Our new studio required a lot of imagination the first time we saw it. I always thought my first studio would be some gorgeous, recently converted industrial space with exposed brick, towering ceilings, and paint splattered, hundred year old hardwoods. Turns out our studio has none of those things.
To paint the picture-- before we moved in this space was a temporary office for a carpet steaming company. The unit sported generic details from floor to ceiling, except for the massive windows flanking the front and one side of the corner unit. Those windows let in floods of natural light and they're probably the only As-Is thing that sold us on the space when we agreed to lease it on an As-Is basis.
Snagging the space As-Is saved us on our monthly rent and offered us negotiating power to make the custom improvements ourselves. Would I recommend this? Meh. Maybe? Maybe not. On the one hand, it was nice to reduce our monthly rent but it was SO much work to bring the space up to our standards and we're still not completely done. Doing this again I'd probably make the same choice, but I'd adjust my expectations for how quickly we'd get the space up and running. So, learning curve there. It really took a solid 2 months and it was a hard two months juggling the studio production at our old space while setting up our new space.
One of the best and biggest projects we tackled was painting our linoleum floors. It was inexpensive and has completely changed the look of the space. The bright light that floods through the front windows now softly illuminates the entire space simply because the floors are a lighter gray color! And to my very happy surprise the painted linoleum is holding up great!
Here's What You'll Need To Paint Your Linoleum Floors:
Use 80 grit sandpaper attached to a pole sander head attached to a broom handle to loosely scuff the tiles. This removes any wax residue and offers a matte surface for the primer to adhere to. Wear a mask as this can be a little dusty. The below photo shows the original linoleum floor tiles when we first moved in.
Sweep to remove dust. A damp Wet & Dry Swiffer can help with the dust removal. Just be sure that your floor is completely dry before moving onto the priming phase.
Use Zinsser Primer 123 to prime the floor. We applied two coats and allowed 24 hours drying time between coats. Don't rush this phase. A good primer coat is essential to a long lasting floor finish. Already you can see the floor looks more modern without that ugly mottled linoleum pattern.
Apply 2-3 coats of Behr Porch & Patio Floor Paint following package instructions. We ended up increasing our dry time between coats just to be sure we'd have the best adherence possible between paint layers. We used this light gray, called Pacific Fog and opted for a low-luster finish instead of a glossy finish. The thinking here was that the inevitable porcelain dust will cover any gloss anyways, and that the glossy surface could be slippery if it gets wet. The below shot is the floor with two coats of primer and the beginning of the new gray color. We began around the edges first to get an even application that went right to the walls.
After the floors were painted we waited a full week before placing any furniture. Even after that week went by there was still some tackiness when I'd move a chair or ladder, which was surprising! Because of that I would intentionally move things around a little during this curing phase. After about a month (!!) the paint seemed fully cured. During this curing phase we didn't mop the floors and made certain to immediately wipe up any moisture.
Okay, so that was all back in February. How are things holding up? It's been 3 full months and we've been anything but precious with these floors. This is after all a production studio. We are dragging furniture, equipment, packages, and clay over those floors every single day. To my full surprise the floors are holding up great! There are a few scuffs here and there. But the scuffs are isolated and I expect we could do a quick touchup to those spots and you'd never even know. With this being a production space I'm fine with a little visible wear. I was worried the paint may peel or bubble, and we haven't had any issues like this at all.
The verdict: Painted linoleum if done with proper prep and adequate drying and curing time really can stand up to the abuse of a ceramic studio!
Have any questions? Ask away!