How to Paint Buffalo Check Vinyl Flooring

Give your master bath a makeover with a decorative paint treatment that disguises—get this—sheet vinyl flooring.

Finished bathroom with Buffalo check vinyl floor

Give your old vinyl bathroom flooring an update with a painted buffalo check pattern. Buy three paint colors (one light, one medium, and one dark) from the same paint card, and use white as a background. We used the classic black, gray, and white color scheme here, but we also like dreamy shades of blue.

See how to decorate with buffalo plaid.

What You Need

  • TSP (trisodium phosphate)
  • Painters tape for delicate surfaces
  • Paint: white, light, medium, dark
  • Satin-finish polyurethane sealer
  • Rubber gloves
  • Sponge
  • 1 1/2- or 2-inch paintbrush for each color and the sealer
  • Small foam roller for each color and the sealer
  • Tape measure
  • Straightedge
  • Pencil

Step 1: Prep and Prime Floor

Length of floor masked with painter's tape

While wearing rubber gloves, clean your floor with TSP, hot water, and a sponge; let dry. Mask off baseboards and fixtures with painters tape. Using a brush and foam roller, apply three coats of white paint to floor, allowing each coat to dry. Mark stripes the length of the room with painters tape, using a tape measure, straightedge, and pencil, as needed. Measure to make sure the stripes are the same width, as are the spaces between the stripes.

Learn more about how to paint vinyl flooring.

Step 2: Paint First Color

Paint light color within painter's tape

Paint between the tape using two coats of the light color, allowing each coat to dry. This buffalo check is grayscale, so the lightest shade of gray was the first color. Remove tape.

Step 3: Paint Second Color

Painter's tape width of room

Mark stripes the width of the room with painters tape, making sure stripes are the same width and the same distance apart. Paint the medium paint color between the tape. Let dry, but keep tape in place for next step.

Step 4: Tape Off Squares

Taped squares over white

Apply pieces of tape to create squares of the medium color where it appears on top of the white. Keep the tape lines as straight as possible for a crisp pattern.

Step 5: Paint Darkest Color

Paint squares dark color

Paint the squares within the tape two coats of the dark color, allowing each coat to dry. Remove all tape.

Step 6: Seal the Floor

Double sink buffalo check vinyl flooring

Apply three coats of polyurethane sealer to floor, following manufacturer's instructions for proper drying time. Sealing the floor will keep the paint in tact longer and will prevent chipping or scratching.

Updated by
Becky Grunwald,

Becky Grunwald is an interior designer and the creator of The Other Side of Neutral. She is a content creator and home design expert whose work has been featured in Better Homes & Gardens, among other publications. Becky also showcases her new house build on Green Forest Farm. Along with sharing her tips on her site, her work has also been featured in magazines such as Better Homes & Gardens and This Old House.

Adam Albright,

Adam Albright is an experienced photographer who shoots homes and food for magazines such as Better Homes & Gardens. He has more than 10 years of experience.

Lindsay Berger

Lindsay Berger is a prop and wardrobe stylist, producer, and more. She owns her own company, JL Productions, where she focuses on styling. She has covered numerous home stories for Better Homes & Gardens, from home tours to DIY how-tos. Lindsay is also the set designer and art director for As Seen on M.E., an online secondhand clothing retailer.

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