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I have built a yurt platform, which is basically a deck with 1 1/8" tongue-and-groove plywood as the decking. Usually that stuff is used as a subfloor, but in this case it's the floor itself. Call it rustic.

I bought this deck (and yurt!) standing at another location, disassembled, moved it to my location, and rebuilt it. The previous owners had painted the floor after assembling the yurt, so the paint doesn't go all the way to the edges. There are some rough spots from damage over the years. And some of the panels suffered in the weather while they were in storage. (I'm a slow builder!)

(click through for a full-sized image)

I would like to repaint it before I erect the yurt. I was thinking of renting a floor sander (the spinning kind) and taking a pass over the floor, and then putting on a few fresh coats of paint.

Most of the online information about painting floors is either for fancy indoor floors, or for outdoor floors exposed to weather. This will be protected from the weather once the yurt goes up, and our expectations are simple.

How should I attack this problem?

(Speed is an issue, we want this done fast!)

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You may want to consider adding a little sand to the paint, a painted floor can become quite slick if it's at all wet. –  Tester101 Jun 21 '11 at 11:54
    
FYI, we used a random orbital sander called a U-Sand. It takes 4 6" sandpaper discs. We used about 30 discs over 700 sq. ft., in about an hour. Then we vacuumed, wiped with a damp cloth, and painted with floor enamel. –  Jay Bazuzi Jun 23 '11 at 4:45

3 Answers 3

up vote 10 down vote accepted

if you use one of those powerful floor sanders, be sure to use fine grit paper and go easy. Plywood can damage easily and those sanders are aggressive and designed for hardwood. A good 6 or 7 inch DA sander would be a good bet, especially around the edges. Be careful, don't tear up the plywood with a monster sander!!! lol.

As far as paint, select a good grade floor enamel. Roll it on with a short nap roller. A moehair or 1/4" nap is perfect for leaving a good smooth finish without a lot of orange peel effect.

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Definitely be careful with that floor sander! The 'good' layer of plywood is thinner than you think it is... –  Alex Feinman Jun 22 '11 at 15:00
    
+1 floor enamel. It should be weather resistant as well. Consider adding coarse sand or texturing agent. –  Peter DeWeese Jun 23 '11 at 2:07

I'd still go for an outdoor paint in this case.

While the floor is inside the yurt it will get more wear and tear than an indoor floor as you're more likely to be wearing boots etc. than indoors.

There's also the danger of the weather getting in!

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And the outside edges that the yurt doesn't cover will obviously be exposed to weather. –  gregmac Jun 21 '11 at 17:16
    
@gregmac: Obvious or not, the outside edges will not be exposed to weather. The canvas walls hang below the floor by a couple inches, and are attached to a plywood "drip edge" that hangs down even further. –  Jay Bazuzi Jun 23 '11 at 4:43

I would finish this floor the way you would finish a deck. Most yurts I have visited (yes, multiple; I am a SCAdian, after all) have rugs and furs covering the floor, so it doesn't matter too much what it feels like to feet or what it looks like too much. What you want is durability and protection to the elements. A good deck stain will really help do both.

And enjoy the yurt...it's a very efficient design.

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