Builders, subcontractors, and homeowners many times find it difficult to sequence the various steps during new home construction or remodeling. Hardwood floor installation, staining, and finishing typically create one of the biggest logistical challenges to the project manager. Wall and ceiling painting many times involves ladders and scaffolding, which can damage freshly installed or finished floors.
So paint before you install the floors, right? No. The problem is that newly installed floors must be sanded prior to staining and finishing, creating a tremendous amount of dust. The machines used for sanding are bulky and heavy, and many times result in dented or damaged walls and moulding. The dust generated by sanding would certainly compromise the quality of any freshly painted surfaces. Even small amounts of dust on freshly painted walls will make touchup of paint virtually impossible, as the seemingly invisible dust becomes quite visible in the presence of the moisture in the paint.
So install wood, sand it, and then call the painters in, right? No. Even if flooring is installed, sanded, and left unfinished, drywall mud and paint can impregnate unfinished and unsealed floors making staining and finishing difficult for the installer.
The consensus among many hardwood and painting professionals is to install, sand, stain, and 1st coat and even second coat all hardwood. Allow the finish to dry sufficiently, then cover the floor with Builder Paper.
Attach the paper with Safe-Release Green Tape at the perimeter only, then use conventional masking tape to tape the paper sheets where they overlap each other. For additional protection, lay down thick cardboard over the paper in heavy work or traffic areas. For extra protection, and to prevent dents, use ¼” Masonite® (smooth side facing downward toward the floor) to cover the work areas (ladders, tools and scaffolds). Once all the trades have completed their projects, pull up the Masonite® and paper.
Once the painting process is complete, the floors can be uncovered, and the floor finisher can prepare the floors and apply the final coat or coats of finish.