Painting Your Floor In A Chessboard Pattern – A Quick Guide

Painting your wooden floor in a chessboard/checkerboard pattern is a bit of a hassle, but the result will be worth all the effort! In this post, I will show you how we painted our floor in the garden hall and what tips we can give you so that your result gets perfect.

Preparation before painting your floor is everything!

The links marked with an asterisk (*) are so-called affiliate links. If you click on such an affiliate link and shop via this link, I will receive a commission from the online shop or provider concerned. For you, the price doesn’t change.

Choose the color and the type of paint

You can simply take the color samples home with you from your hardware store / paint shop and compare them in sunlight, in the evening and in artificial light. At home, you can also coordinate the colors with the rest of your furnishings (wallpaper, furniture, etc.). Remember to use cold and warm tones!

We opted for a classic checkerboard pattern, i.e. white and black. Hence, we check out the color palettes of white and black tones. We liked the combination of the two colors:

Next you have to calculate how much paint you will need.

We have decided to paint our entire floor white first. Hence, we needed a lot more white paint than black. It is really annoying when you have to stop in the middle of the process because you run out of paint. Therefore plan a little more paint than you calculated.

Clean and prepare your floor

First of all, you should clean your floor and remove any dust.
If you have treated floor (oil / paint) you should also sand it.

Because our floor was painted on one side of the room (brown color). Whereby the paint was partly cracked. The other side of the room was scrubbed floor. And at the transition we found oiled spots. Therefore we sanded our floor completely with 24 sandpaper. I tried to grind off as much as possible because the wood had a very strong smell…After that I grinded the floor with 40, 60 and 120 papers.

After sanding it’s time to clean up and remove the dust! A really helpful tip: After the first clean up, let the dust settle and wait a two days. You will be suprised about the remaining dust…

Many guides from paint shops recommend cleaning the floor with a special cleaner and then priming it. However, we have ignored this step a bit. We cleaned the floor with water and primed only a few places, to use up the remaining primer. in the coming years it will show whether it was wrong to neglect this step. If you don’t want to take the risk, you should definitely prime your floor.

However, I don’t see the point in using a special cleaner if you sand the entire floor. But you should take a look at the recommended cleaning product. For example, if the product replaces the grinding process, it really is an interesting choice!


After your cleaning/primering step, you can start painting your floor with the light color. Let the painted floor dry. We were able to set foot on our floor after about 10 hours. But you should definitely wait a few days before you start taping. We continued after one week to be on the safe side.

Tape off your floor

Now you come to the point where it gets tricky. I believe that this is actually the most difficult and time consuming part of the whole process of floor painting.

What will you need:

  • High quality masking tape
  • A long and straight ruler (i.e. wooden plank)
  • Triangle ruler
  • Cutter
  • Pencil

First of all you should decide what tile size you want. Most common are 30x30cm or 40x40cm. Of course it is up to you but keep in mind the smaller the tiles, the more you have to tape. We chose 30x30cm.

Second, you must calculate the diagonal of your tile square (= √2 * lenght of the tile). For us, that was 42.4cm. The other distance you will need is half the diagonal (21.2cm).

Foremost, draw a straight line parallel to the starting wall half the diagonal apart. The pencil lines can be easily scrubbed off, aslong as you don’t press on to hard. For the first tile you will need to measure a 45 degree angle from your drawn line. Then mask it from the line to the wall accordingly. Complete the first row by measuring the lenght of your diagonal (42.4cm) along your first line and masking from each of these points.

This drawing should clarify it visually:

Visually explains how to paint checkerboard patterns

Here you see our work in progress:

In a nutshell: The white fields serve as marking points. There is no painting requirred, so it doesn’t matter if the tape is thicker and forms a border. It is just important that the tips of the fields (black and white) always meet.

At the same time, you shouldn’t forget to keep an eye on the condition of your floor. Our floor is very old and has lots of bumps. In addition, it looked crooked if you looked at the floor from a different angle, which was due to the fact that the floor is simply uneven.


Finally: Painting your floor!

Back to the fun part: Paint the actual pattern.

Tip: If you have to correct the tape during the painting process and the color runs, use wet cloth or baby wipes to clean it!

We left the paint to dry for about 2 days before removing the tape.

After removing the tape we discovered that black paint had gotten under the tape in some fields and destroyed the edge. Because of that I had to paint over the white edges with a very fine brush.

Finished checkerboard/ chessboard pattern floor

Besides we found on youtube this alternative method for painting your floor in a chessboard/ checkerboard pattern. We have a hard time imagining how to get the edges tidy with this method. Likewise, it is probably more difficult to correct the fields when you realize that you have gone wrong. Nevertheless, we have not tried this method but we would look forward to reports!

Wish you a lot of fun renovating! Check out our To-Do List for Indoor and Outdoor Projects 🙂

Until next time,

Signature Ivy Green