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Can You Paint Laminate Flooring? – Project Dos and Don’ts

Can you paint laminate flooring?

Laminate flooring is popular for many homeowners due to its durability, affordability, and aesthetic appeal. However, even the most well-maintained laminate floors can look worn or outdated over time. You might be surprised to learn that adding paint to your laminate flooring is a viable option for transforming the look of your space.

However, before you break out the brushes and rollers, it’s essential to understand the unique challenges and considerations. In just a moment, we’ll walk through the process of painting laminate flooring, including pre-painting considerations, best practices, and common mistakes to avoid. We’ll also discuss other recommended maintenance techniques and when to call a professional. 

About Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring is a synthetic product with several layers, including a protective wear layer, a decorative layer, a high-density fiberboard (HDF) core, and a backing layer. The wear layer resists scratches, stains, and fading, while the decorative layer mimics the appearance of natural materials like wood, stone, or tile.

Laminate is known for its durability, making it perfect for high-traffic areas in your home. It’s also resistant to fading, ensuring a long-lasting, beautiful appearance with proper maintenance. Another advantage is its versatility, with a wide range of colors, patterns, and textures available at a lower cost than natural materials.

However, it’s crucial to note that laminate flooring is not the same as hardwood or engineered wood flooring. While it can imitate their appearance, it lacks the same level of durability and longevity. Unlike hardwood, laminate flooring cannot be sanded or refinished, meaning that once it’s worn or damaged, replacement is often necessary.

You can paint laminate flooring, but should first be aware of its differences from hard wood floors.

Example of the Various Layers (Backing, Decorative, Protective) in Laminate Flooring

Pre-Painting Considerations

When it comes to painting this material, consider a few important factors. Taking the time to assess the condition, test the paint, and choose the right timing for your project can make all the difference in your outcome.

Assessing Your Laminate Flooring

The first step in any flooring renovation project is to evaluate the current state of your laminate. Look for signs of wear and tear, such as scratches, chips, or gaps between the planks. If your flooring is severely damaged or has extensive water damage, painting may not be the best solution, and you may need to consider replacement instead.

Paint Testing

Before painting your entire floor, test the paint on a small, inconspicuous area. Think under or behind furniture, or any other space that is typically out of view. This will allow you to see how the paint adheres to the laminate surface and whether it provides the desired coverage and color. It’s also an excellent opportunity to ensure the paint doesn’t peel or chip easily once it’s dry.

Project Timing

A laminate flooring paint project is time-consuming and requires proper ventilation and drying time. Choose a time when you can dedicate several days to the project without interruption. Consider factors such as humidity levels and room temperature, as these can affect the drying time and overall finish of your painted floors. It’s also essential to ensure that the room is well-ventilated to minimize the impact of paint fumes on your health and well-being.

Materials and Best Practices

The right materials and best practices will go a long way in achieving beautiful, long-lasting floors. Paying attention to these details helps ensure your floor transformation is a success.


  • Degreaser or all-purpose cleaner
  • Fine-grit sandpaper (120-grit or higher)
  • Vacuum and damp cloth
  • Bonding primer for glossy surfaces
  • Foam roller or high-quality paintbrush
  • Floor-specific paint (porch and floor paint or durable epoxy paint)
  • Clear, water-based polyurethane sealer

Surface Preparation

Begin by thoroughly cleaning your laminate flooring using a degreaser or all-purpose cleaner to remove dirt, grime, and residue. Allow the floor to dry completely before proceeding.

Next, lightly sand the laminate surface with fine-grit sandpaper to create a rougher texture for better paint adhesion. Sand in the direction of the wood grain and be careful not to damage the protective wear layer. Vacuum the floor and wipe it down with a damp cloth to remove dust particles.


Apply a bonding primer designed for glossy or difficult-to-paint surfaces using a foam roller or high-quality paintbrush. Cover the entire surface evenly and allow the primer to dry completely according to the manufacturer’s instructions before moving on to painting.

Painting Technique

Choose a floor-specific paint, such as a porch and floor paint or durable epoxy paint. You can still find these in your desired color and finish! Using a foam roller or high-quality paintbrush, apply thin, even coats. Start at the farthest corner of the room and work towards the exit. Allow each coat to dry completely before applying the next, and be prepared to apply two to three coats. This ensures full coverage and a smooth finish.

Sealing and Curing

Once your final coat of paint is dry, protect your newly painted floors by applying a clear, water-based polyurethane sealer with a foam roller or high-quality paintbrush. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for drying and curing times, which can vary depending on the product.

Allow your painted laminate floors to cure fully (typically 24-72 hours) before walking on them or replacing furniture. Ensure proper ventilation during the curing process to minimize fumes and help the paint and sealer dry more quickly.

Project Don’ts: Common Mistakes to Avoid

Several common missteps can lead to less-than-ideal results – being aware of these potential pitfalls and taking steps to avoid them can ensure that your floors look beautiful and last for years.

Skipping Surface Prep

One of the most common mistakes when painting laminate flooring is failing to prepare the surface. Skipping the cleaning, sanding, or priming steps can result in poor paint adhesion, uneven coverage, and a less durable finish.

Using an Improper Paint

Another mistake to avoid is using the wrong type of paint for your laminate flooring project. Regular wall paint or even some types of wood paint may not be durable enough to withstand the wear and tear of foot traffic, leading to chipping, peeling, or fading over time. Always choose a paint specifically designed for floors, such as a porch and floor paint or durable epoxy paint, to ensure a long-lasting, resilient finish.

Applying Too Much Paint

Applying too much paint in each coat can lead to an uneven finish, longer drying times, and a higher risk of chipping or peeling. Instead, focus on applying thin, even coats and allowing each coat to dry completely before applying the next. This may require more coats, but it will result in a smoother, more professional-looking finish.

Rushing the Drying and Curing

Rushing the drying and curing process can be tempting – naturally, you’re dying to see the final result. However, failing to allow your painted laminate floors to dry and cure fully can lead to a soft, easily damaged finish that may not endure regular wear and tear. Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for drying and curing times, and resist the urge to walk on or replace furniture too soon.

Neglecting Ventilation

Paint fumes can harm your health, especially in an enclosed space. Failing to ensure proper ventilation during the painting and curing process can lead to respiratory and other health concerns. Keep windows open, use fans to circulate air, and consider wearing a respirator mask for protection.

Laminate flooring, especially with paint on top, require regular gentle maintenance.

Recommended Maintenance for Painted Laminate Floors

Keep your laminate flooring and paint looking their best with regular maintenance. Cleaning with a soft-bristled broom, microfiber mop, or vacuum cleaner (using a soft brush attachment) will help maintain their appearance and prevent the buildup of dirt and grime.

For deep cleans, opt for a damp mop and a mild, floor-safe cleaning solution. Just be sure to avoid excessive water or harsh chemicals that could damage the paint and sealer.

Accidents are inevitable, but the key is to address stains and spills quickly to prevent them from setting in or damaging your floors. Blot up spills with a clean, absorbent cloth, and use a floor-safe cleaning solution for tougher stains. Protect your floors from wear and tear by using area rugs, floor mats, and felt pads under furniture legs. Always lift heavy furniture instead of dragging it to avoid scratches or scuffs.

Over time, your painted laminate floors may show wear or damage. Carefully fill in minor gaps or scratches with a small brush and leftover paint. If your floors are a bit worse for wear or you’re ready for a color change, you can repaint them following the same process.

When to Call a Professional

Firstly, a professional can help you decide whether painting is an option for especially damaged floors, or if replacement is necessary.

Also, if you’re dealing with an unusual room layout or intricate design elements, painting can get a bit tricky. A flooring specialist can help navigate these challenges and ensure a flawless finish. Similarly, painting laminate floors requires patience and attention to detail. Hiring a professional can help you achieve your desired results efficiently without sacrificing quality.

Finally, it’s best to leave the project to a professional with the proper equipment and expertise if you have respiratory issues or are sensitive to paint fumes.


Adding a new coat of paint to laminate flooring is a great, more affordable way to transform your decor without committing to a full renovation. Follow these dos and don’ts, and you’ll get a great-looking, long-lasting finish that will make your home feel new.

Remember to take prep seriously – check your floors, try out the paint, and pick the best materials for the work. However, if things get tricky, it’s okay to ask for help from professionals. To schedule an in-depth inspection of your home and floors before taking up the project, call Ace Preferred Inspections in Charleston, SC, and surrounding areas.