Should you paint wood floors? What to consider

  • While you can paint laminate floors, it may not be the best choice for a home.
  • Laminate flooring is a type of personal home renovation that takes time and preparation.
  • Paint may be a good option if your floors are too damaged to sand or stain.
  • Visit Insider’s Home & Kitchen reference library for more stories.

Adding a pop of color can help give a room a captivating touch. Scroll through any TikTok or Instagram feed, and you’ll likely find dozens of walls and floors with pleasing aesthetics. Painting wood is generally difficult, but painting wood floors presents an even greater challenge (despite what some influencers might think).

And while it can be done, Mallory Mitch, Angi’s home expert, says there are quite a few factors to consider before you put on your first coat.

“Before you start a project like this, ask yourself: Can my inspiration for my lifestyle be fulfilled?” Micetech says. “Because you’ve seen something on TikTok or Instagram that looks really nice in a still image, it might not work better in your life.”

before you start

man drawing in the corner

Floors in high-traffic areas will erode more quickly.

Peter Kidd / Getty Images

Before you head to the hardware store and stock up on reels, take some time to think about whether this project is right for you and your home.

How long will it take?

Flooring isn’t quick on the weekend. When you factor in the time it takes to thoroughly clean and prep your space, the palette, as well as the amount of time to dry each coat of paint (Micetich recommends at least three to five coats and each should dry 12 to 24 hours), can It extends over a few days. Think about whether you have that time available and also if you can take the space out of the commission for a long time.

How much foot traffic is in the room?

The type of room in which the laminate flooring is located will greatly affect the longevity and durability of the painted floors. If there is a lot of foot traffic, such as a hallway or playroom, or if it is damp, such as a bathroom or laundry room, you should not paint the floors. Moisture and humidity will cause the paint to peel off, while walking on painted floors can cause chipping or discoloration, especially if you’re painting the floors a light color, such as white.

How long will you stay in your home?

“This is a very customized and customized solution,” says Micetich. And while the paint isn’t the most durable on hardwood floors, it’s also hard to get rid of once it’s painted. “It’s not something that can be easily undone,” Micetich says. So, if you don’t plan on staying in your home for a long time or if you’re a renter, Micetich says painting your laminate flooring is probably not the home improvement option for you.

When laminate flooring is a good solution

  • If your floors are damaged: If you have particularly damaged floors that prevent you from adequately sanding the area, staining probably isn’t the right option for you. “Over years and years of [sanding]”The wood becomes thinner,” says Micetich. “So paint can be a good option where you may not have the ability to do the required amount of sanding, preparing and removing the staining process.” Adam Farano, owner of Wood Vitalize in New York, also says the painting can help mask any water damage or stains.
  • If you want a solid color for your floors: According to Varano, people often paint their floors a solid color that doesn’t show off the wood grain. This then helps make the color of the floor appear uniform and consistent. “They are worried that there is too much [color] “If you choose a natural stain, some woods are naturally darker than others, and the stain still shows that. But if you’re painting, it makes it more universal,” Varano says.

Frequently Asked Questions About Laminate Flooring

Close-up of a red wooden hand

Sanding before you start will help the paint stick more evenly.

chrisanabung detravivat / Getty Images

If you decide that you’re willing to put in the time, dedication, and commitment needed to paint your wood floors, there are a few things to keep in mind as you go along with your project.

Will I need to clean the floors?

Some floors may have a custom finish to help protect against scratches, scuffs, spills, and water damage. If your floors have wax or peeling, which helps make wood floors more durable, Varano says you’ll need to at least work a light sand to remove it before you start painting. Micetich and Varano recommend renting a mechanical sander (along with a few different grit papers of the sander) to get the job done faster and more efficiently.

Once you are done, vacuum the dust and clean the area thoroughly before painting. Varano recommends using a professional grade, stocking hardwood floor cleaner with a chestnut pad that also helps strip floors and remove any dirt, grease, and film on the floor.

What materials should I use?

In general, you’ll want a large paint roller and cutting brush to get any edges or corners of the flooring, a primer, plenty of paint in the color you want, finishing, and an anti-slip topcoat.

When it comes to primer, which will help fill in any particularly rough areas of the floor before you start painting, Varano says you should tint it with your chosen paint color (which a paint store can easily do).

Varano typically recommends water-based paint, which has fewer chemicals than oil paint and is the most standard paint for interior projects.

Layering anti-slip polyurethane as a finish will also help ensure safety and extend life.

How many coats will I need?

The final amount of coats you apply will depend on the starting color of the flooring and the color of the paint you choose – the darker the wood, the more paint you will need, especially if you are using a lighter color paint. Micetich says to use at least three to five coats.

What is long term maintenance?

No matter how many coats of paint you apply, what finish you use, or if you add an anti-slip coating, painted floors will still pick up a fair amount of wear over time and you’ll start noticing imperfections. Micetich says you should retouch painted hardwood floors at least once a year and possibly more if the paint chips are too easy.

Informed takeaway

Painting hardwood floors is a very personal DIY project that may seem simple to implement but actually requires extensive preparation and study. Before you begin, be sure to calculate how long you put the room out of commission to see the project through. Once you get to the painting stage, consider factors such as floor sanding, materials needed, and the number of coats of paint required.

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