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Paper Bag Flooring, Part III – Sealer Options

Welcome back to the paper bag flooring series, where I provide more information than you ever needed to know about installing a paper bag floor in your home. If you only have a minute, here are the big takeaways from this post –

Which sealer should I use for my paper bag floor?


If you want to dive in and get all the info on sealer options for your paper bag flooring project, then keep reading!


Today’s post contains more information than you ever wanted to know about different sealers. Seriously…feel free to skim. Although this particular part of the paper bag floor experiment is the one I have the most interest in, since my floor is having some sealer problems, not to mention that and most of the questions I get about paper flooring have to do with sealer. Not for long though!

Sealer options for flooring

At this point in the experiment all the combinations are getting a little crazy and my brain is turning into mush… I’m going to need a good creative project soon to balance out all this science. I’m not used to over analyzing things…for this project I had my scientific notebook near and madly scribbled notes as I worked, took way too many pictures, and labeled everything with permanent markers to try and keep it all straight. Suffice it to say that I’m glad this project is behind me, and I’m glad to have a sealer solution for everyone!

So here are the contestants…

which sealer should I use for my paper bag flooring?

What I did was try each sealer with a water based and an oil based stain, and applied two coats. This experiment (unlike the others) is really hard to describe with photos….all the products in this post are clear, and while could tell a difference in person those differences are hard to photograph. So bear with me.

To test the durability I applied two coats of sealer to my sample boards and let it cure for a few days. Then I grabbed a couple of items and gave them a years worth of abuse in about 30 seconds.

testing sealers for brown paper flooring

I scratched them with a fork, beat them with a rock, tried to pull up the sealer with tape, and poured water of them. Some of the sealers really impressed me….some not so much. Also, in order to keep your sanity please don’t think about the different kinds of paper or horrid looking stain…all we are worried about here is the sealer and oil based and water based stain. Don’t make it more complicated than that. Your brain thanks you.

Lets get right to the results, starting with the ones you should avoid.



Parks floor poly

Parks (RustOleum) Water based Poly for Floors – $40 a gallon

Look familiar? That’s because it is…this is the sealer that I used to seal my boys floor. It finished dead last, much to my horror. Although there is a silver lining – I was somewhat impressed with it after a year of use, so if the worst performer held up alright then you really can’t go too wrong when you pick a sealer.  And in its defense this bottle is a year old, so that may have affected its performance a bit (though some of the others are old as well). Basically it scratched really easily, came up with tape, and is cloudy.

RustOleum floor poly scratches




Lundmark All-Wax Floor Wax – $17 a gallon

I put this at number five, but honestly I don’t know where to put it. It freaked me out during application and I instantly eliminated it, but I decided to go ahead and apply a second coat and abuse it with the others…and it held up okay. 

This is the first time I have ever tried wax…I’ve never even waxed furniture before. I was hesitant to try it because I though application would be a pain (with all the rubbing and whatnot), but it is really watery and easy to apply. It acts the same on both oil and water based stain, is anti-slip, and best of all it is insanely cheap.he

Here is what happened when I initially applied the wax to the paper…

using wax sealer on a paper bag floor

It wrinkled… a lot. I almost stopped experimenting with it and label it a complete failure, but then when it dried all the wrinkles smoothed out. This is what it looked like after I went after it with my tools of destruction.

wax after abuse

The marks obviously show, but they seem less permanent than the poly ones…like the wax is just moving around and not really coming off. Confused yet? Me too…I honestly have no idea what to think about the wax, and since this is my first time using wax I don’t really know what to think or whether I should recommenced it or not. So there is all the information I have…your call.


# 6


Minwax Polycrylic –  $50 a gallon

Here it is, Polycrylic…this is what I use to seal all my furniture and really like it. Unfortunately I can’t recommend it much for sealing floors because it scratched really easily and came up a bit with the tape. Here is the oil based stain…

polycrylic scratches

and here is the water based…

IMG_5250 - polycrylic

Yeah, not great. Next.


Minwax poly floors

Minwax Water Based Poly for Floors – $63 per gallon

Is one is a water based floor poly, but it’s unlike the others I tried. The other water based sealers are whitish in color and go over oil and water based stain, this one is amber colored, looks like oil, and yellows. It cannot be used over oil based stain though, here is what happens when you try…

minwax floor poly over oil based stain

This is the only sealer that beaded up, all others went over both stains (though some held up better than others.)

Here it is over the water based stain after getting beat up, it came out with light scuffs and scratches (there one on the top left) but overall it did really well. Too bad it you can only use it over water based stain (which didn’t do too great in my stain experimenting).

minwax floors




Varathane (water based) Polyurathane – $50 a gallon (there is also a floor version for $52 a gallon that I didn’t see before)

For a strictly water based sealer Varathane performed pretty well (and did the same over oil and water based stain). I did scratch though, and there are better options.

varathane over oil



Minwax fast drying poly

Minwax Fast-Drying Polyurethane – $55 a gallon

This poly is oil based, and not surprisingly it held up extremely well. Oil based stuff can really take a beating. Here are the scratches, I had to get creative with lighting to even be able to capture them…

fast dry poly for paper bag floor

There are a few reasons I didn’t put this higher on the list….

  1. I claims to be fast drying, but it doesn’t dry that fast. After using all the water based sealers (which dry in a few minutes), waiting for this to dry between coats seemed to take forever. Waiting for this to dry on a floor you are waiting to use would be frustrating.
  2. It’s smelly, and you have to be more careful with application so it doesn’t get gloppy.
  3. The reviews for it are terrible. This floor version on Amazon has some of the worst reviews I’ve seen.



oil modified

Minwax Water Based Oil-Modified Polyurethane – $50 a gallon

This is a water based poly (which means easy clean up, less smell, and fast drying) with oil added in (which means better durability). It scratched a bit more than the straight oil version, but I’m rating it higher because  it’s much easier to work with. It goes over oil and water based stain but it does yellow, so using it over light-colored floors (like the white paper) isn’t recommended. Overall I think it’s a really good choice, plus the price isn’t bad either.

oil modified scratches



best sealer for paper bag floor

Bona Traffic – $150 a gallon

Let’s just get two things out of the way right off the bat….1) this stuff is really expensive, and 2) it is totally worth it. You should basically forget everything I said about the other sealers and just buy this.

Before I started this experiment I did a lot of reading on different types of sealers. I read reviews on amazon, articles on google, and lots and lots of flooring/DIY/contractor forums. Opinions varied on all the sealer options, except one… Bona Traffic. The one I tried here is professional grade, you can’t buy it at hardware stores. It took me awhile to actually order it, (since it cost so much), but I with all the rave reviews I decided I wasn’t buying it to experiment with, I was buying it to use when I paper bag my guest room. Much to my relief it works amazing and I feel confident recommending it. Here are some notes about it…

  • comes in two parts, which you mix together before application
  • goes on easily and dries perfectly clear (other sealers are somewhat cloudy)
  • One gallon covers 350-400 feet (you only need 2-3 coats)
  • must read directions carefully
  • does equally well over oil and water based stain
  • very durable and difficult to scratch
  • doesn’t smell and dries quickly
  • basically the best thing ever

Even though the price tag is hard to swallow, I don’t think it actually ends up costing you more than most of the other options. I applied 12 coats of poly to my boys floor, but this one only needs 2-3 coats. So even though it is twice the initial price of the other options, you would use less than half the product. As far as my math goes, that’s basically even.

Here is the my experimental floor after going at it with the fork, rock, water, and tape –

water based stain…

Bona Traffic over water stain

Bona water 2

and the oil based stain…

Bona Traffic over oil stain

Bona Traffic 2

There are a couple of light scratches where I really dug in with the fork, but other than that they look perfect. I also appreciate that it is truly clear, here is the sample board with Bona Traffic on it on my boys floor with the Parks/RustOleum floor poly (same paper and stain).

new floor vs old floor

Okay, so it didn’t photograph that well, but my boys floor is definitely cloudy compared to the Bona.

And that wraps up the sealer portion of this experiment…whew!

So in summary…


Links to the other parts of this series –


Similar Posts


      1. I am so impressed with all your work! ..i see this is an old post but i am having trouble arrowing past the first page?. .i can’t seem to find your results on the best sealer to use. .

  1. Bona Traffic is the KING of all sealers – I put it over my penny floors as a sealer (was a bit afraid screwing the application of epoxy) and it looks and wears fantastically. Love it. I am glad your experiment yielded it a winner too :)))))

    1. That is so good to hear! I loved it as soon as I tried it and it’s great to hear success stories. Also…you did a penny floor?! How did it turn out? Where is it in your home? Do you have a blog where I can read all the details and not annoy you with questions?

      1. Haha. I annoyed you last year about your butcher block countertops and then decided to go for a penny countertop. Hubby got scared and suddenly came home with a gorgeous slab of granite that became the countertop… I didn’t want to roll the pennies again, so I used them. On the floors ;-)) I don’t have a blog. I only steal other bloggers’ ideas and apply them at my home :-))))

    2. I’m liking glitsa’s version of traffic lately, Glitsamax. It’s super thick and has more open time. I plan to do a test panel to see how it stacks up to traffic.

  2. Ash, you ROCK!
    I absolutely appreciated your careful and very thorough research into floor sealers all ON BEHALF of your readers. Thanks for the time you put into the applying, waiting, re-applying, sighing,applying, grumbling, re-buying, re-trying, sighing, cheering, photography, notes and finally the fabulous post ALL TO HELP US lowly DIYers!
    I hope you get some great sponsors out of all this work.

    With much admiration and appreciation,

    1. Were you spying on me? Because you nailed it. You are more than welcome…I just want everyone’s floor to turn out well and not into a giant disaster that they regret trying. Also, this will save me time in the long run, as far as answering questions, comments, and e-mails. So it is a little selfish ;) Thanks for the encouragement!

      1. wow!!! I am in sitting in front of my screen in absolute amazement!!! that is awesome. i mean really really interesting, unique, eclectic, cheap, conscientious, green, user-friendly and wow. really really wow. I have an event center that we are slowly building up and i’m so excited. i have horrid carpet over a concrete floor and now a fabulous way to refinish that will also create amazing discussions amongst my patrons. all i can say is FABULOUS!!!
        And kudos to you for all the hard work and time…. i completely agree with all the comments of thank you for all your research and willingness to share info. way to go!

  3. Wow. What a lot of work! Floors are a mighty big project, and it’s great to have this kind of knowledge going into it. And the post was great – clear and readable. Thanks so much, and enjoy your next project! :)

    1. Thanks Jan! I just updated wordpress and now it shows me how many approved comments readers have on my site. Most people have just a couple….you are sitting right at 100! Thanks for all the support, even on posts like this that aren’t super exciting.

  4. Thanks so much for this extensive review on sealers. This is the best info yet! I have done two floors using about 10 coats of the Varethane floor water based. It’s OK but did cloud just a bit and is slippery. I was afraid to try the Bona because of the cost. I’m starting another room soon and I will definitely try the Bona in the anti-slip formula. This gives me hope I can eventually do the entire house. We are in our fifties and I am concerned with how slippery the first two rooms are and I was hesitant to try this technique in a higher traffic area. You are an inspiration! Thanks again!!!

  5. We are thinking of doing something like this. After looking at just the paper, and the paper that people have made look like wood, we are going to try to make it look like rock. Thank you SO much for doing all the prep work on the 3 boards, 4 different stains, and so many different sealers. I think we are going to give it a go, but I would like to try watercolor for the rock color. Has any one else tried any watercolor for something like this? I hope it doesn’t run when we put the bona sealer, or the glue, over the top, and that it looks like real stone. Trying to decide if we should “paint” the paper before we lay it on the floor, after we rip it into rock like shapes, or after or as we glue it on the floor. Any suggestions out there? I think we are going to try it on a board first, just to be sure our idea can work.

  6. I’m hoping to do something like this in our nursery, and we have concrete flooring. I was wondering what your opinion would be of using not using a stain and using one of the brighter colors of art paper (the same type that you linked in your paper section)? I was also wondering if you thought that the bona traffic would seal over the paper itself, or if I do need some type of stain down? I love all the research you did, it’s all been SUPER helpful!

  7. Thank you so much for researching and experimenting with the sealer. I did several floors using oil based stain and the Pro Floor water based poly and have been disappointed how sensitive it is to wear and tear. I have 2 questions… Can I use the Bona Traffic poly over these floors I’ve already done since they are needing some touchup anyway and just for better durability? Also… am I understanding that the Bona Traffic poly at Lowes or Home Depot is different than what you ordered and not as good?

    Thanks for your help!

    1. Yes, the Bona Traffic you find at hardware stores is different. The stuff I tried and comes in two parts and you have to mix them. As far as going over an old sealer with Traffic…I’ve actually been wondering the same thing. I need to reseal the floor in my boys room (that was done with oil based stain and water based poly) and am not quite sure what to do. I would think that since they are both water based it would be perfectly fine, but the poly in my kids room isn’t adhering to the paper well, so I don’t want to Put traffic over something that is peeling up. If yours is in good condition I think you could seal right over it, but I would test it out on a scrap or in a corner first just to be sure.

      1. Thanks for the advice Ashley! I am going to give it a try and put 2 coats over the previously polyed floors. Im not having issues of the poly coming up UNLESS something is dropped on it then it leaves a spot of broken seal and begins to peel. At this point, I feel like I don’t have much of a choice other than to recoat it with the Bon Traffic in hopes it will make it stronger and more durable to hopefully alleviate any additional issues. We’ll see…

  8. Thanks so much for all the information and research you’ve done. I have been scouring the internet to see how this floor would work in a dining room and kitchen and can’t seem to find too many people who have done that. I’m worried mainly about the scraping of chairs. What do you think?

    1. Before I started the experiment I would have said no, don’t do it…but the Bona Traffic really impressed me. I’ve only tried it on a sample though and don’t have any “real life” experience with it. It may hold up perfectly, but the chairs would make me nervous too. Maybe add a rug under the table so you don’t have to worry about it? A blogger friend of mine recently made one that is cheap and easy to clean… http://www.sawdustandembryos.com/2014/04/diy-dining-room-area-rug-painted-linoleum.html

  9. I just laid and stained copying you (over sealed concrete). How long to dry on stain? 2-4 days? And how long between bona coats that you say are fast drying and how long before we can put furniture back in? I’m lookinb forward to this but anxiety is setting in!

    1. I’m doing another room in my house right now, and I let the stain dry overnight and did both Bona coats in the same day. I’m going to give it about a week to cure before putting furniture back in. Well, at least a few days…I’m really ready to get all the extra furniture out of my living room. Don’t worry, you’ll do fine! It IS scary adding the stain after spending all that time papering though.

  10. Ashley, just wanted to let you know that I finished my floor project (20×22) and so totally awesome! I spent $11 on paper, $30 on glue, $18 on stain, $15 on concrete sealer and $103 on Bona Traffic. Very labor intensive on your knees for two days but I wouldn’t trade this floor for nothing! Thanks for your guidance and support!

  11. Hi Ashley, I’m about to buy the Bona Traffic, but it says it needs to be mixed right before application. Did you have to keep mixing to a certain ratio as you went?

    1. I just finished using the Bona Traffic on my new floor this weekend..it’s actually still curing and all my furniture is in my living room. According to the bottle you have four hours to use it after you mix the two parts, and I just mixed it all at once. That might not be the best idea though, because it goes WAY further than I thought it would. After two coats on the floor in my guest room I had a ton left over and ended up emptying our my kids room and resealing that floor as well. I ended up doing three coats in both bedrooms and still had a bit left over. About 24 hours later I realized there were a few bugs stuck in the poly, so I peeled them up and touched up the areas with the leftover Traffic, and it worked and dried just like it did when it was freshly mixed.

      1. Ashley,
        I’m curious what steps you took to prep the paper before applying Bona Traffic. Also, what tool did you use to apply?
        Thanks for the great work, and detailed instructions!

        1. I didn’t do any prep work before applying the Traffic, just let the stain dry a few days. I don’t know if that was the best way, but thats what I did. To apply it I used one of those rectangular deck pads by Shur-Line.

      2. We applied the Bona Traffic Anti Slip over our minwax oil based stain and it does appear to have the poly looked finish I hoped it would have. I can still feel the paper in spots with 2 coats. Any suggestions on what we should do? We had let the stain dry for 4 days before applying poly and the paper bubbled in areas also. Not sure where to go from here if I should get a different kind of poly or apply more coats of this same one?

        Any suggestions would be great

  12. Alright . . . I have my paper on the floor, but decided not to stain it because I LOVE the way the color turned out. I am ready to put on my poly. I bought the Bona product that you recommended. I think I can handle the mixing of the two different products together, but I only have one question at this point . . . when I read the instructions on the bottle, it says that the floor needs to be sanded smooth – do I need to do this step with the paper bag floor? If I skip it and just put the poly on, will it be ruined, or will the poly smooth out the roughness of the paper?

  13. This is by far, the most interesting D.I.Y., Home Improvement/Craft project that I have ever had the pleasure of reading. I am absolutely floored! Thank you so much, for sharing your experience with us! Hopefully I will get to try my hand at this, someday.

    Thanks again!

  14. Fabulous work on all your research! I am so excited to attempt this in my guest/grandkids play room. I wondered if you have tried or even heard of my all-time favorite sealer. Envirotex Lite. I use it on all kinds of projects. It is a two part epoxy product that gives a gorgeous deep shine finish. The box claims one coat equals 50 coats of varnish. I even refinished my kitchen and bathroom counter tops and used this magical stuff well over two years ago and they are holding up incredibly. WhAt are your thoughts?

    1. I’m curious about envirotex lite for kitchen countertops. You used the sealer & it was not sticky etc?

      1. I have had zero problems with my countertops in over a year. The Envirotex has maintained a deep glossy finish. I simple scrubbed to remove all dirt/grease. Basecoat with a latex primer and roll down a coat of basic (quality) acrylic. Let that dry. Using a wadded up paper towel I layered in color until I was happy. I allowed this to dry 48 hours. Then mixed and applied Envirotex according to directions using a foam brush as an applicator. Love it!

    2. I’m intrigued. Anything epoxy is basically bulletproof, I did this penny countertop a few years ago with an epoxy sealer and it is indestructible. It would be great on a floor, though I didn’t consider it because it is expensive and I would need a ton. I’ll have to look into the Envirotex for future projects though!

    3. I have used Envirotex Lite on my kitchen countertops about a year ago. I had panted yellow formica with black latex paint and added white latex paint in an abstract pattern. The Envirotex yellowed and it’s noticeable on the white areas. Other than the yellowing it held up well. I would not use it again over white or light colors.

  15. Perfect! I thought I would have to porch paint my plywood floors but this is so much better. A friend did her bathroom walls using colorful tissue paper. Turned out grea t but she did not seal it properly. Wslls did not hold up. Your post is much appreciated by me. Thanks for the useful information. Your kids & hubby are cute!

  16. So I was reading over your post and wondering just how hard you dug in your fork? I’m asking because I have a 150 pound great dane that scratched my floors up really bad!!! I’m not ready to scrap them because they are so beautiful! I was really wanting to just peel up the poly and reseal. When I was researching it kept pulling up your number 1 sealer choice as well. I’m not afraid of the work and would like to give the floors one more try before spending thousands on the ceramic tile that looks like wood.

    1. I dug it in fairly well, but not great dane well. I actually just papered the floors in my guest room and used used the Bona Traffic. It was SO great on my test boards, but its not quite as great on my floor. I’m pretty sure it’s my own fault though, because I was in a hurry and didn’t wait long enough between coats. I should have waited about a day, but I only gave it about 15 minutes and you can tell. I need to write a post about it. Anyway, I’m sure that only confuses you more…but Bona is the best, just make sure you don’t mix it all at once and rush the process.

  17. I am getting ready to start this project on my sons floor in his room. I have been researching the process for about 3 months now and find for the most part everyone’s procedure is similar. I guess my main concern and question is….I am going to be covering over cement floors, do I need to seal the cement first? The other question I have is do you suggest the Elmer’s glue 50/50 for cement? Other suggestions have been a product called weldbond. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Definitely polyurethane the cement floor first. I missed a spot and the paper came up there right away. Make sure you get it right up to the walls or the edges will come up. I did a 50/50 mix and it sticks great. I had some air bubbles after it dried so I just sliced them with a razor and slapped some more glue on and they sucked flat. Can’t even tell where they were

  18. We have applied the regular grade (one part), cheaper Bona floor poly twice to hardwood floors in two different remodels. Both times it has held up fantastically. Friends that have used other sealers complain about scratching, but my floors have been able to take massive amounts of abuse from my five kids. So even the cheaper stuff is amazing. I am going to try and use it on the paper bag floor my boys just put down over the concrete in our basement. First we poured self leveling concrete over the old concrete, sealed it with an expensive commercial grade sealer and the paper/glue sticks to it perfectly. I’m happy to know about the more expensive two part stuff, I will definitely search it out next time we need floor sealer.

    1. Wondering how the less expensive stuff worked for this project, am wanting to do this soon and was wondering if it still wroked as well!

        1. So did you go ahead and use the regular grade (one part) Bona floor poly on the paper bag floor over concrete? If so, how is it continuing to wear? I am considering going with this product rather than Bona Traffic due to the amount of square footage I am trying to cover. Also, did you do 2 coats?

  19. Hi! THANK YOU SO MUCH for posting this! Three years ago, I did my first paper floor room, and eventually did my entire main floor: living, dining, family, hallway and powder room. It has been awesome for the cost, and some rooms seemed to hold up better than others, and now I know why because I used an inferior poly in one of them. Will be touching them up and reapplying poly, so will definitely get the Bona. THANK YOU! Next is the guest room upstairs, so this will be perfect. Here is my experience with the paper floor situation: http://mossisawesome.wordpress.com/2011/08/29/stained-paper-floor-awesomeness-under-30-diy-hardwoodlaminate-floor-alternative/

  20. Before we spend 100 plus dollars for sealer I need to make absolutely sure the Bona Traffic works on cement floors providing they’ve been sealed prior. And your suggestion on the best brand of cement sealer?
    I live in Alabama and my son’s business was flooded when we had the rare 100 year flood a few months ago (2 foot of standing water) . Since this is a hurricane zone few have flood or wind coverage anymore (not affordable). Having said that I want to make sure this won’t be money ill spent and will work well long term.
    Thanks in advance for any and all advice!

  21. I am so thankful for your R&D for this project! I am getting ready todo the walls in the main bathroom. I was going to use the paint and tissue paper method, but since your brown paper method looks so much like old leather, I’m cconsidering it instead. The bathroom is already done in a western cowboy motif, and I think this finish on the walls would be perfect! However, there’s no fan or window in this small bathroom; how resistant is this to condensation? It’s just hubby and I, so we never close the door all the way, but there’s still some fogging on the mirror. The room is tiled halfway up each wall and the tub/shower surround is completely tiled. We’ll only be doing this finish on the upper half of three small walls. What modifications do you recommend to ensure this method holds up?

  22. Question… Do you know if this would work well applied over an existing sealer? We did our floors about a year ago and find the poly isn’t holding up too week. Curious if I could add a few layers of this on top.

  23. Building a new home in Kailua-Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii and flooring options have me going crazy. Can you tell me if you or any of your readers have done the paper floor in a humid area? My husband is worried the glue may attract molding. The climate is very humid and can make such things as MDF crumble to saw dust is what we are being told.
    Love your review on the sealants. You made it simple, entertaining and made the task of selecting one (should we decide on the paper floor) much easier for a simple mind like mine.

  24. Hello! Thank you so much for all your research! Just received the bona traffic today in the mail! I am applying it the site stairs, where I did the brown bag floor. They are stained and dried, do I need to sand them before applying the bona traffic? And what do you recommend applying the bona traffic with?

    1. You don’t need to sand them, and I used a deck pad to apply mine. I do have to tell you though (I learned this lesson the hard way) is that you need to to apply it in thin coats and let it cure for about 24 hours between coats. Don’t mix the whole bottle at once and them be in a hurry to finish, it will only lead to a floor that isn’t fully cured and will peel up (like a blister) when scratched.

  25. This may sound like a really dumb question but my hubby and i are new at this diy thing. But all the polyurethanes say for wood floors. We are interested in papering our family room that is cement. Would any of them work?

  26. HI there, you have great information and I wish I would have seen it sooner! I used the poly for floors that you listed at 8. LOL I do have some clouding in the first room that I had done and I had just finished my third room and now I am paranoid. is there a link on where you showed how you repaired the poly that started bubbling?
    Thank you in advance, I am going to look around some more at your info in case I missed it.

  27. Amazing posts! Your hard work has saved me hours! I can not thank you enough. I am looking at doing this to my counter tops. Would you happen to know if I could still use the bona traffic as it would be coming into contact with food?

  28. Hi Ashley, thank you for all the info and demos. You have amazingly helpful blog.

    I have a floor that is incredibly uneven and rough. It is concrete. Will this flooring work wonders? Can it hold? Thank you very much!

  29. I feel like a stalker I have been to your page so much! Lol! I am so greatful for your research, honesty, and sharing!!!!! Now to the question at hand! I’m getting ready to do this to the basement floors (concrete). Before I apply one stitch of paper, the floors must be sealed, so I would use this as the base and top coat of my floor?!?! Or is there a different sealer needed for the base. Once again thanks for all the insight.

    1. I used a cheaper poly on the cement because you’ll never see it. Just don’t miss a spot. I did a giant area in my basement and all I can say is make sure your not going to have issues with water getting under the edges near the walls. I had a pipe leak and just about ruined the whole floor since its one piece and replacing sections doesn’t work as well as I hoped. They don’t match quite right.

  30. I’m wondering if you could apply the paper and then paint it with a semi-gloss or high gloss paint? Honestly, I don’t care about the textured look. I just need something inexpensive for a floor redo in a boys bedroom (with OSB subflooring). Thanks!

    1. I have wondered this too! Did you try it? I want to paper and then paint some stairs, rather than use the staining method, but I am not sure if that will work.

  31. I love that you came back to this and did such a thorough job explaining it! I was a bit hesitant to take this on and didn’t know if they would stand up to the traffic over time… I really appreciate you coming back to it! You’ve answered every question I had and I love the product detail… This is extremely helpful! I think I will tackle this later this month!!!

  32. I thought Bona mega and traffic are finishes? Why are so many calling it a sealer? It does not soak/seal into the wood pores, it is plastic and it lays on the top. Wood pores are (especially with hardwoods) tight and compact. Those particles of poly are too big to fill them in, that’s why there are sealers and there are finishes.

  33. I just put the bag floor down and glued it. Other posts said to use a 3:1 glue mixture. I tried that and all but a few of the papers pieces came up as it dried over night. Was the 3:1 mixture of the glue to thin or did I do something else wrong. I put it over a brand new plywood subfloor. I am in the process of taking it all back up, and any help you could give me would be great.

    1. I’ve never papered over plywood before, just concrete, so take my advice with a grain of salt. I used a 50/50 mixture and pretty much saturated the paper. My floor has been down for a couple years now and the paper isn’t even thinking about coming up. I’m sorry it don’t work for you the first go-round, taking up all up after spending all that time putting it down would be pretty frustrating.

      1. I am about to paper bag a bare concrete sub floor. I have put two coats of water based waterproofing concrete sealer on and hoping I don’t need to apply a coat of polyurethane as well before I start the paper gluing. I also experimented with a traditional wheat paste to see if that would work as its much cheaper than buying glue. I found that the paper stuck well where I really saturated the wheat paste but not where it was thinner- the paper “shrunk” and peeled up in those spots. I bought some elmers and will try your 50/50 recommendation. Thanks

      2. I am about to paper bag a bare concrete sub floor. I have put two coats of water based waterproofing concrete sealer on and hoping I don’t need to apply a coat of polyurethane as well before I start the paper gluing. I also experimented with a traditional wheat paste to see if that would work as its much cheaper than buying glue. I found that the paper stuck well where I really saturated the wheat paste but not where it was thinner- the paper “shrunk” and peeled up in those spots. I bought some elmers and will try your 50/50 recommendation. Thanks

  34. Ashley, Thank you so much for all the information you have so generously shared. I am about to do the paper bag floor in a large bedroom over a plywood floor. I have cut out various shaped leaves from the same paper and I plan to glue them down randomly over the crumpled brown paper. I do not plan to stain. Can I apply the bona directly over the glued paper?

  35. This article is so super helpful!! Lots of work on your part, but I appreciate all the info. My question now is…I have water based satin varathane over my paperbag floors now…must I take this off the Carthage before applying this Bona product? I would be grateful for your insight. Thanks so much.

  36. You used ‘Art paper what kind of paper is that? I found white kraft paper and Pacon faceless bulletin board paper, easel paper, but no Art paper. I LOVE the gray stain…its beautiful!
    Thank you for your help!

  37. Thank you for all your practical research and work for us DIY! Especially with 4 little ones, you are quite impressive. I trust your work and will use it to make my project look fantastic and last. I personally like the white art paper also and will try that with the #1 sealer.

  38. So very appreciative of your research. Thank you for sharing, especially concerning the gray stain.

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  42. I feel this is among the most important info
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  43. I love u for taking the mental stress for me. I like the idea of an alternative flooring w/o the cost. I like working w my hands, the end results always sasatisfying. I’m on a tight budget.
    Ur methods are graciously taken in.
    Thanks for sharing.

  44. I am now scared to death about sealants on my paper bag floor which in my opinion has been a labor of time and error. I started with actual grocery store shopping bags which I obtained from my fav. grocery store. At first, I did not realize until it was dry… that the emblem Winn Dixie was showing through in some spots. I am working with a PB Floor over concrete that was carpeted. When I ripped up the carpeting and the tacking it left holes in the cement that I patched with drywall spackle. The parts where I patched it showed up dark and literally looked like someone pee’d on the floor in the corner…. So I painted it with a whitewash of latex paint and redid the PB. It came out ok no spots. I purchased a very tiny can of Poly Stain and Polyurethane all in 1 last night and applied it behind the door, (just in case it didnt look right). I like the color that came out, it brought out the highlights of the veins *which is what I want” Your top choice the Bona product was (in my opinion) not shiny enough. I preferred the 3rd choice of yours the Minwax Fast-Drying Polyurethane – $55 a gallon. That is the look I am going for. I am doing my master bedroom, I have no children or serious activity in my home, usually socks are worn in my house (not shoes) or bare feet.

    I guess this is going to take a leap of faith on my part in choosing the sealant. I would hate to think ALL THE TIME I have spent doing this PROJECT would turn up cloudy and unacceptable. I am temped to just do around the 12 X 12 super shag rug that will go under the bed just as a quick fix in case it doesnt turn out right . I own a home in Florida and have rented it out for our season (February and March) and I just want it to look pretty for those two months while the tenants are there. If it does hold up well, I can always do the floor during the summer when I am not pressed for time. I am still ripping up bags for the flooring and starting to panic about the sealant. I like the color of the Poly all in one Pecan stain, but I know it will not hold up to normal wear… so .. now I really dont know what to do. I wish I could attach pictures and get more advice before I make a blunder that I will regret.
    B. McGinnis
    [email protected] – I dont care if people have my email address, I just need some really good assurances on what I have done thus far.

    :) :(

  45. I don’t see many DIY-ers as crazy at seeking info and testing as I am! Good for you. It’s the best way to know and things still happen in the end process sometimes. Thanks for sharing all your experiments and photos. They are great. I have a cement floored art studio out the back of my cottage and have been wrestling with porch paint plus stencil ideas and such. This is a good alternative. I’ve done it on walls (decorative painter for 38 years, vintage trailer restoration) but floors are new to me. I love the look. The thought of going over tile is interesting. The floors in my bathroom look like the past owner had a bit of moonshine before Frisbee-ing in the tiles and leaving them where they lay! LOL. A remodel in about a year will happen but before that? This might save my sanity! Same glue for the tile adhesion? Would Mod Podge be a good answer? Maybe not as it might “seal” the paper? Would love to know if you tried that at all… Thanks again!

  46. Hi did you use the bonaseal because bona traffic says to use it before putting down bona traffic? I really don’t want to mess anything up.

  47. I know I am uber late to this party, but did anyone every test the Bona Traffic you can buy at Lowes? How did it turn out?

  48. Hey Ashley, When I went to buy the Bona, there was a Product called Bona Traffic HD Commercial Satin ( no harder ) that was listed $119.47 Do you know if this is a new product that replaces the other you used???……I want to order right away and can’t decide which to purchase….. Thanks Edie

  49. Thank you so much for sharing all this research. I’m refitting a van to do some serious camping and hope to glue maps to a plywood base I’m installing for the floor, your recommended finish sounds perfect for this application. You’ve saved me a lot of time and effort with all your experience and descriptions and I can’t express enough how much I appreciate it. One happy camper!

  50. Thank you for this tutorial. I am impatiently waiting to move furniture back in on my floors. I did craft paper “tiles” on concrete using 2 coats of bona traffic. It has been 24 hours and already seems solid as a rock.

  51. Thank you so mych for sharing. Ive never done a paper floor wamnt to try in ny study
    What glue did you use pls?

  52. I just bought some Envirotex Lite, Pour-on High Gloss Finish. Could that be used on the PB flooring?

  53. How would i do the paper floor if i use the comic pages out of the news papers? Would i have to put something thicker behind it or no? Im wanting to use the newspaper comics to do my boys bedroom floor

  54. Good girl. Just what I would recommend. Worth the money. Take it from hardwood floor finisher with 26 yrs experience.
    Try using Dura Seal stains, good stuff rich colors and Traffic finish goes over beautifully.

  55. When I stained my floors they came out really Dark~ What do I need to do? they are so dark it just looks a mess

  56. I’m truly enjoying your blog. Your advice is so thorough and that is exactly what I need before I undertake this floor project. I will read all of it, again, before I plunge into it. Thank you so much!

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