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Beachy Distressed Hardwood Floor

Easy driftwood distressed hardwood floor tutorial

Learn how to create beautiful, professional looking floors with this easy beachy distressed hardwood floor tutorial.  I’ll show you how to rescue old damaged hardwood floors and make them look amazing.

This project cost about $500 to refinish 1000 sf of hardwood floors.

Let’s get to work creating easy beachy distressed hardwood floors.

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I love my beachy distressed hardwood floors…So do my dogs.

Our lifestyle is super casual and active.  We needed flooring that would stand up to 2 dogs. lots of people in and out in wet bathing suits and sandy feet.  This was the perfect option.  It actually gets better with age.  I love it today as much as I did the day we refinished it.  The beachy distressed hardwood floor is absolutely the perfect floor for our busy lifestyle.

We found hardwood floors under the carpet in the living area and under the vinyl flooring in the kitchen.

We had hoped to find Terrazzo, there was Terrazzo under the prefinished hardwood floors, unfortunately, the Terrazzo was too far gone to be rescued.  But I was definitely rescuing the hardwood.  That’s when I came up with the idea to create beachy distressed hardwood floors.

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This is me hangin’ out on the boat – it’s an absolutely gorgeous day in the Florida Keys – doing what wannabe mermaids do best…splashing in the waves + soaking up the sun.

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Floors in Kitchen Before

I’m not a big fan of vinyl flooring and it’s a crime to cover, even damaged hardwood floors with pretty much anything.  It had been laid to cover some modest water damage under the refrigerator.  The perfect solution was to sand the floors and use a dry brush technique to create beachy distressed hardwood floors

Floors in Kitchen After

I love how the kitchen turned out.  See how we transformed our nightmare kitchen into our dream kitchen for $2600.

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Easy Beachy Hardwood Floor Makeover

This is what the kitchen floor looks like now after stripping the vinyl.

How to create beachy distressed hardwood floors

Vinyl flooring over hardwood floors...

Who does this…what a crime!  This kitchen floor had lots of crime committed against it.  In addition to the vinyl over the hardwood, underneath the hardwood was one of my favorite floor options ever Terrazzo…  Unfortunately, the Terrazzo was too far gone, but I was definitely rescuing the hardwood.

The only solution was to create a unique distressed finish – The perfect solution was to sand the floors and use a dry brush technique to create beachy distressed hardwood floors.

Experience Tip:  The floors should have been done before we reset the cabinets.

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Prefinished Hardwood floors were hidden under carpet throughout the entire house.

The floors were actually a nice color but some areas had been damaged and stained by water, vinyl glue, some pretty big scratches and in some areas repairs had been attempted using mismatched hardwood flooring, so a distressed finish was going to be the best option

Ugly Beige Carpet covered all the hardwood floors in the house

When houses have been in foreclosure for a while banks will come in and “neutralize” the house.  I’ve never seen so much beige.

Fortunately, I was able to convince my husband to paint, using a bright and happy color palette.

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Beachy Distressed Hardwood Floor Inspiration

I got to work rescuing the hardwoods floor – which we discovered were installed throughout the house – score!  In some places, the wood was pretty damaged so I came up with a distressed finish we could use throughout the house…  It looks awesome and any wear is super easy to fix with a quick dry brush and a little bit of furniture wax.

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Inspiration for floors

I like to start my projects with inspiration photos.  + this time my husband wasn’t completely onboard with my floor rescue plan.  He needed a little convincing, so I found this image on Houzz.  I can’t find the original to give credit.  Sorry.

Inspiration Floors

I love every thing about this photo.  I wanted the floors to feel this way…peaceful, easy – no cares, no worries.  I love the photogrpahyfrom Bluebird pics.  Check them out. 
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More Beach Distressed Floor Inspiration

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Create the Beachy Distressed hardwood Floor Look in 3 (relatively) Easy Steps

It’s amazing what a little bit of paint and some sweat equity can create.  Let’s Get to work!  Take a quick look at the process.

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Grab your Sanders

The first Step in creating beachy distressed hardwood floors is to sand the floors to expose bare hardwood.  This was by far the most difficult part of the process.  In the kitchen, I had to scrap off vinyl flooring and the vinyl adhesive.  Additionally, this factory finished floor had a bullet-proof finish.  I’ll never know how they scratched these floors.  An industrial sander didn’t make a dent.  So I had sanded the entire floors with a belt sander.  (My Mother’s Day present that year :-))
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Dry Brush with at Least 2 Colors

I chose to use a white and a very light gray to dry brush my floors.  Pour a small amount of paint on a paper plate and using a 3 or 4-inch wide paint brush – I use the cheapest brush I can find for dry brushing – dab your brush in the paint, getting paint on just the tips of the brush.  The brush should be relatively dry – if the brush gets too wet, just brush on cardboard or craft paper.  Plus for this project, you’ll want some spots to have heavier paint.  Do one color at a time, dry brushing with the grain.   Repeat with remaining colors.
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Protect the Finish

Use Benjamin Moore, Stays Clear® – DO NOT SUBSTITUTE –  to protect the finish of your gorgeous new floors.  This is very important, other protective finishes can yellow or change the color.  This product will not do that.  This is a fav product, I use it for everything that needs a hard protective finish.  I used the Low Lustre but gloss would be fine here as well.

Get Beachy Distressed Hardwood Floors for under $500.

$371 to be exact.  This project would have cost me lots less, in both time and money if I hadn’t tried the industrial sander.  The machine was expensive to rent and the sanding pads were also pretty expensive and only available through the rental company.  Paint is super inexpensive and you use very little since you are dry brushing.  Benjamin Moore, Stays Clear® is not cheap about $45 per gallon, but it is so worth it.

How The Money Was Spent

$200 - Industrial sanding machine rental & sanding pads

Years ago when I refinished my hardwood floors in Colorado, I was able to easily sand the floor using an industrial sander, but the factory finish on these floors was too much for the sander we rented.  My husband thought I “was doing it wrong”, then he tried, same result, not even a dent in the finish.

$90 - Belt sander, vinyl glue remover, and knee pads

I had a sheet sander I use for furniture refinishing and it was working great in the kitchen to get up the glue and was taking the finish right off.  So My husband bought me a belt sander that made the process much faster.  Yes, I did this on my hands and knees and knee pads were a must.  The glue remover didn’t work & neither did heating it with a heat gun.  The only thing that worked was good old fashioned elbow grease and a belt sander.

$120 - Paint and Sealer

I bought gallons of both the white and grey paint.  I’ll have white and grey paint for repairs for the next 50 years or so.  it still looks like I’ve never used the paint.  The Benjamin Moore, Stays Clear® is worth every penny and I used 2 gallons to cover all 1000 square feet with 3 coats.

How to create beachy distressed hard wood floors and get lasting results

Ok.  Here’s the deal.  The first step, sanding, is the hard part, I tried renting an industrial sander and it didn’t make a dent in the factory finish on the floors.  I had good success using a sheet sander on the floors in the kitchen to get rid of the vinyl flooring adhesive.  So I got a handheld belt sander for Mother Day and got down to business sanding the floors in the living area.  I had to be careful not to sand too much since these were not solid wood, but there was enough wood to be able to get to bare wood.

Once I had bare wood I worked in sections with one color at a time to dry brush the floors with white and grey paint, alternating brush widths so nothing looked too uniform.  In some areas, I went heavier with the paint than others so I would get a naturally distressed look.  In areas of the floor that were damaged I let them be part of the distressed look.  Once the entire floor was dry brushed with both colors.  I went back over the floor with a dry brush just to make sure the everything looked blended and was just what I wanted.


Easy to Follow Step-by-Step Instructions for Dry Brushing Hardwood Floors for a beachy effect

Foolproof process for dry brushing your floors to get a beachy distressed look for your hardwood floors – this has been very effective in giving me beautiful, long-lasting results.

Experience Tip:  Before you get started, make sure you know what kind of hardwood floors you are working with.  Are they solid wood, or are do they have thin veneers of wood.  You can refinish either, but you’ll need to be more careful sanding the wood with thin veneers.

What you’ll need:

  • Belt sander
  • Painters mask
  • Safety glasses or goggles
  • 2″, 3″, & 4″paint brushes
  • semi-gloss white paint
  • semi-gloss light grey paint
  • Stain pad with long handle
  • Paint tray
  • Wide painters tape
  • Cardboard or craft paper to keep your brush dry
  • Benjamin Moore, Stays Clear® – DO NOT SUBSTITUTE –  this is very important, other protective finishes can yellow or change the color.  This product will not do that.  This is a fav product I use it for everything that needs a hard protective finish.  I used the Low Lustre but gloss would be fine here as well.
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Step 1 - Room Prep

  • Experience Tip:  If you are painting your walls with this makeover.  Make sure you paint your walls first.  Your new floors will look so amazing you won’t want to spill any paint on them.
  • Tape all baseboard with wide painters tape.
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Step 2 - Dry Brush the floors

  • Pour your first paint color into a small clean paint tray.
  • Using a 2″ paintbrush dry brush along the baseboard first.  Experience Tip: Take your time now it will make everything go faster in the long run.   wrap your brush in plastic and store in the fridge, since you’ll use it again for a quick 2nd coat.
  • Work in 3 or 4-foot sections using 1 color at a time, and alternating brush widths until the room is completely dry brushed.
  • Experience Tip: Don’t over think this, be creative and have fun, it’s just paint, and any mistake can either be corrected or you may decide you like the way the mistake looks.
  • Keep your brush fairly dry, keeping just the tip of the brush wet, remove any excess paint by brushing on cardboard or craft paper.
  • Experience Tip:  It’s better to come back and do a quick 2nd or 3rd coat instead of getting heavy layers of paint.
  • Once the first color is done you can begin the same process with your other color choice immediately since the paint is going on very dry.
  • Experience Tip:  wrap your paint brush in a plastic garbage bag or ziplock and store in the fridge, since you’ll use it again for a quick 2nd coat.
  • So what do you think?  Do you need more paint in some areas?  If so, grab your brush and using your dry brush technique, quickly add extra color where you need it.
  • Do you have too much paint in a couple of spots?  You can grab some sandpaper and sand down any spots that have too much paint.
  • Once it looks amazing and it has completely dried then it’s time to seal the deal or in this case seal your floors.  For this step, we will be using the Stay Clear™ from Benjamin Moore.
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Step 3 - Seal Floor with Stay Clear™

  • Your floor looks awesome!  Now we want to make sure it stays looking this good for a long time to come.  For this step, we will be using the Stay Clear™ from Benjamin Moore.
  • Then using a stain pad on a long handle, starting in the furthest corner and working back toward your escape route, begin painting thin even coats making sure to overlap edges and to always keep a wet edge.  Wrap your roller in plastic and store in the fridge, you’ll need it for a 2nd coat.
  • Let dry until no longer tacky – it dries quickly.  
  • Once dry, apply the second coat – you shouldn’t need to cut-in a second time but you should judge that for yourself.
  • Grab a Mojito – You deserve it.  Your floor now looks amazing!  Sit back and admire your new floor, snap a few pics, post to Instagram and Facebook.  You rock.  I’m so proud of you.  

Beachy Distressed Hardwood Floors

: The Final Resul) :

Beachy Distressed Floors In Progress

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Sanding in Progress

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Finished Beachy Distressed Hardwood Floors Compared to original inspiration

My Beachy Distressed Hardwood Floors

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The Original Beachy Distressed hardwood Inspiration

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Beachy Distressed Hardwood Floors 3 1/2 years Later

The floors have aged extremely well.  I love them today as much as I did when I first refinished them.  It’s super easy to fix any scratch or ding that happens with a quick swipe of a dry brush and a little paste wax.  The floor is as good as new.

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