Laminate flooring was all the rage 10-20 years ago, I know that my parent’s house is full of the stuff. But as with all trends, tastes change and now many people are thinking of replacing their laminate flooring. But what if there was a simpler solution, what if rather than having to replace the entire floor you could simply paint it? This would be a real game-changer for lots of people currently stuck with a laminate floor they no longer love. But is it possible? After all, laminate flooring has a plastic top layer, a top layer that just doesn’t seem like paint would stick to all that well. I guess there is only one way to know for sure, paint some laminate flooring!

If you are in a rush and don’t want to read the full article then check out the TL;DR below for the quick answer.

Can you paint laminate flooring?

Yes. With the correct paint and more importantly the correct prep work it is definitely possible to paint laminate. You can end up with a long-lasting finish that resists scuffing and wear, allowing you to transform the look of your laminate flooring.

My Laminate Floor Painting Test

So how did I come to the conclusion above? I tested it. I grabbed a laminate board and some specialist floor paint and did a little testing.

The Laminate Flooring Paint Test Setup
The Laminate Flooring Paint Test Setup

I have split the board into three different sections as you can see. From left to right the following painting methods will be used. I will paint straight onto the left-hand section with zero prep work done. The middle section will be primed with a high-quality primer, Zinsser BIN and then finally the right-hand section will be sanded with high grit (120) sandpaper before being painted.

The idea here is to test lots of different prep methods to find out what works best. I have included the no prep to see if you actually need to do any prep work. After all, if we can get away without any prep then we will!

Sanding

Let’s get started with the sanded section. For this, I used MIRKA P120 grit paper. The idea here is just to rough up the surface not actually remove anything. So that is why I went with a high grit paper. I don’t want to use anything too rough which will actually damage the laminate flooring.

The Sandpaper I will Use
The Sandpaper I will Use

If we scuff it up just a little then in theory we will be giving the paint a much rougher surface to stick to, which should mean the paint doesn’t chip or rub off. Go gently here though, we don’t want big deep gouges in the laminate as these will show up through the finished paint.

Priming

One other option you have when prepping laminate for paint is priming. Specialist primer paints are designed to stick really well to all different kinds of surfaces. This then allows you to apply any paint on top of them.

One of the best primers about is Zinsser BIN. This is a shellac-based primer that works on a whole heap of different surfaces, so that is the primer I have chosen for this test.

The sanded and primed surfaces
The sanded and primed surfaces

The Floor Paint

So this is the paint I will be using to paint the laminate flooring. Rust-oleum chalky finish floor paint. This is a durable flat matt finish ideal for wood, concrete and previously painted floorings. I hope this last bit is important and this helps it stick to either the primer or laminate itself.

Rustoleum Chalky Floor Paint
Rustoleum Chalky Floor Paint

The paint applied really easily, this paint is thick and covers brilliantly. I would recommend it based on its ease of application alone, but let’s see how it holds up.

All three painted
All three painted

And here is the result once dried. One thing to note is that you can still see the brush strokes in my finished paint. I would recommend using a roller when doing the floor so this doesn’t happen to you. What would be useful is a roller on a telescopic pole.

The Paint Dried
The Paint Dried

You could then paint the floor from a standing position, making this much easier for you.

Scratch Test

So let’s start putting this finish through its paces and seeing how well it holds up. This finish has been allowed to fully dry and cure for over four full days.

To begin with, I will run a piece of rough-cut timber vigorously across the surface of the paint.

This will test to see if anything will chip or scrape off the surface.

The Wood For The Scratch Test
The Wood For The Scratch Test

The Results

So let’s look at the results of this test. Two of the samples held up really well and it’s no surprise that they are the two samples that had prep work done to them.

Both the sanded sample and the primed sample had zero scratching or chipping whereas the sample that was painted straight to laminate definitely had some nasty scuffs.

The Results From The Sanded Only Laminate
The Results From The Sanded Only Laminate
Results From The Primed Sample
Results From The Primed Sample
Results From The No Prep Sample
Results From The No Prep Sample

Wear Test

So now we have tested how scuff/scratch resistant this finish is I want to test how wear-resistant it is. After all, if you are going to use this on your flooring then it will need to hold up to a lot of wear and tear.

To test this I moved the sample to wear I always stand when at my workbench. It will get plenty of use here and we will see how it holds up. Check back soon for the update.

Author

Wood by name, wood by nature. I am a fully qualified, time-served, award-winning joiner with an NVQ Level 3 in Carpentry and Joinery as well as an HNC in Construction. Beyond my joinery qualifications, I have also earned a degree in building surveying. I believe these qualifications make me perfectly positioned to provide expert advice on many different areas of DIY as well as share all of the tips I have picked up in over a decade working on building sites!

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