Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Limed Floors

One of my friends mentioned the white floor thing on twitter yesterday. It turned into a heated debate about the practicalities of white floors, particularly for households with messy, small children.

So I have been asked for an alternative option for those who like the light look but don’t want the commitment to all white.

In our city house we have wide spotted gum floorboards. As the rooms are quite small and potentially dark, I went for a light Swedish-inspired look for the interiors which have lots of pale grey-blues and limed the boards. Many years later I can say that this has worked really well and has also worn well. The liming looks good on spotted gum as this species has a grey cast to it anyway. The liming is light but still hides scuffs nicely and looks particularly good with the French or Scandinavian style grey wash furniture.

A note of caution. Your floor sander or paint shop may tell you to go with the lime-and- sealer-in-one product because its easier and quicker. Don't do it. I have seen unfortunate results where the floor finish has cracked and de-laminated. I recommend liming floors the traditional way. That way you get to control the amount of lime on the boards.

In the bathroom photo there is a board which is not limed to show you the difference the liming makes.
Good luck with your floor choice!


  1. I limed French oak floors in a country house I had, and it was wonderful - quite a soft look, and more forgiving than a painted floor. I had quite forgotten! Harder to get in the US.

  2. Hi Tricia - Porters paints do a lime and is available in the US under the Sydney Harbour Paints label.

  3. I had never heard of this but thanks so much for the heads up. This might be an interesting way to go to lighten my floors.

  4. Limed floors are so beautiful! Wish I could do that to my Brazilian Cherry! : )

  5. Your floors look amazing! Wonder if I can do that to my maple hardwood. Will have to see if there is a similar product in Canada or if we can get Porter paints here.

  6. Hi Vanessa,
    I would think maple would be OK to lime but its always a good idea to test a patch first to see if its the look you're after. Porters Paints (NOT the US firm "Porter Paints") goes under the mane of Sydney Harbour Paint Company in North America. try this link:

  7. love white.. love lime... all fabulous! i just had my clients paint their kitchen floor a semi gloss white... they cant wait to move in... with 3 kids! bring it on! (strong oil base for durability - pratt &lambert)
    live with what we love... and your blog is fabulous.. xx pam

  8. Thanks for the tip Catherine, though my floors here are bright orange (not to put too fine a point on it!) Douglas fir, so I am accepting that...
    maybe the next house.
    thanks for the link!

  9. What a fortuitously timed post!

    In my North Hunter farm, we have several different woods on the floors, all from different stages of the house's organic evolution, but most of them that red of australian hardwoods. I've been experimenting for months now with different finishes, and hate them all!

    Catherine, did you use a Porter's lime product for your floors? If so, which one? I've tried the lime wax for furniture, but it makes the floor incredibly slippery. Otherwise it's a brilliant look.

  10. A p.s. to my last...

    I contacted Porters in Sydney and they're recommending wood wash. Was that what you used Catherine? My impression was that you used something else, probably a specific liming product.

  11. The Wood Wash (in white?) from Porters will give you a slightly whiter result than lime which can look a bit more pinky-grey. I suspect the look you are after is the wood wash but you can also get a white-washed look from simply watering down white paint.
    If I were you I would buy a small tin and try it.
    I did those limed floors a decade ago and I think I used a Feast Watson Liming product with a sealer over the top.

  12. Thanks very much Catherine. You reminded me that I have an old tin of Feast and Watson liming solution in the shed, so I duly went and found it and tried it out. Actually I like it. What I want is to neutralise the red of the hardwood a bit so I'll experiment with adding a bit of green-based tint and seeing how that looks. Thanks again.