how to paint laminate flooring

How to Paint Laminate Flooring in 8 Easy Steps (DIY Guide)

Whether your laminate flooring is freshly laid or has been there since you moved in, a coat of paint is a great, economical way to freshen up its appearance. 

However, painting laminate flooring may seem a little daunting if you’re new to home renovation. Luckily, the process is pretty easy once you know how.

Follow the instructions below and find out how to paint your laminate flooring like a pro.


Tools and Materials

Before you get started, ensure you have the below tools and materials to hand. 


Tools

  • Towel
  • Vacuum, dustpan and brush and mop 
  • Floor sander
  • Painters Tape
  • Paint brush, roller, or paint sprayer 
  • Painter’s tray 

Materials

  • Paint
  • All-purpose cleaner
  • Sealant (we recommend polyurethane)
  • Primer

It’s worth noting that the quality of the sealant and primer you choose will impact the overall quality of the finish. More often than not, you get what you pay for – so remember this when selecting your materials.


How to Paint Laminate Flooring: Step-by-Step Instructions


Step 1: Clean the Floor

You must thoroughly clean the floor before you begin. If the floor is dirty, this will impact the quality of your finish, leaving it lumpy and pockmarked. 

Use a dustpan and brush or vacuum the floor of dust and debris. Then use the mop and all-purpose cleaner to cleanse the floor before you begin to paint. 


Step 2: Sand the Floor

Now that your floor is clean, sand down your laminate floors. There are several different sander types, but I recommend you go for a random orbital sander

These multi-application sanders use a combination of oscillation and rotation in movement alongside speed and power to make light work of any sanding project. 

Use the sander to remove the top layer from the flooring. Once the top layer is off, expect the floor to look scuffed. 

Don’t be tempted to keep sanding down further than the top layer. If you do, this will damage the laminate flooring and cause all sorts of issues. You may even need to replace it altogether.

Alternatively, if you do not have a floor sander, you can use 150 to 180 grit sandpaper, but this will require more effort to complete. 


Step 3: Clean Floor Again

Repeat Step 1 to remove all the dust and debris caused by the sanding process. 

Important Note: The floor must be 100% dry before you move on to the next step. 


Step 4: Repair any Cracks and Holes

Once the floor has dried, fill in any cracks or small holes with the sealant, ensuring a smooth surface for paint application. Leave to dry before proceeding to the next step. 


Step 5: Protect Areas with Painters Tape

Before priming the floors, you’ll need to mask any areas you don’t want painting, such as walls and cupboards, with painter’s tape. Don’t be tempted to skip this step, as it will save you a lot of hassle in the long run.


Step 6: Prime the Floor 

Applying primer seals the floor, so the paint doesn’t soak into it, requiring extra coats. Primer also prevents bleed-through from blemishes and colouring in the laminate.

You can apply up to two layers of primer if you wish. The additional primer helps smooth the surface, seal any cracks and protects the floor from future damage.

Once you have applied the primer, leave it for a day to dry and set before painting. 

Pro Tip:

I recommend using an oil-based primer, which works particularly well with a sanded laminate floor. 


Step 7: Paint the Floor 

To paint over the dried primer, use a paint brush, roller, or sprayer

A paint roller is the easiest way to paint a laminate floor. However, a paint sprayer can speed things up if no items are in your way. 

Regarding the type of paint you use, I recommend a resilient paint product, such as porch paint or latex paint. Alternatively, chalk paint is an excellent option to match your floor with tiles. Avoid acrylic paint as it doesn’t stick well to laminate flooring and wears off quickly. 

When applying paint, start at the far end of the room to ensure no paint drips off the brush and causes lumps on the floor. As with primer, it’s best practice to apply two coats. Each coat is another layer of protection, but you can apply up to 4 coats if you wish.

Once you have finished painting, leave the area to dry. Keep the floor protected against stains or markings while it dries.

Typically, a floor takes a full day to dry out. I recommend checking before walking on it, as some primers and paints react together differently, which may affect drying times. 


Step 8: Apply the Sealant 

The next step is to apply a floor sealant such as polyurethane. This sealant gives the floor a nice finish, ensures durability and helps prevent water damage.

It’s important to note that different paints require different sealants. For example, chalk paint requires a polycrylic sealer, while porch paint requires a regular sealer.

Pro Tip: You can also use sealant for maintenance and future touch-ups.


Final Thoughts – How to Paint Laminate Flooring

If you carefully follow the steps above, you’ll have a beautiful smooth laminate floor which is also well protected and durable. 

For more information on laminate flooring, check out our guide to Whitewashing Laminate flooring.


FAQ

How do I achieve the best results when painting laminate flooring?

Invest in high-quality materials and carefully follow our instructions above to achieve beautiful results.

How do I clean a painted laminate floor?

A laminate floor is susceptible to water-based damage if too much water is applied when mopping. If you use water-resistant paint, this helps reduce potential damage, but it isn’t foolproof.

I recommend using a dry mop to remove dirt and debris from your floor. If there is a particularly stubborn stain, use soapy water and a cloth. 

Do not use harsh cleaning solutions, as this can damage the sealant and wear away the paint over time. You should also avoid steam cleaning, as this can penetrate beneath the paint layer to the wood underneath.

How much does it cost to paint laminate floors?

Below are the typical costs for the materials. Note: I’ve used 10 litres as an example so you can quickly scale up/down.

Primer – roughly £50 for 10 litres
Paint – around £30-£50 for 10 litres
Sealant – approx £200 for 10 litres
Paintbrush, roller, paint tray – between £20 and £40 
Sandpaper – £20
Orbital Sander – £25 a day rental

What is laminate flooring?

Laminate flooring is made of high-density fibreboard, with most laminate flooring being around 4 layers thick. 

The top layer is melamine that has been tightly compressed together and sealed. This construction protects the floor from scrapes, scuffs, dents, and general wear and tear. 

The second layer is the designer layer which gives the laminate floor its appearance. E.g. faux marble or faux wood, etc. 

The third layer is a moisture-resistant core board. This layer lies at the centre of the board and is made of highly durable, high-quality resin, along with natural wood fibres. 

The final layer is the balancing layer, stabilising and strengthening the floor to ensure it doesn’t bend or break underfoot.