywood! Also, if you wash your subfloor, allow it to completely dry for at least 24 hours before proceeding to the next step!
Step 6 – Patching the subfloor.
I used two medium-sized tubs of wood putty to fill in many of the dents and cracks on my subfloor. Remember to take into account how many repairs will be needed, so you purchase the putty accordingly.
If you are lucky and your subfloor isn’t in bad shape, this step should go quickly!
- Putty knife (I used a flexible plastic one)
- Wood putty of your choice (follow the application directions on the tub)
- Damp cloth/rag
Starting in the far corner, work your way around the room patching the imperfections as you find them. If you do this carefully, it will eliminate the need to sand the repairs as you will have blended them into the surrounding subfloor.
Deeper gouges may take a couple of applications of putty to repair. If there aren’t huge gaps where the plywood pieces meet, you might not find it necessary to patch these areas; this is up to you.
Since I wanted a rustic look, I did not sand my subfloor before I painted it. There were too many issues, and I knew it wouldn’t make a difference anyway. Honestly, I LOVE how the surface of the subfloor ended up looking once completed!
Some important reminders!
If you do opt to sand your subfloor before painting, make sure you adhere to all necessary safety precautions when sanding, e.g., an OSHA approved dust mask, etc. Not only is breathing in sanding dust a health hazard it’s a pain to clean up!
IMPORTANT: If you live in a home where there might be a chance of lead-based paint on the subfloor be EXTRA cautious! Questions? Click this link to see what the EPA recommends regarding lead-based paint safety.
Always maintain proper ventilation when working on any DIY project as well. Be sure to follow the safety precautions noted on the label for each product you are using during a project. Err on the side of caution!
Time to paint – FINALLY!
Before starting this project, I visited my local Sherwin-Williams store for tips and advice. These knowledgeable folks are always helpful! I strongly suggest that you speak to a paint expert as well!
After sharing my vision for this space with them, they directed me to the proper paint for my project. The expert suggested their latex porch and floor enamel plus the proper tools that would be needed to complete the project.
If you Google “painting your subfloor,” you will find lots of great additional information including details on how to seal your floor. I opted not to seal mine as I was told, with this paint, it was not necessary.
Per the suggestion from the gentleman at Sherwin-Williams, due to the condition of my subfloor, I thinned the base coat of paint with water. He said this would help the color get into all the little imperfections.
Be sure to ask your paint expert how to do this correctly for your particular project OR if you even need to thin the paint at all. If your subfloor is in good shape then more than likely, you won’t have to!
Step 7 – Applying the paint.
To apply the paint, I used quality, 3/8″ nap paint rollers. Again, check with your paint expert as to what they recommend.
For the perimeter, begin applying the paint with a small roller and paint tray to cut in around all of the edges of the room. Apply two coats to the perimeter area in this manner; be sure to allow the paint to dry between coats for the amount of time noted on the can.
When you are done with the perimeter, switch to a 9″ roller with an extension pole and a larger paint tray. Begin painting the rest of the room (if needed, using thinned paint). FYI – Thinned paint tends to splatter so be careful near walls and trim!
Work your way around the room applying the paint evenly. If you used thinned paint, I strongly suggest letting this coat dry for at least 24 hours. Otherwise, follow the regular drying times noted on the can.
Do NOT use thinned paint for the second coat!
After the base coat has dried, begin applying the second coat of paint to the floor making sure to roll it on evenly. Let this dry according to the directions before moving on to the next step.
I was astounded at how gorgeous the floor looked after applying the second coat of paint! Stardew by Sherwin-Williams is a color I will use again! Mr. Man and I both decided that when we build our farmhouse next year, this color will make an appearance in our color palette!
Hands down, Sherwin-Williams, Mountain Air was the perfect contrast color for this project! It is one of the coordinating colors for the Stardew. I love the subtle blue/gray undertone it offers!
Take your design and turn it into reality!
I urge you to sketch out several different designs before starting your project. If it helps you to visualize it, make your sketches in color. This project is intensive so be sure you are happy with everything BEFORE you start to layout the design on your floor!
My office has an angled wall I had to take into account. Due to this particular feature, I ended up adding a border to compensate for the angle.
Adding a border is not difficult. Just measure and tape the outside of it where you want it. Then paint it following the directions below.
Remember, the more intricate your design, the longer it will take to tape off and paint! Trust me; it is worth the effort so don’t get discouraged!
Okay, so you’ve got your design, and you are gathering all your supplies, now the fun stuff can begin!
If you haven’t used FrogTape for a paint project before, you need to start using it. I am incredibly impressed with how well it works! The FrogTape website has terrific painting tips you can check out here.
This summer I received a useful tip on how to activate the PaintBlock Technology from a rep for FrogTape. She explained to me that if you gently wipe over the applied FrogTape with a damp cloth before painting, it activates the PaintBlock Technology! Click here to learn more! HOW COOL IS THAT?!
I know without a doubt, this project was a success because I used FrogTape! All of the crisp, clean edges are proof to me on how well this product performs!
- FrogTape – choose the one best suited for your floor (they have many great products to choose from)
- Paint color of your choice (FrogTape recommends you use LATEX paints – my base coat was also latex)
- Sharp scissors
- Tape measure
- Chalk line marker
- A piece of chalk (to mark where to snap your chalk lines)
- Design sketch
Good to know fact!
If you opt to create a diamond pattern, remember when you tape it off that the tape goes on the OUTSIDE of the design for the diamonds you will be painting with the second paint color. These diamonds will look larger than the ones that will be staying the base coat color.
How to find the center of your floor.
To find the center of your floor, measure the length of the room along one wall marking at the middle of this measurement with a piece of chalk a few inches away from the wall. Then go to the opposite wall and do the same, marking the middle point a few inches away from the wall.
You will need to do this for the width of the room as well. When done, you should have four marks (one in the middle near each wall).
Once you have the 4 points marked it’s time to snap the chalk lines. For the best results follow the directions that came with your chalk line marker.
Ask a helper to hold the end of the chalk line on one of the chalk marks you made near the wall. Then pull the chalk line string above the floor to the opposite wall until you reach the other chalk mark.
Place the chalk line on this mark, then while holding the string taut, reach towards the center of the chalk line and lift it several inches off the floor releasing it to snap a chalk line across the room. Repeat these steps for the other two marks.
The center of the room is where the two chalk lines cross!
Applying the FrogTape
At this point, I used the stencil I will be using in the next phase of this project as my pattern. Since it was the size needed to make the diamonds it worked perfectly.
If you aren’t going to use a stencil, I saw online where some people used a cardboard pattern instead to create their design.
Start at the center of the floor aligning the pattern so that the corners of are lined up with the chalk lines.
Once the stencil or pattern is centered where the chalk lines meet, apply four pieces of FrogTape along the OUTSIDE edge of the stencil to form the diamond. Cut the tape so that it forms 90-degree angles at each corner of the diamond.
Work along the length of each chalk line taping the diamond shape carefully in each position until you reach the wall or the edge of your border. Be sure to maintain a 90-degree angle with each piece of FrogTape.
Keep up the good work!
Once you have reached the end of the chalk line in all four directions, you will see that the other diamonds that are a bit smaller. Put a small piece of tape in the center of these diamonds. This step will help to distinguish between the diamonds to paint with the second paint color and diamonds that will remain the base color.
Continue repeating the diamond pattern until the entire floor has been taped off. This step may take a day or so. Take your time, so that you will get the results you want! Make sure you have carefully marked the diamonds that you will not paint.
The final steps.
As I mentioned above, you may want to take the extra step to activate the PaintBlock Technology. I did this by gently misting the FrogTape strips with water and then PROMPTLY wiping it off with a dry towel. DO NOT soak the tape strips as it will release them from the floor!
If your subfloor is in good shape, you may be able to skip this step as the water in the latex paint will activate the PaintBlock Technology.
IMPORTANT! Make sure that each tape strip has adhered well to the floor. You can do this by applying gentle pressure along the tape with your fingers after you have wiped each one with the dry towel.
The stenciling really added a lot to the center of this checkerboard pattern. Creating it in a diamond shape tied everything together!
Applying the Final Coat of Paint
After you have completed the above steps, you are ready to apply your second paint color! Since my pattern was only 12″x12″ I opted to use a small roller to allow me better control.
Begin painting each diamond carefully, starting at the far end of the room working your way across until all of the diamonds are complete.
HINT – paint over the taped edges first, slightly overlapping the tape (avoid getting paint in the smaller diamonds). Be careful so that you don’t push paint under the edge. Lastly, fill in the center of the diamond.
Allow the first coat to dry according to the directions. Then carefully apply your second coat of paint in the same manner.
Once it is no longer tacky, begin carefully removing the strips of FrogTape. Be sure you are standing in the diamonds that are the base color and not on the freshly painted ones!
I love that FrogTape comes up easily without tearing or leaving pieces behind! Continue until you remove all of the tape pieces.
Now take a few moments and admire all your hard work!
Want to save this project for later? Then click the image below to add it to one of your Pinterest boards!
Whew, this was a big project.
This project was gratifying for me. I’m so pleased with how well it turned out! I know it looks hard, but it’s not too bad. Time-consuming maybe, but worth the effort!
Is the floor perfect? No, but it turned out better than I hoped it would. Plus it gave me the rustic farmhouse look I was desiring. I only had minuscule amounts of paint bleed under the tape in a few places where the floor was unlevel and damaged! These were easily touched up.
I know we might have to do something with this floor before selling our home since an exposed subfloor, painted or not, may not be a smart selling feature.
Right now I’m just enjoying how beautiful it looks! Questions or comments? Email me or drop me a note below. I would love to hear from you!
A great big thank you to FrogTape for sponsoring this post!
So what’s next on the blog?
I will be stenciling a simple pattern on this gorgeous new floor! The next post will also cover how to complete the project by adding quarter round trim and the doorway thresholds. I hope you will join me then. As always, thanks for following along. See you soon!
DISCLAIMER: I received compensation to complete this project from FrogTape painter’s tape products. All opinions, projects, and ideas are based on my own experience. Please see my disclosures page for more details.