Posted on January 6, 2008 Posted by John Scalzi 51 Comments
Writing yourself out of that corner you painted your plot into, that’s what’s fun.
As an aside to this, when was the last time you or anyone you know painted a floor? I don’t recall ever seeing a painted floor.
No, stage floors don’t count, you theater crew people.
Hardwood floors and stain, as well as cement floors in basements. :)
Stain’s not paint, though.
We painted two wood floors in our old house in Ohio – cheaper than carpet and cleaner than refinishing.
At warehouses. Generally with a slightly tacky paint that shoes can grip pretty well.
We had a cement floor on the downstairs of our old ramshackle (rustic) cottage (hovel) and it was painted green.
Do garage floors count? I saw one of those done back at the end of summer.
Coincidentally, however, I just finished up mopping my kitchen floor. Fortunately, I didn’t wind up in any corners (wish I could say the same for my poor cat).
I once painted a cement floor with Killz, because the people who lived here before had cats that peed everywhere. We ripped out the old carpet, and there was no way I was carpeting over that nastiness until the concrete had been sealed.
I’ve mopped myself into a corner. Many, many times. But mops just aren’t sexy in this day and adage.
We have a painted floor in our house. We’re not going to be in it long enough to have the paint and carpet removed and the hardwood restored, but the previous owners did paint the foyer floor a reddish brown.
I painted a floor in one of my bedrooms once. The linoleum in there was old and beat up, but I was too poor to be able to afford new flooring. So I painted it, instead. Worked pretty well.
I rent an old house where the floor was painted brown. I’m not sure what was underneath that. Wood in one room (there was a big burn spot! Linoleum in the other, maybe? Anyway, the paint was getting shabby, so I painted it red. And in fact, I will soon be re-painting it, since I will thankfully be moving to a house without morning glory growing straight through the walls.
Stain’s not paint, though.
True. But the process of applying it to a floor is essentially the same.
I painted a floor about four years ago, when I was setting up for my senior thesis show (art major, hi). It was a little studio room in the basement of the art building. I was very careful NOT to paint myself into a corner – if I hadn’t specifically thought about it, I may well have done it, knowing me.
When I was a kid, I went to summer camp in western Massachusetts. The floors in all the cabins were painted, and they saved on labor by making us kids do the painting the first week of camp every year.
We also spent 3 hours every morning polishing the inside of artillery shells. (kidding about the shells).
I’ve painted my floors – cats whiz on carpet, tear up carpet, paint subfloor with Kilz, put down wood, enjoy stench-free life.
Sorry, I forgot to stop not being Chang, Not Chang and/or any other level of Changness.
Not only have I been involved in floor-painting; I’ve also seen something painted into a corner.
My hiking group at Quaker summer camp painted the cement floor at a sister Quaker camp some years back as part of a service project, along with fixing the steps on some of the cabins, clearing trails, etc (the camp was set to re-open after years of being closed). We were promised watermelon upon completion of this project. It was left in the kitchen fridge for us.
Someone else (NOT me) neglected to remove the watermelon from the fridge before painting that section of floor (I was working on another project at the time). The news of the watermelon’s fate was withheld from us until after we’d completed the day’s work, and boy was I unamused. I maintain to this day that I could have removed it from the kitchen without once touching the floor, and at the time I even volunteered to repaint the floor myself if I messed up, but alas, my daring scheme to procure the watermelon was vetoed, and I had to hike out melon-less. To this day, every time I see a tee-shirt from that Quaker camp, I think “The watermelon is a lie!”
Don’t paint things into corners, kids. You’ll make a sulky preteen lose faith in truth, justice, and people not sucking.
I don’t recall ever seeing a painted floor.
Wait…aren’t you a parent?
My house, which used to belong to my parents, had a wooden deck out back, which was painted gray (to match the house). That got to be too much work, methinks, because they had it taken out and replaced with an unpainted cement patio back sometime in the 80’s.
My dad painted the concrete floor of the front porch of the house where I grew up.
Also, half the stairs to the basement. Half, you say? Why, yes! Every other stair, so you could still get to the basement, with the idea you could still get down there. But thirty years later, no one ever got around to painting the other stairs, and now they have faded so much its hard to tell.
(Hmm. I hope it wasn’t my job to finish that up….)
Porch, back in the 1980’s — that gray color, with sand strewn on the paths to keep us from slipping!
But porches generally leave you many outs, including over the railing.
There are a lot of idioms that far out live their roots. Shoot at least painting yourself into a corner is still comprehensible. When was the last time you went off half cocked? I do it all the time even though the only guns I have handled are semi autos. I went off half cocked when I started this post. I thought it was a figure of speech, turns out it’s an idiom. Man I love the internet. The day can’t be a waste, I learned something.
If you like writing yourself out of plot cul-de-sacs, you may enjoy National Treasure: Book of Secrets! Two solid hours of screenwriters painting themselves into corners and then pulling rabbits out of their hats.
And, yes, I realize I’ve just qualified for Block that Metaphor.
My friend ripped up her carpet several years ago and painted the concrete underneath a lovely dark purpley-blue sort of shade. Makes cleaning up after her temperamental kitties eighty thousand times easier.
“And, yes, I realize I’ve just qualified for Block that Metaphor.”
Not to mention a general ban for even mentioning that movie here.
But I’ll let you off this time. With a warning.
Our bedroom floor (concrete) is painted a sort of taupe-y grey color that goes well with the rest of the color scheme. (the former owners were house painters, and we liked their colors.)
Been a few years, but I refinished most of the first (hardwood) floor of out house in Sunnyvale, we have a hardwod floor in the dining room here, ans well as painted cement floors in the basement.
9 years ago working on the USS Olympia (oldest steel hulled warship in the world and an active museum here in Philadelphia) we painted the decks in the dead of winter (slows drying but fewer visitors inconvenienced). The interior floors are beautiful teak but are under dozens of coats of paint right now (and untill they can afford to replace @ 45,000 board feet of 6 inch thick teak will continue to be painted over and over and over again) and the upper deck (exposed to the weather) has actually been tarred and papered like a roof and then painted with leftover battleship paint (with sand mixed in for traction)
The concrete floor of the basement of the house we rent is painted blue.
It’s not very practical. It tends to rub off in high traffic areas, and peel off when it gets damp for long periods of time (our basement also leaks).
All in all, it has not encouraged me to consider paint as a viable alternative to more traditional flooring materials.
We have them at our summer place. I didn’t do them. We hired someone to.
I feel like inhaling paint fumes to either cure or intensify my migraine right now. ungh.
I’ve painted the porch floor three times, put a layer of protective coat on our hardwood floors twice, and painted the basement floor twice.
The secret is to do things in sections, and when painting the room that divides the house in two, make sure you have everything you need in the side of the house your stuck in. (I recommend being stuck on the side of the house with the bathroom. Just in case.)
As far as paint on basement floors–you have to get floor paint for cement, and use multiple coats. And you may need an additional coat within a year as the first coat was mostly absorbed into the concrete.
At least in my experience.
For the person with the wet basement, what you want is Dryloc(k)? paint. It smells worse than you could possibly imagine, is rough and bumpy, but works like nothing else to keep water out.
When we moved in our basement got wet every time it rains. We drylocked the cinderblock and about a half foot out to the floor (if the water is coming up through the floor, you’ll want to paint the floor as well.) We haven’t had any water in the basement since, and in fact recently built a bathroom and computer room into what was, when we moved in, a dank, damp, musty dungeon.
The stuff is amazing. (especially paired with a dehumidifier.)
Random Michelle K (who has done a lot of painting and work on her basement)
three years ago, i helped my friend paint her kitchen floor in a black-and-white checkerboard pattern. it was quite dizzying to behold.
In Mexico, we painted the floor in the downstairs. It was brick red and the cement guy put lines in the cement to simulate large floor tiles. We also did the same thing in the extension of our trailer-house. It was great.
Last year (07) in our flower shop…a lovely Navy Blue….pulled up all the (probably) asbestos laden linoleum and painted over the debris…
I painted my laundry room floor with a latex primer prior to laying self-adhesive tile. And yes, I did start at the corner furthest from the door and work my way to the door.
And it’s entirely feasible that I’ll paint my garage floor in the future, though with my current project in full swing, I doubt I’ll be picking that one up any time soon.
Chang with whine sauce –
Ever since I realized that migraines are related to blood circulation, I found that the ones I missed catching in time to swat with Aleve can usually be dampened or even stopped by eating a lot of very hot/spicy food.
Eating hot peppers alters the circulation in your head and I’ve found that, say, eating my way through a bowl of extra-spicy guacamole with tortilla chips, or getting a chipotle burrito at the local Urban Burrito and dousing my side of tortilla chips with their incendiary d’arbol sauce, usually fixes up my migraines nicely.
The trick is to eat as much spicy food as you can, as hot as you can stand it, so that you really give your brain blood a good arse kicking.
It’s not as easy to manage if your migraines come with a side order of nausea (as some of mine have lately), but if you can bear with it, it can usually help at least a bit.
I used a lovely sealing shellac, but was on my hands and knees using paint brushes and widely recognizably painting motions. I had used an orbital sander to take off the robin egg blue paint. Turned out lovely and really dealt with the splinter problem.
My room is in the basement, so I painted my concrete floor purple. It’s actually much easier to keep clean than carpet….
memories of Mudd Auditorium! Thanks John.
Three years ago I had our guys paint the fire-hall floor. It’s pretty well scuffed by now, so this or next year we’ll have to paint it again.
Earlier this year we sandblasted and sanded a concrete floor. Then we painted it. It was about an acre in size, the “bay floor” of our local firehouse (at which I am treasurer).
My grandfather worked in Massachussetts building ships during WWII, and at the end of the thing, brought home dozens of cans of battleship gray paint. Every couple of years, he’d paint the concrete – floor and walls – of his basement gray, and the woodwork white. An early memory of mine was helping to paint the floor, and being warned not to paint myself into a corner.
In re: stain, etc. not being “paint”, I’d like to point out that the word “paint” can mean: to color by or as if by painting, as well as : to apply a substance to, as a liquid medicine or a cosmetic. Aside from the whole “paint oneself into a corner” phrase being an idiom as well as a literal phrase. Yes, I probably seem unwarrantedly pretentious. And I’m probably using poor English as well. Meh.
Aww, memories. I once moved into a house that had been recently vacated by a couple of hippies (the 70’s were clearly a blast for them) and their german shepard. They had a can of, um, being polite, chocolate brown paint which they used to paint the front room floor and a giant tree covering one wall. They did this without cleaning first so all of it had fur embedded in it.
My husband and I painted *every* floor in the last house we were in. They were all tiled and/or disgusting and we couldn’t afford to put in new tiles/carpets/whatever, so we TSPed them all, then put down several coats of black latex paint, followed by a couple coats of clearcoat. Turned out pretty cool. Too bad we lost that house (landlord defaulted on the mortgage).
I see I’m not the only one here who has painted a floor.
I actually have a photo that proves I have painted myself into a corner… Actually, it was staged. We were putting a new shed in at the cabin Up North and I was assigned to paint duty. Only, there was this pile of stuff in one corner of the shed so I painted everything but that bit the first day, then moved it all the second day to paint the unpainted section. My husband saw the scenario setting up and said “Hold on, I have so got the get the camera.” To this day, I still have people look at the picture and think I really did it. Jeez, just because you’re blonde, people think the worst things of you some times. Oh well.
PS – Just bought a new house and the basement floor is ‘mostly’ painted. When we looked at it, there was carpeting down and it looks like they just rolled back part of the carpet to paint parts of the floor. The half-n-half look is driving me a little bonkers so sometime this summer I will once again be painting a floor, but no corners this time.
Painted floors used to be the fashion. Our 1907 house had five different colors on the wood when we had it refinished.
Aside from theater and porch floors, I’ve not painted one.
My first summer-long job, outside of camps, was sweeping, mopping, and then painting utility room floors at the headquarters of an insurance company in Hartford, CT in the mid-1980s. To the building department’s chagrin, I ran out of floors to paint (including the basement fallout shelter) midway through the summer. (The permanent staff’s occasional lessons in slowing down was to no avail, I’m afraid.)
Just when it seemed I’d painted myself into a corner, it turned out that the building department’s computer wasn’t working right. I knew something about computers, and volunteered to look at it. And I’ve been stuck working with the machines ever since…
Our summer house has painted floors.
Then again, they’ve been there since the late 1800s. Possibly nobody’s painted a floor in the last century, except to touch it up.
The bedroom floor got painted by yours truly about 20 years ago. Medium gray. It needs repainting now. Just another addition to the “Honey Do” list…