How To Paint An Old Laminate Floor, Yes It Can Be Done!

Hi Everyone,

I have just completed a new project that I am excited to share with you today.A couple of years ago we had laminate flooring installed in our kitchen. I was so excited to replace the vinyl flooring with the new laminate. My husband got a deal on it through a contact at work. The laminate runs from our entryway, up the main hall, through the breakfast area and into the kitchen.

To my dismay, after a few months of dogs, kids and us” grown-ups” traipsing around, the floor began to wear and scratch badly.  Whoever said laminate does not scratch must have been sniffing paint thinner. I am a big fan of bargain shopping and squeal when I get something at a really great price but in this case the old adage “You get what you pay for.” really rang true.  It looked terrible and really bugged me.

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We thought about ripping it all up and replacing it with the same laminate we installed (ourselves) in our adjacent living room and dining room. It was not in our budget and to be honest, I really didn’t want the hassle of such a big project when my “to-do” list was, and still is about a mile long. I really wanted to paint the old laminate. After reading up on the subject where it seemed that everyone and their mother said you could not paint laminate flooring because the paint just would not stick, I gave up the idea and chose to just live with it.

It still bugged me to no end. One day I was  about revisiting my idea of paint when it occurred to me that I had read about DIY-ers painting their old vinyl flooring. Hmmm. Well, if you can paint old vinyl, why not laminate????

I started searching the Internet on how to paint vinyl flooring and came across a few fellow bloggers who had tackled the project. With the advice of Necel from The Old House In Texas , I dove in. This is my version of How To Paint A Laminate Floor

I ran to my local Lowe’s Home Improvement and purchased one gallon of Valspar’s Bonding Primer for glossy surfaces and one gallon of Valspar’s Latex Porch and Floor Paint. I chose water based paint oil based paint takes forever to dry and it has  a strong smell. Closing off our kitchen and not being able to use it for days was not an option. It was hard enough trying to keep everyone out while the water based paint dried!

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On the first day of the project I moved everything out of the rooms and washed the floor really well with an ammonia and water solution. This helps to break down any waxy finish that may be on the floor. I then gave the old laminate a quick sanding with a makeshift sander I created by wrapping a piece of 120 grit sandpaper over my Mr. Clean floor mop. You can do the same thing with a Swiffer.

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I vacuumed up the dust, lightly mopped the floor again and then started cutting in all the edges with the bonding primer.

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Once I finished cutting in around all of the baseboards and cabinetry, I used a paint roller to do the rest of the floor.

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I applied two coats of primer to the floor, letting each coat dry in between applications. I had the primer tinted to the darkest brown possible. It actually turned out this sort of pukey pink color because the primer starts out white.

TIP: Tinting your primer can cut down on the amount top coats needed, especially if you are painting a dark color. One gallon of floor paint gives you about 400 square feet of coverage.

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I let the paint dry for a few hours, with portable fans scattered everywhere, hoping it would be dry enough to tip toe in to make dinner. It was dry in time thank goodness! Afraid of the dogs and kids running across the newly primed floor before it had completely cured, I laid old bed sheets all over the floor. We stayed out of the room as much as possible.

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On day two I began my day by removing the sheets and giving the primed floor a quick sweeping to make sure no dog hair ended up in my paint. Then I began cutting in around the edges with the porch and floor paint.

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After two coats of the floor paint tinted to Valspar’s “Western Brown” my floor looked like this….

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This time I had the fans running for hours and when it came time to sneak in and make dinner the floors still felt slightly tacky. YIKES. It was rainy and humid outside but I had the heat on to keep the humidity out as much as possible. I placed the bed sheets back down on the floor and hoped for the best.

When I came down the next morning the floors still felt tacky. I wanted to cry as I pictured all of my time and money flying right out the window. I did a little research on the Internet and found that many people have had the same complaint about this porch and floor paint, even after a few weeks! One solution suggested was to put clear coat on top.  The good news was, I had planned on doing just that and had already purchased a gallon of Varathane Water Based Floor Finish at Lowe’s.

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After I applied the first coat and let it dry I was relieved to find that the tackiness was indeed gone. Each coat dried very quickly so I did three coats of the floor finish. I chose a satin finish because I didn’t want a very glossy look. I think it has a nice sheen to it.

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Oh, by the way, did you notice the big mess all over the counters? Dragging everything out of the kitchen really turned my house upside down so to speak. My kitchen table was stashed in the living room for the time being and my dining room looked like this…….

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UGH! The mess drove me crazy but it’s the price you have to pay when doing just about any major home improvement project. The mess was worth it when it was all said and done. I love the chocolaty richness of this color. It blends nicely with my newly painted staircase and the laminate we have in the adjacent rooms.

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I let the floor cure for 24 hours before replacing all of the furniture. To help protect my new floor, every stick of furniture got felt pads on the bottom.

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It’s been about a month now and everything still looks great. I got a couple of small nicks on the paint after the first couple of days but I think that was due to the fact that the paint was not fully cured. I just touched up the spots with leftover paint and nobody is the wiser. A couple of days ago I moved the refrigerator over so I could paint under it. I thought for sure moving the fridge was going to rip the paint right off the floor but it didn’t. Not a scratch on it!

This is a picture of a laminate floor Necel from The Old House In Texas did. It is so pretty! She painted her vinyl floor over nine years ago and it has held up nicely. You can read her tutorial How To Paint Vinyl Floors to see how she did it.

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With about a $100 and a few days of hard work and patience you too can revamp your worn out laminate floors!

Thanks so much for visiting today!

~ Lisa

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How To Paint An Old Laminate Floor, Yes It Can Be Done! — 12 Comments

  1. What a great job! It looks amazing. I’m so inspired that you decided to just go for it.
    I found you today from the Linky Party at French Country Cottage, where I’m #269. I hope you stop by my blog and leave a comment, too!
    ~ Megin of VMG206

  2. Who Knew! Looks awesome . I clean for a lady that has a six bedroom student rental, this would certainly be an option. Thank -you so much for sharing.

  3. Hello, I just bought a house with a laminate staircase and the color clashes with our furniture.. To give our house an updated and modern look, we wanted to paint the stairway black/white. Very few websites say to go ahead and paint the laminate.. Actually this is one of the very few sites. Can you give us an update? Are you still happy with your results 4 months later? Do you still recommend this? Thanks so much!! :)

    • Hi Evelyn,
      Overall I am still happy with the outcome. I do have a few knicks here and there caused by dropping food cans, etc. It’s really easy to touch up though. A kitchen is a tricky room to have a painted floor. We really abuse ours.Eventually we will probably rip up the floor and replace it with something else but for now painting it has been a good quick fix.

  4. Thanks for sharing your challenges with this! I just moved into a house with PINK laminate floors in the basement. I’m hesitant to try painting from a durability standpoint, but if your kitchen can handle it, I’m more convinced paint is the way to go! Great post, pinning it now!

  5. I found your website via Pinterest. What a great job on the floor! I have laminate and I HATE HATE HATE it. You really hit the nail on the head when you wrote that whoever said laminate doesn’t scratch must have been sniffing paint thinner! EVERYTHING scratches laminate. And God forbid you should knock a can off the counter onto it–hello, divot! Did you have any of these in your floor? Did you fill them with anything before painting? What did you use? Over the years I’ve tried several of the color-matching “fillers” made just for this purpose but they don’t last. I really think my floor is beyond help. But I’m glad yours was a success :-)

    • Hi Janet,
      Kitchen are not a great place for laminate and yes we had a lot of dings in it from falling cans, scraping chairs and dogs running across it umpteen times a day. I didn’t fill the dings with anything, I just painted right over them. It has held up quite well considering the abuse we put on our floor. Eventually we will replace the floor but for now the paint has been a good choice and if another falling soup can chips the paint it can be touched up with leftover paint.

  6. Thanks. I was afraid to do so since I read (too) you can’t do it. You rock. Now, I am definately tackling it this summer :-) Thanks for the awesome blog entry. How about the top coat/floor finish? Which roller did you use for that? Does it have to be a special roller?

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