While laminate flooring is one of the most resilient flooring options you can get, it doesn’t last forever. If your laminate floor is starting to show signs of wear and tear, you have two options: either to tear it off from the floor and replace it with new laminates, or you can paint over the scuffs and scratches on the surface. If you’re trying to save money on installations or prefer to DIY your own floor, then painting laminate is the best option for you.
But how exactly do you paint laminate flooring? There are five steps that you need to follow: clean, sand, repair, prime, and paint. With a fair amount of patience and the right tools, you can achieve a total DIY makeover of your own laminate floor into whatever you want it to be!
Applying floor paint to laminate flooring isn’t as simple as spray painting your color of choice all over it - though that’s certainly an option. But if you want to get the best results out of the DIY work that you’ll be doing to paint over your laminate floor, you’ll need to follow these steps carefully to ensure that you get it right the first time.
The first thing you need to do is to clean the surface of the floor. If your laminate flooring is quite old and you don’t put a carpet over it, there will be a lot of dust, dirt, and debris that may be trapped on the surface layer. The last thing that you need is these substances messing up the finish or getting in the way while you’re sanding, so it’s essential that you at least give the area a thorough once-over with a vacuum cleaner and a mop before you start.
One thing you can do to make the rest of the steps easier at this stage is to try and see if there are any deep marks or scuffs that you need to fill in or gloss over before applying the paint. This can be a particular issue if your laminate flooring is old and you’ve placed heavy furniture on it since it can leave a visible depression that you need to fix before moving to the next step. You can fill in these areas with caulking - no need to worry about how it looks since the paint will cover it in time.
Using 180 or 150 grit sandpaper (or a sanding machine like an orbital sander), remove the gloss from the laminate. The gloss layer is the topmost layer that protects the texture of the laminate flooring below - in most cases, this is the protective layer of plastic. You don’t want to remove the plastic entirely, but make sure that the sandpaper at least takes away the gloss from the surface layer. Applying paint while the glossy layer is still there will prevent any paint from binding to anything, which means it’ll scrape off or scuff off your floor in time.
Sanding is one of the most delicate parts of painting a laminate floor. You should always check if you’re only taking away the top part of the laminate layer because if you sand too aggressively you risk damaging the softer materials below the gloss layer. Just make sure that the floor paint has enough material to bind to, and you should be fine to move on to the next step.
If this is your first time trying to paint a laminate floor, then you might make a few mistakes and accidentally sand off too much of the layers. Since the goal of the sanding step is to smooth out the surface of the laminate floor to be as even as possible for the paint, you should make sure that there aren’t any cuts or grooves where the paint would be uneven.
You can use caulking and other filler material to repair any cracks and holes, but the crucial thing here is to get rid of all the sanding dust that’s accumulated in the past step. Be careful to leave the surface completely smooth, especially if you've removed a lot of the laminate surface.
A laminated floor needs priming before it's ready to accept a paint job, otherwise, the dried paint won't stick well. You can use your usual latex priming coat for a laminated floor, though keep in mind that you need to make sure that the primer dries before you start with the paint job. Once you've applied your primer, leave it for a day to dry before starting with the paint.
Like a vinyl floor, a laminated floor can also accommodate two layers of primer before the painting begins. Not only do additional primer layers help smooth out the surface of your floor, but it's also a great way to seal any more cracks that you may have missed while caulking or repairing the floor earlier. We recommend using an oil-based primer since it sticks well to the smooth surface that a sanded laminate floor has.
Finally, apply your paint over the dried primer. There are several ways you can do this, each with its distinct advantages and disadvantages:
As for the kind of paint you should choose, we recommend that you pick a resilient paint product like porch paint, though latex paint is also an excellent alternative. If you want to match your laminate wood floor with floor tile or nearby vinyl plank, you can also choose to use chalk paint for better contrast. Since the wood grain of a hardwood floor or other types of wood flooring blend very well with most paints, you can even duplicate their appearance by making your paint job look like painted wood floors. As much as possible, avoid acrylic paint as it can fail to stick to the laminate surface and wears off easily.
Always perform these steps on a small area of your laminate floor to ensure that you get the results that you want. After you paint your laminate floor, make sure to leave it ample time to dry and protect it against any stain or marks while it dries. Painted wood floors usually need about a day to dry, though you should check how your paint interacts with the primer that you used for a better estimate of when the room is safe to use again.
If you want to make sure that your laminate surface has an excellent floor finish, we recommend using a sealant like polyurethane to prevent water damage. This can help extend the longevity of your painted wood floors since the coating can help minimize the effects of foot traffic in the area. If you're not using a carpet to protect your laminate wood floor, using a sealant is the best way to go.
Keep in mind that your sealant will depend on the type of floor paint that you use. For example, chalk paint will require a polycrylic sealer since it's not as durable as latex paint, while porch paint will probably be fine with regular sealant. Sealant can also be used for maintenance since it can absorb plenty of scuffs and scratches on its own – if your floor experiences a visible mark, sometimes just reapplying the layer of sealant is enough to fix it.
Even if your dried paint has water-resistant properties, laminate is still a wood floor and is susceptible to water damage if you use too much water while mopping. We recommend using a dry mop to make sure that you get any stain or debris away from the painted layer. If you're dealing with a more stubborn stain, you can also use soapy water. Don’t use any harsh cleaning solutions as they can wear away at the sealant and the paint with enough time, and absolutely avoid steam cleaning as it can penetrate beneath the paint layer to the wood underneath.
Water damage and warping will be the biggest threats to your new paint laminate floor since they can seep into any cracks and holes that you may have left while sanding and painting. If you want to extend the lifespan and appearance of your paint job, getting a special cleaner or using area rugs occasionally can limit the amount of wear and tear that your paint goes through.
Painting a laminate floor requires a little work, but it’s a cheaper alternative to outright replacing your entire laminate floor with vinyl flooring or more laminate wood. It’s a great DIY project for homeowners that want to bring a little personal touch to their flooring and can be an excellent way to maintain old laminate flooring with a personal touch.
Zothex has extensive experience in providing different flooring options to Sacramento residents. From hardwood flooring to vinyl flooring, we have all the options that you might require to make your flooring match your laminate countertop or any other paint job in your home.
Call us now at (916) 925 - 1958 to learn more about our products and services.