Cents and Sensibility: How to Make a Penny Floor

With two little ones running around the house, I am always picking things up off the floor. I am amazed, though, by the sheer number of coins! Granted, we play “store” a lot, which involves a cash register, spare change, and my youngest setting up “shop” where ever I am… no matter what I’m doing, working or not! They have piggy banks that they love to fill, so why are the coins spread cavalierly on the floor?

I tell myself it’s good for me – like exercise – and picking them up is the equivalent of toe touches, but not even an Army Drill Sargent would put someone through this 😉 Now my thought process is that I’m just going to start cementing them down, so I will eventually end up with these floors:

The Standard Grill (in the Standard Hotel New York) did it. Maybe they were tired of picking up spare change as well 😀

The three pictures above are of a massive concrete floor. I could see some car enthusiast doing this to a garage floor.

This floor has no thinset, merely polyurethane and epoxy

Instead of hunching over a floor, you could also glue them to mesh, like tile sheets.

Pennies are about $1.96-2.32/square foot (depending on spacing, plus materials). Not too shabby for a unique copper floor!

Nickels are about $10/square foot

Here’s what you do to install a coin floor:

  • You need to make sure your floor is clean. Use a wax remover if applying over linoleum, which can be done.
  • If you want shiny pennies, you can soak them in vinegar. Make sure the coins have the patina you want even if it means going to the bank and getting rolls and rolls of pennies to search for clean coins.
  • If you want a design, lay it out first on the floor so you know how it will fit together.
  • Glue the coins directly to the floor, preferably in the same direction and pay attention to heads or tails (if it matters to you). Weldbond, a tile or glass glue, was used for many of the penny floors, but some used Elmer’s Glue, which seems a little on the flimsy side, and Gorilla Glue.
  • You now have two options:
    • You can apply thinset (a chocolate brown was used on the pennies) OR
    • You can apply a thick coat of a high gloss polyurethane
  • For the final top coat, apply another coat of polyurethane and/or an epoxy sealer (pictured below) to seal and make cleaning the floor easier.

For the world traveler, you could make a floor that incorporates coins from all the countries that you’ve visited as a sweet reminder. Some other ideas:

How cool is this floor?? A pattern based upon the patina of the coins – brilliant!

And this idea is awesome too!

(via Portland Press Herald)

Creativity like this never ceases to amaze me: taking an everyday item, and turning it into a goldmine – a $2 tile that rivals any high end tile I’ve ever seen and will certainly capture the attention of and enrapture guests more than a $20 to 50/square foot tile.

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