How to Paint Linoleum Floors or Vinyl Flooring

Disguise dated vinyl flooring with these tricks from the pros.

colorful kitchen linoleum flooring
Photo: Stephen Karlisch
Project Overview
  • Working Time: 5 hours
  • Total Time: 2 days
  • Skill Level: Intermediate

Ordinarily, painting linoleum floors or vinyl flooring isn't recommended. The surfaces don't accept paint well and are likely to be dirty, stained, or waxed, further inhibiting paint bonding. Plus, painting floors won't hide holes or dents. If at all possible, tear up old flooring and replace it. But maybe you absolutely have to have a quick flooring fix for a single event and aren't worried about long-term durability. Or you need a quick makeover until you're able to work new flooring into your budget. In that case, you can dramatically change a room's look by painting vinyl. Learn how to get the best results with our step-by-step instructions for painting vinyl flooring.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • 1 120- to 220-grit sandpaper
  • 1 Sanding pole
  • 1 Clean cloth
  • 1 Paint roller

Materials

  • 1 Paint
  • 1 Liquid deglosser
  • 1 Painters tape
  • 1 Primer

Instructions

  1. Prep Floor

    push pole sander across vinyl flooring
    Doug Hetherington

    Before painting vinyl in sound condition, test the paint on an inconspicuous spot and let it dry completely to make sure it will look okay when complete. If you're happy with the color, sand the vinyl with 220-grit sandpaper to dull the shine.

    Editor's Tip: Consider using a sanding pole to avoid sanding on your hands and knees. A sanding pole tool looks like a floor duster, but it has sandpaper on the end of the pole and is easy to use. Apply a good amount of pressure to buff your linoleum floors until smooth.

  2. Apply Deglosser

    applying deglosser to floor
    Doug Hetherington

    Once your linoleum floor is sanded, wipe it clean. Use a paint roller with an extra-long adjustable handle to apply a liquid deglosser to the floor's surface. This layer will improve bonding with the paint. As you degloss linoleum flooring, begin at a corner or wall opposite the entrance to the room and work your way back. This way, you won't end up in a corner with no way out. Once you've finished deglossing the floors, let them dry according to the manufacturer's recommendation.

  3. Prime and Paint Vinyl Floor

    paint vinyl flooring with roller
    Doug Hetherington

    Before painting vinyl flooring, prep the room. If you're planning to paint the trim, line the walls with painters tape. First, prime vinyl flooring with one layer of primer. Next, use the extended roller brush that you used to apply the deglosser to apply primer, using the same technique.

    Once the primer is dry, brush on one or two coats of your paint. You might find it easier to use a hand brush for painting the edges of the room for better control). Allow time in-between coats to dry. Once you're finished priming and painting linoleum floors, carefully remove the painters tape from the trim.

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