Laminate is a great option for flooring due to its durability, resistance to scratching, easy installation and affordability. Moreover, technology has come a long way and modern laminate floors can resemble natural timber closely.
If the flooring has been in place for a number of years though, general wear and tear can leave it looking dull and scuffed. However, with a bit of time and careful preparation, it is possible to rejuvenate those laminate floors to have them look fresh and bring that shine back.
A DIY restoration of laminate flooring can achieve great results once you undertake a good cleaning, repair, preparation and priming of the surface before starting. Painting over an unprepared surface will only result in a messy finish.
Can You Paint Laminate Flooring?
Yes. A good quality latex paint is recommended for painting laminate surfaces for its durability and smooth finish. A good polyurethane-based paint offers exceptional durability that will hold up even under the toughest conditions. You can purchase this type of paint in most hardware stores or online and they come in a range of colours that will look similar to floor-stain from cherry to maple and much more. Eggshell or SemiGloss paints are less durable but can also give a nice finish.
Chalk paint specially designed for flooring is also an option but bear in mind whichever paint you choose will need to be hard-wearing and resilient to deal with foot traffic, furniture, pets and the like. Laminate is not porous so you will need a paint that has good adhesive properties.
Can You Stain Laminate Flooring?
Traditional wood stains will not work on laminate floors. Laminate flooring is non-porous and non-absorbent unlike natural timber floors so you should not use a general wood stain. Instead, you can purchase a purpose-designed laminate flooring finish to stain your floor with a richer colour or warmer tone.
Staining your laminate flooring involves much the same steps as painting them. The cleaning, sanding and priming steps are just as important for staining as painting. The effect of staining is generally more subtle than painting.
Examples of Painted Laminate Floors
Step-by-Step Guide to Painting Laminate Flooring
Step 1: Clean Well
This is an essential first step to remove any dirt, dust, hairs or other residue from the laminate surface. Skipping this step will cause instant regret when your paint refuses to adhere to dirty sections of the surface. Vacuum or sweep the entire floor carefully, paying close attention to corners and edges. Once thoroughly vacuumed the floors should be mopped well with a good all purpose cleaner to ensure the laminate floor surface is free of debris and residue.
Step 2: Sanding
The next step is sanding back the surface of the laminate and this job is best carried out with an orbital sander and sandpaper with 220 grit. It can be achieved by hand using a sanding block but this will be time-consuming especially over a large surface area. Apply light pressure and sand in a circular motion to remove imperfections and to create a slightly abraded surface which will allow the paint to adhere.
Step 3: Repair
This is a great opportunity to deal with any imperfections, flaws, cracks or deep scratches on the surface of your laminate flooring. You can buy special laminate floor patching material or sealants and apply them to deep cracks and chips evenly with a putty knife. Allow to dry for 24 hours and sand back carefully to get a smooth finish on your repairs.
Step 4: Clean Again
After repairs and sanding are complete it’s essential to vacuum and clean the surface carefully again to remove any dust before moving on to the next step of priming. Once mopping is completed you should allow the flooring to dry thoroughly. This can usually be achieved by leaving it to dry overnight.
Step 4: Prime
This step should not be skipped as a good quality primer will both protect the under layers of the laminate and allow for better adhesion of the paint. Before beginning use painters tape to protect any edges or surfaces that you don’t wish to let the primer get in contact with. Oil-based primers are popular and generally recommended but water-based primers work well and dry faster without the unpleasant smell.
A regular latex primer can be used. You will need to allow at least a day or two for the primer coat to dry thoroughly. You can choose to then apply a second coat of primer for a really smooth finish and to really seal any flaws or cracks remaining on the surface. If you don’t have the time required for drying a second coat of primer one coat will be sufficient.
Step 5: Paint
The final step of any DIY project is always the most exciting and rewarding. Depending on the size of the floor you are renovating you may choose to apply the final coat of paint with a roller, a paintbrush or with a sprayer. You may want to apply two or more coats of paint to your flooring for a perfect finish, make sure to leave adequate drying time between application of coats.
Step 6: Apply Sealant
This is an optional but recommended step to ensure your newly painted flooring is protected from further damage. Applying a good quality sealant like polyurethane will give you a longer lasting finish on your floors and keep them fresh and shining.
In conclusion, while there is a little work, some time and planning involved in painting laminate flooring it is a good option and a much more affordable one than replacing your entire flooring when it begins to look a little worn out.
It can also give you the opportunity to personalise the decor of your home especially if you choose to go with an entirely new colour as a finish. After all this careful renovation of your laminate flooring be sure to affix furniture pads to the bottom of chair legs and tables and other furnishings to prevent your new surface from scratches and dents.