Can You Paint Laminate Flooring?

a photo of a professional decorator getting ready to Paint Laminate Flooring

Can You Paint Laminate Flooring?

By Paul McGovern, Master Craftsman at PaintingHeroes.ie

If your laminate floors are looking worn and dated, you may be wondering – can I simply paint over the laminate to refresh the look? Painting laminate floors is possible with the right prep and paint, but also has some downsides.

In this article, I’ll discuss the pros and cons of painting laminate floors, proper steps to prepare the surface, tips for choosing durable paint, and recommendations for hiring a flooring pro. Read on to learn if painting your laminate is the right solution for revamping your flooring on a budget!

The Short Answer

You can paint over laminate flooring to change the colour or finish, but it requires careful prep and results are mixed. Due to laminate’s slick surface, painted floors can scratch, stain, and show wear much faster than new replacement flooring. Hiring a professional is highly recommended for the best and longest-lasting results.

Things to Consider Before Painting Laminate

Here are some important factors to keep in mind:

  • Paint adheres unevenly on laminate without proper prep. Scuffing the surface and using bonding primer is vital.
  • Painted laminate requires very gentle cleaning and care compared to new laminate or other flooring.
  • Painting around trim and corners cleanly is challenging. Hiring a painting pro is advised.
  • The painted finish will scratch, stain, and show wear much sooner than new laminate flooring.
  • Thoroughly painting under and around cabinets and fixtures is difficult.

Now let’s look at the step-by-step process if you do wish to tackle painting your laminate floors.

Varnishing laminate floors

How to Prepare Laminate Floors for Painting

The key to success is proper prep. Follow these steps:

  1. Clean the floors thoroughly. Use a degreaser and rinse several times to remove any wax, oils or residue.
  2. Lightly scuff the surface. Use 150 grit sandpaper to rough up the glossy laminate coating. This helps paint adhesion.
  3. Sweep and wipe away all dust. Tack cloth the floors to remove any remaining debris.
  4. Apply bonding primer. Use a quality bonding primer suited for slick surfaces like laminate and metal.
  5. Use painter’s tape around trim. Tape off all baseboards, thresholds, and door trims to prevent paint bleeding.
  6. Remove appliances/fixtures. Clear the area as much as possible to allow for painting edges and hard-to-reach spots.

Pro Tip: Test paint adhesion on a sample board first. Check how well it bonds and holds up to foot traffic.

Paul McGovern

How to Choose the Right Paint for Laminate

Paint selection plays a huge role in how your floors will turn out and wear over time:

  • 2-part epoxy paints provide the most durable finish on laminate but are tricky to apply.
  • 100% acrylic latex paints offer flexibility and decent durability for the cost.
  • Oil-based alkyds adhere well but can yellow over time.
  • Floor enamels are very durable but require a primer and are challenging to apply smoothly.

For DIYers, I recommend a 100% acrylic latex floor paint. Behr and Rustoleum make quality options specially formulated for high-traffic areas. An eggshell or satin sheen is ideal.

a photo of a professional decorator applying painter’s tape around baseboards of Laminate Flooring

Tips for Paint Application on Laminate

Apply at least two coats of acrylic floor paint using these tips:

  • Use a combination of nylon/polyester brush and short nap roller. This prevents brush marks.
  • Maintain wet edges and work in small sections to avoid lap marks as latex dries quickly.
  • Work methodically from one side of the room to the other. Near invisible corners by hand brushing.
  • Thin coats are better than thick coats which can puddle or drip. Recoat once fully dry.
  • Inspect final coats in daylight to ensure even coverage with no gaps or thin spots.

Be extremely cautious during the painting process – latex dries permanently and footprints, drips, brush marks etc. will remain. Patience and precision is required.

Dry Time and Curing

Drying time depends on temperature, humidity, and ventilation. On average, latex floor paint dries in 1-3 hours to the touch. Fully curing and hardening takes approximately 7 days. Avoid heavy foot traffic during this time.

Pros and Cons of Painting Laminate Floors

Before deciding to paint your laminate, weigh these pros and cons:

Pros:
  • Very inexpensive way to change colour/finish
  • Can match to new flooring or décor
  • Much simpler than removing and replacing floors
Cons:
  • Doesn’t restore worn, damaged laminate
  • Paint scratches and stains easily
  • Can appear uneven with brush/roller marks
  • Edges and trim are hard to paint neatly
  • Doesn’t add value like new replacement floors

In most cases, the cons outweigh the pros. While painting is cheaper upfront, it is a temporary fix that won’t match the quality or durability of new laminate flooring.

a photo of a professional decorator sanding Laminate Flooring

Hiring a Professional Laminate Floor Painter

Due to the intricacies of prepping and painting laminate floors evenly, I strongly advise hiring a professional floor painting contractor. Benefits include:

  • Proper equipment for sanding and applying paint
  • Expertise painting edges, trims, and hard to reach areas
  • Experience with floor prep and compatible paints
  • Smooth, drip-free application without lap marks
  • Ability to match new laminate colors perfectly

The cost is higher than DIY, but will give dramatically better results. Make sure to get quotes from contractors experienced specifically with painting laminate or wood flooring.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some common questions about painting laminate floors:

Can you use regular house paint?

No. Only use thick floor paints designed for high-traffic areas.

Does new laminate need primer first?

Yes, always apply a bonding primer so paint adheres evenly.

Can you paint just sections of laminate flooring?

It’s advised to paint the entire laminate floor to avoid variance in color.

How long does painted laminate last?

With proper prep and careful use, painted laminate may last 2-5 years before needing refresh.

Can painted laminate be walked on right away?

No. Allow at least 24-48 hours before light foot traffic and 7 days for full curing.

Conclusion

Painting over laminate floors is possible but often provides mixed results. Proper prep work is crucial, expect paint to wear faster than new flooring, and consider hiring a pro for the best outcome. Ultimately, new laminate or alternative flooring may be a better investment than attempting to paint old laminate.

I hope this provides a good overview of what’s involved with painting laminate floors. Please reach out with any other flooring or remodeling questions!

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