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Can you paint your Laminate Floors or stain them?

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If your laminate floors are looking worn and tired you’re probably thinking it’s about time for new flooring. Most laminate floors have a manufacturer’s life expectancy for 10 years, however often they’ll look good longer than that. Whether your floors are 10 years old, more, or less, if you want them to look new without having to actually spend the money to buy new, you can try something different. You can paint or stain your laminate floors.

Is Painting Your Laminate Floors even an option?

Laminate floors can be painted. Whether or not you should, is really something only you can decide. To help you with your decision I have designed few questions for you to answer yourself before painting laminate floors:

  1. Do you enjoy home improvement projects?
  2. Are you a risk taker? It can go really really good or really bad.
  3. Do you have access to a sander? 
  4. Is your floor still under warranty or Are you ok with voiding the warranty?

If after going through that exercise you decide not to paint your laminate floors, check out my post, “How to Clean your Laminate floors?” for some tips to try to bring the shine back. For those of you ready to paint or stain your laminate floors, do read on.

Step by step instructions on how to Paint your Laminate Floors

I’ve put together a step by step instructions on how to Paint your Laminate floors with tips and tricks to help you have the best chance of success.

1. Gather the Goods

Make sure you have these things on hand before you start. You will need: 

  • Machine sander
  • Sandpaper
  • Wood primer
  • Floor paint or porch paint 
  • Painters tape 
  • Paint roller
  • Polyurethane sealant
  • Angled paint brush

2. Remove all Furniture

Clear the room of absolutely everything. You’re going to make a big mess before this is all said and done.

3. Start the Sander

The point of the sander is to remove the laminate’s wear layer. This top layer of your laminate will not hold the paint, you need to sand down to the wood material. Do this evenly and to the entire floor. There are a few different schools of thought about sanding and some argue that you should de-gloss instead of sanding down to the wood. If you choose not to sand through the plastic wear layer you will need a de-glosser.

4. Repair Time

Now is the time to fill any gouges, dents, or deep scratches on your floor. You can use a laminate floor repair kit such as this Mix2Match Floor Fix by CalFlor for wood and laminate floors.

5. Clean up

Be meticulous about cleaning up the sand and dust and any other particles or debris to the floor such as pet hair. Any dust particles remaining can leave a gritty look and feel to the floor when painted. More importantly, dust particles can compromise the bond that you want the paint to make with the floor for staying power.

6. Apply the Primer

Tape your edges and apply the primer to your floor. Quality is important here, don’t buy whatever cheap primer you first find. Let the primer fully dry before painting; at least one day. 

* If you choose to go the de-glosser route, you need to apply your de-glosser prior to applying the primer. *

7. Paint

This can be the fun step because you can really get creative with color and design if you want. Tape out a diamond or lattice pattern, or even wide colorful stripes. Use the angled paint brush for corners.

8. Apply the Sealant

After your coats of paint have completely dried, you will need to apply a sealant. A good polyurethane sealant will serve to protect the paint job from cracks and wear and tear from foot traffic and furniture. 

9. Move in Furniture

Once your floor is completely dry you can carefully move your furniture and rugs back into the space. Take special care not to drag furniture over the floor but to lift and set it into place instead.

Helpful Tips when Painting Your Laminate Floors

  • Buy a mechanical sander. You may be doing only a small room as a test, like your linen closet, but trust me. You need the sander, not only to make the work easier for you but because if you’re testing one small room to see if you like the outcome, you need to do it in exactly the same way you would do it in your great big living room.
  • Be meticulous about cleaning up that floor before you start painting. Dust and pet hair will get in the way of a good bond between floor and paint. 
  • Do not use wall paint. Wall paint may be cheaper or more varied in color options but it is not at all the same as floor or porch paint. You need to be very clear that you have the right type of paint to have the best chance of success. If you use wall paint, you are practically guaranteed to have peeling and rippling.
  • Don’t skip the primer. Using a quality coat of primer is important to set the conditions for paint to stick and have staying power. 
  • Consider if you want a matte finish or gloss finish when buying your paint

The Choice is Yours

There you have it, a guide to painting your laminate floors. I cannot guarantee that it will give you the outcome you desire. However, if you’ve really thought the project through and want to give it a try, the information I’ve provided you will give you the best chance at success.

Can You Wax or Polish Laminate Floors?

Unfortunately, you should never use wax or polish on your laminate floors. Laminate floors have an outer layer called the wear layer. It’s a plastic coating that gives a natural shine to the flooring. If you use wax or polish either one of those products can actually dull your flooring instead and can even cause damage.