Moving to a new home – Should you paint first or do the floors first?

Post updated: January 5th, 2017

An empty house is the ultimate clean slate. No cumbersome furniture to negotiate, no preconceived notions about how a place is “supposed” to look. This is your opportunity to make the house your own, and that often starts with the walls and floors. But wait! What should you do first? Paint the walls and then take care of the floors? Or do the floors and then paint the walls?

The chicken and the egg

It’s the “chicken and egg” question that no one seems to have a definitive answer on!

Whether you opt to put the bulk of your belongings in a storage facility or start fixing your new place up before you move, you will have to make the decision: paint first or do the floors first.

If you ask Martha Stewart, and many people have, the answer is straightforward: it’s the floors first. But there are plenty of other people who flip that script and opt to start with painting.

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What works for you?

So what’s best for you? Only you have that answer! It all depends on your unique situation. If you are completely renovating a room by breaking down walls or expanding windows, it seems likely that you would want to paint first and do the floors after all of the refuse is removed.

For many people, their instinct tells them to paint the walls first so they can eliminate the fear of dripping globs of paint on their gorgeous new floors. And while it is possible to sand away some paint blemishes, it’s not always that straightforward.

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Paint first or do the floors first?

One way to determine which project to tackle first is to anticipate how much dust and debris you expect to be floating through the air. Both pain mixtures and paint brushes can easily become marred by finite, airborne substances. This will impact the quality of the final project as far as paint color and texture. In these cases, if sanding of floors is required, the recommendation would be to do the floors first. This will allow you to get the majority of the dust out of the way before tackling other household projects such as painting. Mitigating the dust issue will allow you to move forward with painting with confidence.

Utilize a heavy paper or plastic dust sheets to keep the paint off of your freshly painted walls. Covering your floor properly should not be a “quick” step. It is worth it to put the time in to do it correctly and give yourself full coverage, and avoid a “full” headache later!

Wait for the paint to dry completely before removing the floor covering.

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Don’t rush

Many people are so eager to complete projects in their new house or apartment that they start in haste. The best thing you can do is spend a bit more time in the planning and prepping phases to avoid the potential pitfall of having paint splattered on your floors…or floor remnants splattered on your walls!

The best step is the last step, when your packers and movers bring your stuff into your freshly painted home. You know, the one with gorgeous floors!

Though we don’t offer painting and sanding services, we can make the move into your new home stress-free. Start by requesting a free, no-obligation quote from FlatRate Moving.


  • George

    Your advice makes good sense. Thanks!

  • paint first and then do the floors otherwise you will have to scrape paint drops and smudges off your beautiful painted floor.

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  • I so agree with you, and I wrote a similar article on my website. I think it’s ideal to do some of the paint prep/wall prep first, then floors, then paint. When you do the floors with a stain, the stain gets on the baseboard, so that’s why painting at the end is a must have.

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