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Do we paint walls before or after hardwood floor refinishing?

Dyan Weis
4 days ago

The hardwood floor guys says paint the walls first and then they will sand and refinish. The painter says he needs to be the last one in. So which is best? Why can't they AGREE. Ugh.

Comments (13)

  • Pam A

    It's about time and touchups. Do you want to give the floors time to cure well enough that you can use the protective paper over them (so painter shoe marks won't be permanent)? Or do you want to touch up scuffs and bumps on a freshly painted wall after the floor guys leave?

    That's why each one wants to be last, they don't want a callback to fix a mark that the other guy left. I would vote floors go last because touching up paint is easier than fixing floor problems.

    Dyan Weis thanked Pam A
  • Dyan Weis

    Thank you - What is your opinion about the dust from the floors on my newly painted walls?

  • PRO
    Oak & Broad

    You can carefully wipe down the walls. Its all part of construction. Most modern sanding systems use a HEPA filtration system though so the dust should be minimal.

  • paintguy22

    Either way. It really depends on how careful the flooring people are. Some are kind and others are animals.

  • Dyan Weis
    Yes they are using that new system that is supposed to be cleaner. Thanks for the input! Leaning towards paint first.
  • chispa

    For the dust on walls I would use a swifer dry mop and just "dry mop" the walls. Keep changing the swifer pads until there is no more dust/dirt on them. Or use microfiber cloths clipped into one of those swifer mops. Lower section you can do by hand, but the swifer mop will help with higher wall areas.

  • artistsharonva

    "Tom Silva replies: You can do it either way. My painting contractor, Jim Clark, wants to be last so doesn't have to repaint baseboards that have been splotched with stain or ployurethane, or nicked by a sander. Besides, even the most careful flooring contractors inevitably leave a film of dust everywhere, he says.

    My flooring contractor, Pat Hunt, sees things a little differently. He prefers to be last because floor finishes take a while to fully cure, so he doesn't want anyone walking on them even when they're covered with protective tarps. He also says it's pretty common for other contractors to damage or spill stuff on a finished floor. The way he figures it, it's much easier to touch up paint than a floor finish.

    As the general contractor, I sometimes have the flooring finisher go first, and sometimes I let him go last. It all depends on what's best for the project schedule. I have that kind of flexibility because I know Clark and Hunt will put a lot of effort into protecting the other guy's work."


  • artistsharonva

    I like Mike's answer on previous houzz post.

    Mike "I am a painter by trade. We do this every day. Paint everything but the baseboads first.

    Have floor guys site protect base and stairs or anything else that may get stain on it by accident. Have painter come back after floors are complete to paint base and do any minor touch ups. The last thing you want is painters walking around on your newly finished floors dropping tools and sliding ladders. Remember,the new floor clearcoat takes time to cure. It will be soft and easy to damage until it cures. Hope this helps."


  • Sara
    I was wondering the same myself so this is good to know. I figure I can touch up paint but I can’t touch up the floors so there’s my answer-paint first :).
  • Dyan Weis
    Thank you everyone! Great info - appreciate it. I’m going to have them paint first. Plus my paint guy uses those stilts and I don’t want them messing up my floors with them.
  • PRO
    Oak & Broad

    Sounds like a good plan for your situation Dyan!

  • PRO
    Johnson Flooring Co Inc

    My advice usually mimics what I read above, paint the walls first, do the floors, then paint the trim (base, casing jambs and shoemold) last. This minimizes the work on top of the freshly finished floor, though a skilled painter should have no issues protecting it. Painting is done far more often than floor refinishing, so painters should be used to protecting finished surfaces.

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