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

Hi Everyone,

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.

Painting A Scratched Laminate Floor

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 doing some research and came up with a plan to paint my laminate flooring. 

How To Paint A Laminate Floor

I ran to my local Home Improvement and purchased special primer paint that would adhere to the laminate. 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!

I purchased Valspar Bonding Primer and Valspar Latex Porch and Floor Paint tinted to a rich brown.

Floor paint and primer for painting a laminate floor


On the first day of the project I moved everything out of the rooms and prepped the floor for painting the floor, then started with a coat of primer.

How To Paint Laminate Floors

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.

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.

Painting Laminate Flooring


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 floor paint.

Painting Laminate Floors

After I was finished with the floor paint tinted to a delicious chocolate brown my floor looked like this….

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!!!!

The Magic Of Sealing Your Newly Painted Floor

Varathane Floor Finish

Sealing the floor is is the most important step to protect all your hard work. Varathane Diamond Floor Finish.

I read online that a lot of people had this issue with floor paint and that once they applied the sealer the tackiness disappeared. The topcoat is a key element for creating a durable painted floor that can hold up well to traffic.
After I applied the first coat of the special sealer and let it dry I was relieved to find that the tackiness was indeed gone. It was very easy to work with and dried quickly. This made putting a few coats on a breeze.

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…….

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.

DIY Painting A Laminate Floor

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.

Painting Laminate Floors

It’s been months now and everything still looks great which is wonderful considering what a high traffic area my kitchen is. 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! If you do get a couple of nicks in the paint it is very easy to touch up.

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

Want To Tackle This Project Yourself?

You can get complete printable instructions and supply list for painting your own laminate floor here.

Thanks so much for visiting today!

~ Lisa

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48 Responses

  1. ~ Megin of VMG206

    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. aleda fraser

    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. Evelyn

    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!! 🙂

    • Lisa Hogan

      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. Jen

    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. Janet

    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 🙂

    • Lisa Hogan

      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.

    • Sandy

      I absolutely hate my laminate floors I spent a fortune on the installation which I was told was great for not only commercial but residential use. I used plain water to keep them clean but that was not doing it then I purchased the Bona floor cleaning system again without any luck I have this hideous hi shine dark walnut wood look floor throughout my first level and actually have torn my rotator cuff several times attempting to keep it clean. I do not have the budget to replace them however painting them might be a great alternative. I’m just frightened to see if it doesn’t come out the way I want it then I’m really up the creek LOL

  6. vivian

    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?

    • Lisa Hogan

      There is a flat applicator they recommend but I didn’t like it. I ended up using a roller. Just read the label. Each roller should tell you what it is best for.

  7. Esther Darling

    Thanks so much for this post! I just did this in our kids bathroom with your instructions and I am loving how it turned out!

    • Lisa Hogan

      Hi Esther,
      Thanks so much for visiting my blog. I would love to see pics of your completed bathroom floor and post them on my site if you would like to be featured!

  8. Diane

    I’m so glad I found your blog. My husband came in last night and asked me if I thought we could paint the laminate floor in our bedroom. I love watching the DIY shows but am so afraid to try anything. After reading your blog I feel confident that he and I can do this! I am looking forward to reading more from you and getting more inspiration to follow thru with some of the “projects” I’ve collected to do that are stored in my garage! Believe me, he’d love it, too, so he can get his garage back!!! I’ll let you know how it works for us.

  9. Missi SaidItAll

    Would give anything to see a pic. I have a whole house of laminate. All in all it’s in fair shape, I am just sick of taking care of it. I am getting older and I hate pets, I need to go back to sweeping and mopping if I can. This stuff is horrible to take care of. Throw rugs just won’t cut it with the dogs

  10. Holly

    Hey there! I was hoping to see how your floors are holding up 2 years later? Thank you!

    • Lisa Hogan

      HI Holly. They have held up really well despite the abuse we’ve put it through.Unfortunately our washing machine recently sprung a leak and the water seeped under the laminate flooring. We’ve had to rip it all up and I am waiting to put something new down.

  11. Laura

    Seeing you posted this a year ago, I would love to know how the painted floors have held up. We are about to do the same to some terribly ugly floors we have. We, too, have so many other home projects, I would like to hold off buying all-new flooring, for now. I also want to know that if we paint our kitchen and family floors (where we spend all our time) that they will look decent, at least for awhile.

    Thank you!

    • Lisa Hogan

      Hi Laura. They held up very well considering the abuse we put it through.Occasionally I would get a chip in the paint from a can that hit the floor or a chair but it was easy to touch it up with leftover paint. 🙂

  12. Kim

    Hello Isaac. I would LOVE to see how your flooring turned out. Do you have photos you can send? I am thinking about doing the exact same thing. Thanks!

  13. Stella Dubach

    All my fears are gone. After I paint my countertops the floor in my powder room will be next. Thanks so much.

  14. Lou

    I have ugly blonde laminate in the kitchen and would like that floor to poor rustic so I’m wondering if it could be darkened with a stain/ varnish, I don’t want it to be a solid color but for it to appear to have a grain, I wonder if it would dry, and of course how it would wear, any ideas! Lou

    • Lisa Hogan

      Hi Lou. You may want to check with your local home center’s paint department about possibly adding tint to a floor varnish. I would start by lightly sanding your laminate flooring to give the varnish something to grab onto. Let me know how it goes. 🙂

  15. louise gonshaw

    Hi We had reddish brown laminate flooring put down in our kitchen two years ago and i absolutely hate it and should have gone for a white floor, my kitchen has gloss black and gloss white units with black white goods…..and i feel it is all too dark.

    Do you think i could paint the floor to give it a gloss white finish


    • Lisa Hogan

      Hi Louise,
      Sure you could go with white. I would suggest using the high gloss sealer over the paint and use a few coats.

  16. Laurie

    Hi! A few years ago, my daughter and I peeled the sticker-top of our laminate flooring off. All of it. It is chocolate brown now also, but with 2 coats of polyurethane wearing off it looks beat up. Any suggestions???

    • Lisa Hogan

      Hi Laurie,
      You could try giving it a light sanding and adding some new coats of poly. There are some products on the market that claim they can rejuvenate a floor and cover up the scratches but the two I tried failed to live up to their promises. It just gave the floor a new shine, just like using Mop N Glo but more expensive!

  17. lindsey

    cant enough of paint always wantin to paint sumthing. my kitchen and dinning room have laminate rite throught i orderd new lino samples and was going to use the laminate as a underlay but samples came and as i slid the peices under the door it got stuck so either take the door of (fire security door with metal slates through it) or rip the laminate up which is a no no si paintin it is defo on my mind. Painted my stairs and admittinly they are great . Thanks lindsey

  18. connie burg

    Do you still see the lines in the laminate flooring or is the paint filling in those lines? I can’t stand my laminate flooring and want to darken it but I don’t want it to look like a plain brown floor

    • Lisa Hogan

      Hi Connie,
      Yes you can still see the lines in the flooring after painting it.Thanks for reading my blog!

  19. Nickel

    Hi there, you didn’t have to lightly sand the laminate before the primer?Just wondering when the paint was on, didn’t it swell the boards?
    Wait for your reply before I start….
    Thank you

  20. pauline may

    I have read comment on painting a laminate floor: I am going to have a go at mine! Thanks for all the advise! Xxx

    • Lisa Hogan

      Good Luck with your floor. PLease send me pics when you have completed your project. Thanks so much for reading my blog. 🙂

  21. Lauren

    What was the name if the color you used? I have been looking for a good reddish-brown color and I can’t quite find the right one, but I love the color you used!

  22. Melanie

    Hi there! You sanded lightly I see, but can you tell me if you did it by hand or did you have a sander? Then, what did you use to apply the primer, paint and topcoat? Did you roll all three and just use a brush around the cut-in areas?

    Thank you!

    • Lisa Hogan

      Hi Melanie,
      I sanded the floor with a homemade sander. I simply put sandpaper on the bottom of my mister clean mop which is like a swiffer mop. I did use a roller to apply all three coats and only a brush for the edges. Good Luck wit your floor. 🙂

  23. John

    Am truly inspired. I hope to get the products in my country Kenya . my laminate floor currently looks like leopard skin…. Spots all over .

  24. David

    Notebook opened. Taking notes. Thanks for the valuable post. I wish more people would talk about this subject as in depth as you.

  25. Stacey

    I’m going to try this. Thanks for posting. Naturally, all the contractors & flooring “experts” say that laminate cannot be painted…I have a hideous dark, glossy laminate installed by previous owner…my oriental rugs a will cover most of the floor and all of the high traffic area, so I feel this is the most economical and wisest choice for me! DO RUGS POSE A PROBLEM? Thanks, Stacey

    • Lisa

      Hi Stacey,
      Rugs should not pose any sort of problem.Good luck with your project!

  26. Mira

    Thank you for posting this. Couple years ago we moved and the new house hallway with living room, dining area and the attached office laminate floor is really lifeless. The laminate is dull every single footstep is visible not to mention the dogs paws. I literally need to clean it every single day to give it some sort of clean clear look otherwise it just looks dusty and dull! Would you know if there are any professionals who do this kind of service please? The area is quite large and requires moving large furniture and I am not in position to lift push or move anything but I’ve had it with this floor it needs to be done asap!!!!

    • Lisa

      Hi Mira,
      I would recommend contacting a few local painters and get some estimates. Show them the instructions on how to paint the floor and see if anyone is up for the challenge. There may be a few that will try to say you cannot paint laminate flooring. Good Luck on your project. Send me pics when it if complete. 🙂

  27. Sandi monyoya

    Hi Lisa,
    Looking at your second pic, it looks like you did something to your laminate seams before you painted them. Did you do anything to the seams before you painted them. Also, would it work if I painted a base color and then used a stencil for a painted pattern?

    • Lisa

      Hi Sandi,
      I didn’t do anything to the seams just painted right over them. I am sure you could do a stencil or painted pattern on your own floor. Good Luck!

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