HomePaintingCan You (And Should You) Paint Laminate Flooring?

Can You (And Should You) Paint Laminate Flooring?

Laminate flooring is an extremely durable, easy to install, and budget-friendly flooring solution, which is available in a wide variety of designs, colours, and finishes. Its long-lasting durability comes from a tough external resin coating, which makes it more scratch- and impact-resistant than any other hardwood flooring.

Laminate’s high durability means that its life expectancy varies from 10-20 years, depending on the product quality and how busy the room is. Since renovating or redecorating a home often involves changing up the floor to match a new decorating scheme or furniture, you have probably considered painting the laminate or replacing it.

While buying and laying a new floor is a costly option, painting it over can be much more budget-friendly and it significantly reduces waste. Additionally, painting over laminate flooring removes any smaller imperfections or scratches, which extends its lifespan by at least a couple more years.

This article explains how you can paint laminate flooring to breathe a new life into it and transform your living space.

Can You Paint Laminate Flooring?

Yes, laminate flooring can be painted, although some experts advise against it. The key is to prepare it first and follow a few rules to get the best and long-lasting results.

Since laminate flooring has a wear layer that protects the photographic layer beneath it, it is highly resistant to scratching and staining. This means that laminate needs priming before it can accept a paint job. Unless you prime it first, the paint won’t stick, and it will start to crack and peel off.

Other factors to consider are the type of paint you will use, how you will apply it, and how you should prepare the floor to achieve the best results.

Note: If your laminate flooring is heavily worn, with deep scratches or dents, it should be replaced.

What Happens If You Paint Laminate Flooring?

Painting laminate flooring without preparing it first will cause the paint to crack and eventually fall off. That means that frequent repainting jobs will be necessary to maintain a good look, which is something no one wants to do.

However, with the right equipment and a good quality paint, your laminate flooring paint job will be a one-time thing, and you will get the best and longest-lasting results possible.

How To Paint Laminate Flooring

Follow the simple steps outlined below to properly paint your laminate flooring:

1. Clean the Surface

Make sure that the floor is clean, free of dust, dirt, and any debris. A dirty floor could ruin the sanding process, so make sure to thoroughly clean it with a vacuum cleaner and mop before moving on.

2. Check for Damage

It is a good idea to check for any deep marks on the floor that need to be filled in or glossed over before painting. If the floor is very old or heavy furniture was placed on top of it, there could be visible dents that should be fixed. The easiest way to do this is to fill in the areas with caulking, but you don’t have to worry about making it look perfect, since paint will cover it anyway.

3. Sand Away the Gloss Layer

Use sandpaper or a sanding machine to remove the gloss layer from the laminate. The sandpaper’s grit can be anywhere between 150 and 220. The gloss layer is the plastic protective layer on the surface of the laminate. Since the gloss protects the texture of the flooring, don’t remove it entirely, only sand away the surface so that the primer can bind to the flooring.

Sanding is the most delicate part of painting laminate flooring, since you only have to remove the top layer. Sanding away too much can damage the soft layers beneath the protective one, so make sure not to do it too aggressively.

If you make a mistake and sand off too much, you can use caulking or other filler materials to repair the cracks and holes.

4. Apply Primer

Before painting, make sure to prime the laminate flooring in order for it to accept the paint job. Without priming, the paint won’t stick well to the surface. You can use a latex priming coat for laminate floors, but make sure that the primer dries before you start painting. Ideally, it should sit for one day until completely dry.

If you want to additionally smooth out the surface, you can apply another layer of primer. It can also seal any cracks that you missed in the previous step. An oil-based primer is also a good choice, as it will stick well to the sanded laminate surface.

5. Paint the Laminate

The final step is to paint the laminate flooring after the primer has dried. You can use a paint roller, paint sprayer, or a paint brush, depending on what you prefer.

Before you start painting, test it on a small area of the floor to make sure the results are what you want.

If you are using a paint roller, make sure to have a sizable paint tray if the floor surface is large.

When using a paint sprayer, make sure to protect any furniture, walls, etc. before you start.

Use a paint brush for detailed work around items that cannot be moved, such as kitchen cabinets.

When you finish the paint job, make sure that it has time to dry completely before you start using the room again. It usually takes about a day to dry, but make sure to check how the paint interacts with the primer you have used.

What Kind Of Paint Can You Use On Laminate Floors?

You can use several different types of paint for laminate flooring, but the best choice is something durable, like porch paint, latex paint, or polyurethane-based paint. Enamel paint is also a good option.

Avoid acrylic paint since it doesn’t stick well to laminate and wears off easily.

Manufacturers usually give advice on what kind of flooring the paint can be used on. Some types of paint come with a label that indicates they are suitable for laminate flooring.

Will Spray Paint Stick To Laminate?

Spray paint will stick to laminate flooring if the surface has been prepared with a primer beforehand, and if proper paint is used. Additionally, for the best results, make sure that it is completely clean, with no dust or debris left on the surface.

The trick for successfully spray painting a floor is to make sure that everything else is properly protected – since spraying reduces your accuracy, use a piece of cardboard or something similar to protect the surroundings. When spray painting, make sure to apply several light coats to avoid paint drips and runs, which are more common on glossy surfaces like laminate floors.

The best type of spray paint for laminate floors is latex spray paint, which is ideal for indoor use since it is quite durable, easy to apply, and gives off less odour compared to other types of paint.

Can I Stain Laminate Flooring To Make It Darker?

Laminate flooring can be stained to give it a rich, smoky shade. However, instead of using paint, you need to use a special laminate flooring finish which works as a wood stain. Since laminate isn’t as absorbent as wood, using a regular wood stain will not work.

Staining laminate flooring gives off a subtler look compared to painting it, but the finish must be reapplied once the colour goes dull.

How Do I Whitewash Laminate Flooring?

To whitewash laminate flooring, make sure to clean and sand it first, and then paint with a mixture of white and clear paint for a translucent effect.

Whitewashing laminate flooring is a great alternative for painting a laminate floor white, which is a bad option since it is difficult to maintain and easily gets scratched. 

While whitewashed laminate flooring can give off a beachy vibe, it is difficult to keep it clean and scratch-free, so you will probably have to repaint it after a while if you want it to retain the pristine look.

Can You Paint Laminate Flooring Without Sanding?

It is not recommended to paint laminate flooring without sanding it first because you would be painting directly onto the gloss layer of the laminate. 

The gloss layer prevents the paint from binding to the flooring, which means it will quickly fade and peel off, especially in busy rooms.

Can You Paint Directly Onto Laminate?

Painting directly onto laminate without sanding and priming it is not recommended because your effort would be wasted – the paint will soon fall off since it cannot bind to the gloss layer of the laminate.

Make sure to sand and prime the laminate before painting it to make sure the paint sticks and lasts for a long time. It is also a good idea to apply two coats of primer if this is the first time you are painting the laminate.

What Primer Will Stick To Laminate?

Applying primer before painting is one of the most important steps when painting laminate flooring. While almost any primer will work, there are a couple of things to consider:

  • The smell intensity. You will probably be working indoors, so it’s a good idea to choose a primer that has less odour.
  • If you want to whitewash laminate or distress your paint to see the wood underneath, you should use a clear primer.
  • If you need to get the job done as soon as possible, use a fast-drying primer. However, note that most fast-drying primers are white and give off a strong odour.

Here are some popular primer brands you can use:

  • BIN Shellac-based primer – a white primer with excellent adhesion that is also available in aerosol cans.
  • Zinsser cover stain primer – another white primer with excellent adhesion, especially for enamel paints.
  • Clear shellac – a clear primer, which is a great choice for whitewashing laminate.
  • STIX primer – a white bonding primer specifically made for slick surfaces such as laminate.

How Do You Get Paint To Stay On Laminate?

In order for the paint to stay on the laminate, you must first sand the laminate and apply a coat (or two, for better results) of primer. This is necessary because paint will not stick to the smooth, glossy finish of laminate.

After sanding, the top gloss layer of the laminate is removed, and the primer helps the paint stick properly.

How Do I Clean a Painted Laminate Floor?

When cleaning a painted laminate floor, make sure to follow a few simple steps to ensure you remove all the dirt and grime without damaging the paint:

1. Sweep or Vacuum to Remove Dirt and Debris.

Use a broom with soft bristles or a mop to remove dirt and debris from the floor.

2. Use a Mild Cleaning Product.

Mixa warm water and a mild detergent or cleaning product intended specifically for laminate flooring. Don’t use porous chemicals such as bleach, since they can damage the paint on the floor. Avoid any abrasive materials as well.

3. Remove Excess Water.

Dip a soft mop or microfiber cloth into the cleaning solution and make sure to remove any excess water before mopping the floor. Excessive moisture can damage the paint, so try not to soak the floor. Rinse the mop frequently to remove any dirt and grime it had picked up.

4. Rinse With Clean Water and Dry the Floor.

After cleaning the floor, rinse it thoroughly with clean water and dry with a cloth or mop and you’re all done.

Wrapping It Up 

As long as you follow some simple steps, you can easily paint your laminate floor and make it look fresh and new. Don’t forget to sand and prime, as this will ensure the paint sticks to the floor properly! 


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