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  1. #1
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    Question Paper Bag Floors?

    I have an older ranch home with a full length basement that needs some renovation. Specifically, we want to do something with the cracked concrete slab floor. An idea suggested to us by family was a "Paper Bag Floor".

    What I could find out about it ****** has been that this kind of floor is made by taking pieces of crumpled brown paper(such as used to make paper shopping bags), lay them out overlapping on the floor, and pour clear Polyurethane over it. I've generalized a bit on the steps, but that's pretty much it.

    I've found sites that detail the use of it on outside covered porches and in small indoor areas. My worry is that none of these sites really talk about the downsides to this kind of flooring.

    Anyone have any experience or advice? We are also considering it for use in a small bathroom upstairs.

    Thanks in advance,
    Kestrel

    Ref:
    http://www.thebudgetdecorator.com/fa...her_floor.html
    http://www.hgtv.com/dc-floors-lamina...ver/index.html

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Paper Bag Floors?

    To me it's just one of those artsy-crafty things to fill in some excess time and heaven help who ever has to remove it later. It's not going to be much more durable than pouring poly directly on the floor. It certainly is not going to work well over a cracked concrete floor.
    Jack
    Last edited by JLMCDANIEL; 10-20-2008 at 11:23 PM.
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Paper Bag Floors?

    Just when you think you've heard it all.
    Maybe their is a reason you don't hear much about it.
    Sounds like decoupage I did with my kid at Girl Scouts. It didn't hold up very well either.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Paper Bag Floors?

    Quote Originally Posted by JLMCDANIEL View Post
    To me it's just one of those artsy-crafty things to fill in some excess time and heaven help who ever has to remove it later. It's not going to be much more durable than pouring poly directly on the floor. It certainly is not going to work well over a cracked concrete floor.
    Jack
    At the risk of showing just how amatuer I am, why?

    I expect that after sealing the cracks, I'd have to put down a thick base coat to level it all out before putting down the paper. I haven't worked with poly, and certainly have no experience with using it as flooring, but I was under the impression that if kept up, polyurethane was a viable option.
    Should I be looking a Epoxy instead?

    Please understand, I'm not married to the idea of this kind of floor, I just want to understand the ups and downs of it. If I have to carpet the whole thing, I will, but from what little I've seen, this could have a nice look to it.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Paper Bag Floors?

    Here's my problem. Poly is a hard durable finish for such things as hardwood. However it does crack and flake if the surface is not solid. Bags or paper of any kind is very thin and made of loose woven fibers and it would have to be glued down to obtain any rigidity at all. Maintaining the poly will help but the paper is still going to crush under foot, is not going to be a thick surface that can be re- finished. As it ages and breaks down you would have to remove it all to do a new surface. I have seen the bag-leather used for table tops on cheap tables but they were not subject to foot traffic.
    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Paper Bag Floors?

    Quote Originally Posted by JLMCDANIEL View Post
    ...Bags or paper of any kind is very thin and made of loose woven fibers and it would have to be glued down to obtain any rigidity at all. Maintaining the poly will help but the paper is still going to crush under foot, is not going to be a thick surface that can be re- finished. As it ages and breaks down you would have to remove it all to do a new surface....
    I seem to have created some misimpressions by generalizing on the steps in my original post, as several of your concerns would probably be addressed by the full installation methods, as I understand them.

    It sounds like in order for this type of floor to work, three basic layers would be needed.
    - A prep layer - consisting of one or more coats of poly, put down for leveling, sealing, and adhesion purposes.
    - A bag layer - where poly is put down, the bags laid out flat on that while wet, soaked through with poly, and then more poly put on top of the bags while still wet, so the bags are integral to that layer when it dries, without voids. With the bags soaked through, applied to a still wet surface, and then covered, all the fibers should be locked in, immobile and uncrushable.
    - A finishing layer - consisting of several thick coats above the bag layer for protection of the underlying layers and to allow room for resurfacing without damaging the bag layer.

    I can tell you REALLY don't like the idea, and that is rapidly changing my mind about doing this in the full basement. I just want to make sure I understand the reasons, as I'm still wondering if it might be usable in an individual room down there, or in an upstairs bathroom.

    One BIG assumption that that I've just realized I'm making is that I thought that, if properly cared for, Polyurethane can be resurfaced without taking it down to the hardwood. Is that incorrect? Is Acrylic any different?

    Thanks again,
    Kestrel

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Paper Bag Floors?

    There will be some expensive costs for all that poly.
    "" an ounce of perception -- a pound of obscure "
    - Rush

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Paper Bag Floors?

    Yes, you can lightly sand and re-coat poly, but what happens if someone slides a heavy piece of furniture across the floor. If it scratches deeply how do you repair? If the floor flexes it will crack. Poly is a flooring finish not a flooring product and the thicker you apply it the easier it is to scratch. It does however sound like you've made up your mind, so I wish you well. Using a good flooring poly is expensive so I doubt you are going to save much but, as I said, you'll get some artsy-crafty experience.
    Jack
    Last edited by JLMCDANIEL; 10-21-2008 at 07:35 PM.
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Paper Bag Floors?

    Well, Kestrel, I am in the process of doing this flooring now, and here are some things I am learning:
    1st: I primed the subflooring with KILZ, three times. This also helped to even the floor.
    2nd: I cant afford A LOT of poly, so I didnt 'pour' any poly onto the paper. Plus, poly takes a while to dry, so the paper dries before it sticks to the floor. 3rd: I used Minwax Pecan Gloss and painted both sides of the paper--I tore the paper into big pieces first. It gave the paper a nice, varied look. So, I used a hot glue gun to glue the pieces to the floor, and it works. The hot glue did not bleed through the polied paper. Now I am using a rolling the poly onto it with LOTS of pressure to make sure the paper is tramped down well. It is looking nice.

    If I get technologically advanced enough, I might figure out how to show a pic on here.

    IF your basement floor is concrete, could you acid wash it?
    PS nice to see another Ohioan on here!

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Paper Bag Floors?

    Bev,
    I'm afraid you are compounding the problem. As I said poly is a finish and it will crack if flexed and the more layers the more likely it is to do so. Putting the paper down with hot glue, which remains pretty flexible and usually not a smooth even coat to going to cause more trouble especially when furniture is slid across the floor.
    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

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