Can you paint or stain laminate flooring?

June 8th 2021

Many laminate floorings have long guarantees, but what if you want a new look for your home? If your floor needs a makeover, painting, staining or whitewashing laminate flooring is an option.

Why would you paint a laminate floor?

With proper care and maintenance, laminate flooring can last for many years, but an old floor will still build up some wear and tear over time. Or, the colour may no longer work with a room’s decor.

“You can now buy laminate in every colour, including really unusual ones! We have stained or whitewashed shades, and even distressed styles. You can probably find the look you want.”

If you’re not ready to buy and install a new floor, it’s possible to paint over laminate flooring. However, you need to prepare your laminate flooring properly and use the right types of paint.

Personally, we don’t recommend painting over laminate flooring – painted laminate can look messy once it gets scratched, and the just-painted look doesn’t last very long. Plus, it’s hard to do properly. But if you’re going for a distressed, shabby chic look, painted laminate might work for you.

Here’s how to paint laminate flooring, plus how to stain it darker (less drastic) or whitewash it.

How to paint over laminate flooring

There’s some disagreement on the best ways to paint laminate, but most people agree that you should at least clean, sand and prime your laminate flooring before painting. You may want to degloss the laminate after sanding it, as this helps paint stick to the wood, but it’s optional.

What you will need

  • – Cleaning products – you MUST clean your floor before you paint it
  • – Sanding equipment – an orbital sander, with sandpaper for edges
  • – Deglosser – to take off the glossy, protective plastic layer of laminate
  • – Repair Caulk – for if your laminate has any holes or cracks to fill in
  • – Primer – a high-quality wood primer, to prepare it for painting
  • – Paint – choose floor or porch paint for wood, never wall paint

Painting laminate – step-by-step

1. and the entire surface of the laminate floor. You can use an orbital sander for the main part of the work, and a hand sander or sandpaper for tricky edges and corners of the room.

2. Thoroughly clean the floor of sanding dust, alongside other dirt and debris like pet hair.

3. Optionally, you can use a deglosser to help the paint bond to the wood. However, this adds a bit more time and cost to the job – and some DIY influencers think it’s fine to skip it!

4. Prepare your floor for painting using a primer. The most important step, as this helps the paint adhere properly to the sanded wood. You can also repair any cracks at this point.

5. After a couple of layers of primer, paint your floor with a suitable floor or porch paint.

Painting a laminate floor is not a permanent solution, and we stock a huge range of colourful styles with long guarantees. But if you want to give it a go, follow the steps above to paint your laminate.

But what if you want to stain your laminate flooring a darker or richer colour, or whitewash it paler?

Can I stain laminate flooring to make it darker?

Painting laminate flooring offers a completely different look, but you can also just stain your laminate flooring to give it a richer colour. Smoky shades can look great and add a vintage feel to rooms.

Staining laminate flooring follows most of the steps above – so cleaning and sanding first. However, you can actually buy specialised laminate flooring finishes instead of using paint, which will work like a wood stain. Laminate is not absorbent as wood, so using a normal wood stain will not work.

Using a finish to stain laminate flooring is less drastic than painting it, but the finish will need to be reapplied once the colour dulls. You also won’t get the look of scratched paint. Much more subtle.

Alternatively, why not look for a new laminate flooring with darker tones, like walnut laminate?

How do I whitewash laminate flooring?

Painting laminate flooring white is popular, as it works well with shabby chic, beach looks and Scandi-themed decor. An alternative to painting a laminate floor white, which can look shabby once it gets scratched and is hard to keep looking pristine, is to whitewash it for a bleached appearance.

To whitewash a laminate flooring, do the usual steps of cleaning and sanding, but mix your white paint with clear for a translucent effect. This can look good with medium to lighter wood shades.

Or, save yourself the trouble with a white or light laminate flooring style, it will last longer. Grey and neutral laminate flooring is also popular.

Keeping white laminate flooring clean is important, and unless you have the time to keep repainting your laminate flooring white, we’d recommend buying a good white laminate that’s easy to clean.

Final thoughts on painting laminate flooring

– Just because you can paint laminate flooring doesn’t necessarily mean that you should, it’s fiddly and time-consuming to do properly and is really only a short-term solution

– If you must, make sure to follow the steps we’ve mentioned – otherwise you might end up with scratches, peeling paint, or a bubbly texture (especially if you use wall paint)

– To keep the just-painted look, add felt pads to furniture and make the room a shoe and pet-free zone. Painted floors can also be quite slippery, so careful if you’re in a hurry

– Consider trying a specialised laminate flooring finish to stain your laminate floor a richer colour or warmer tone. It’s less drastic and can still change the look and feel of a room

Any more questions about laminate flooring? Ask one of our experts here

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