Can You Paint Laminate Flooring? (You Sure Can – Here’s How)

Laminate consistently tops the list as the most popular flooring material for kitchens, living rooms, and other high-traffic areas in the home. Durable and inexpensive, laminate flooring gives homeowners the look of real wood or tile for far less money—and less maintenance.  

However, over time laminate can grow scuffed and dingy. Rather than replace it, many people opt to paint their laminate flooring. In this guide, learn how to paint your laminate floors correctly, the pros and cons of doing so, and common mistakes to avoid.  

Some experts recommend against painting laminate, reasoning that it doesn’t bond as well as other surfaces. However, when done properly, painting old laminate can cheaply refresh your floors and provide a new protective layer, keeping them in great shape for many more years.  

Laminate, when installed correctly, will last up to 25 years with normal traffic and use—sometimes even longer than that! During that time, it's almost guaranteed to sustain scratches and stains or become outdated in its design. 

This is why many homeowners choose to paint it: to smooth out imperfections and wear or give their space a new color scheme.  

Can You Paint Laminate Flooring?

What Is Laminate Flooring Composed Of? 

  • A Protective Overlay 
    Also called the “wear layer,” this top portion of the laminate sustains traffic and wear of everyday use. It’s clear to let the design of the next layer show through, and is composed of aluminum oxide, which resists fading, scuffs, scratches, and stains. 
  • A Design Layer 
    This is where the wood grain pattern or other design elements come into play. It’s actually a photograph with high resolution, protected by the clear wear layer. Of course, painting laminate flooring completely covers this design, so it’s not always the best option if you really love the look of your floor.  
  • Moisture-Resistant Core Board 
    This layer has a high density to absorb impact and resist moisture absorption, which can cause warping or buckling in your floors. When you paint laminate flooring, this layer is unaffected—in fact, painting creates an additional, fresh seal that can help make this core layer last even longer.  
  • Balancing Layer 
    The balance or “back” layer is the bottom portion of your laminate floor. Although it isn’t visible (much like the core board), it provides an important structural purpose: balancing your floor so that it sits evenly. It also protects against moisture absorption and damage. 
  • A damaged back layer results in uneven or sagging laminate flooring, so painting would not be advised in that scenario. You might not need an entirely new floor, however: replacing individual sections is also possible. 

Pros & Cons Of Painting Laminate Floors  

  • It’s Inexpensive  
    Painting laminate flooring requires very little in the way of money and equipment. Sanders, rollers, brushes, paint, and topcoat formulas come with a much lower price tag than brand-new laminate, which can cost well over $1,000 for a single room.  
  • You Can Customize Your Floor  
    Paint colors, stenciling, and visually interesting details like flecks or gloss can all be achieved through floor paint. With standard laminate, you’re limited to what’s available from manufacturers (although many offer unique designs and a wide range of colors).
  • It Adds To The Floor’s Lifespan  
    Painting laminate flooring refreshes its look so that you can hold off replacing it for a while. It also adds a new protective layer or two to withstand damage and scratches, which is especially helpful if the old gloss has seen better days.  
  • It Takes Some Work
    Actually, it takes a lot of work because you can't simply paint over laminate flooring as-is. Due to that protective top layer, paint won't adhere to a standard laminate floor without proper prep work. You'll have to sand, prime, and paint, then add a new protective layer.  
  • You Lose The Laminate’s Design
    Unless you stencil on a wood grain or tile pattern in your new paint job, your laminate flooring will indeed look painted: a solid color, barring any variations or design elements you intentionally put in.  
  • It’s Not Always Durable—And It’s Permanent. 
    Painting laminate flooring has to be done correctly to adhere and hold up well over time. Failing to sand and prep your laminate will result in peeling or worn paint within months of application. You may also have to seal the paint, and let it cure for maximum durability. 
  • Additionally, painting laminate floors is permanent: apart from resending and repainting, there’s nothing you can do to change its look once you’re finished—the original design is gone for good.  
Can You Paint Over Laminate Floors

Preparing Your Laminate Floor For Painting: Sanding & Priming 

  • 1
    Gather your materials 
    You’ll need cleaning supplies, a sander, rollers and brushes, and your floor primer. 
  • 2
    Clean the floor 
    Vacuum or sweep up debris, then clean the laminate with a mop or rag. Water and a mild cleanser will work fine. This is also a good opportunity to take all the furniture out of the room. 
  • 3
    Sand the laminate 
    This removes the glossiness of the laminate. Note that this is not the same as the protective overlay above the design layer: you don’t have to sand that away unless it’s scratched and has to be leveled. Wipe up all residue and dust. You may also want to apply a de-glosser when this is done, in case you missed any before. 
  • 4
    Use painter’s tape 
    Use painters tape and protective sheeting to cover any trim work, thresholds, and other low areas that won’t be painted. 
  • 5
    Paint on your primer 
    You may want to do two coats, spaced about 24 hours apart. Make sure the primer is suited for laminate flooring and that it's compatible with your paint type

How To Paint Laminate Flooring: Easy Step-By-Step Guide 

1. Prep, Tape, And Prime

If you haven’t already done so, take time to prepare your laminate flooring before you paint. 

2. Apply Your First Coat

You can do this with a roller or speed the process along dramatically by using a paint sprayer. Whatever you use, make sure it gets the paint on evenly. A small brush might be helpful to get into corners or other tough spots. 

3. Apply A Second Coat

Wait 12 to 24 hours for the first to dry completely, then paint on another layer. If your laminate’s original design still shows through after the second coat has dried, you might need a third. 

4. Seal Your Floors

This isn’t always necessary, but many experts recommend painting a final layer on your laminate flooring: a polyurethane topcoat to protect the paint from wear and tear. 

5. Let It Dry

Avoid walking on the floor until the final layer is dry, about a day or so. If you sealed the floor, don’t put furniture back into the room for several days to a month, per the sealant’s curing time instructions. 

Can You Stain Wood Laminate Floors

What To Look For In A Laminate Flooring Paint?

When you decide to paint your laminate flooring, keep in mind that not all paints are created equally. You’ll want a paint that’s extremely strong, meant for floor traffic, and high-quality.  

Finish 

There's a world of difference between matte and high-gloss paint—and a range of options in between the two finishes. Before you paint, decide what kind of finish would suit your space best and which will hold up to your daily use and traffic.  

Matte, which provides a soft and shine-free look, isn’t as durable or easy to clean as glossier options.  High-gloss, on the other hand, delivers a shiny surface that's durable and easy to clean but might be too much for certain decor schemes.  

Of course, you can also choose an option between matte and high-gloss to get the best of both finishes.  

Color 

As with any paint—whether it's for walls, floors, or other projects—color is an essential factor to consider. Besides your room's decor, think about what you'll be doing in that space.

Heavy-traffic areas, like mudrooms or garages, might need dark or textured paint to hide stains and dirt. On the other hand, a high-gloss white can be easy to clean and brighten up dark spaces. 

Durability 

Lastly (though perhaps most importantly), you’ll want a durable paint that can hold up to everyday use, assuming you use the space frequently. Choose a floor paint formulation that says it’s suitable for laminate, and try to invest a reasonable amount.

Getting what you pay for is often true when selecting paint. While higher quality paints do cost more, they’re usually more than worth the difference.  

Latex floor paint is a great standard option since it's strong and long-lasting. Others choose oil-based primers because once cured, they’re very strong. Chalk paint will also stick to laminate floors well, if you prep the surface properly beforehand.  

How To Paint Laminate Flooring

Common Mistakes When Painting A Laminate Floor – What To Avoid! 

  • Not Vacuuming And Cleaning The Floor   
    If your floor has grime, pet hair, dust, and other debris on it, those can dry into your paint and result in messy finishes, poor adhesion, and a host of other problems.  
  • Not Sanding The Wear Layer   
    Make sure you’ve sanded the glossiness off your laminate completely. Failing to do so will keep the paint from sticking and cause streaks, peels, and chips later.  
  • Using Wall Paint On Your Laminate Floor   
    Most wall paint is formulated to be strong…but not nearly as strong as floor paint. As much contact as a wall sees daily, your floors see a hundred times more. Invest in the right formula to make your hard work last as long as possible.  
  • Not Priming The Wood   
    True, primer adds a day or two of dry time, and nobody likes the extra work—but this preps your floor so that the topcoats have something to bond to. It also helps seal any minor scratches or nicks, so the final result will look smoother.  

Does Hardwood Have Layers?  

Hardwood flooring also has layers, but the amount depends on what kind you install. Engineered hardwood, made from medium- or high-density fiberboard and real hardwood veneer, can range from three to twelve layers glued and pressed together under extreme pressure or heat.

Like laminate, these multiple layers serve to absorb impacts and resist moisture, and the veneer helps give floors durability and shine.  

Real hardwood floors are made from solid timber, however. Other than a protective topcoat, they have only that one layer.  

The drawback of hardwood is that it’s more expensive and can scratch more easily than laminate flooring. That said, it’s also easier to fix: you simply take up the damaged boards and replace them. While you can replace individual sections of laminate sometimes, you often have to take it all up and replace entire floors when they grow damaged. 

Both types of flooring can be painted if the aesthetic damage grows to be an eyesore, or if you’re looking to update a room’s look without spending money on brand-new flooring.  

If you have both hardwood and laminate flooring but only want to paint the latter, it might be wise to learn how to remove paint from laminate and hardwood floors in the event of a spill or accidental tracking.  

Painting Laminate Flooring FAQs

Can you use spray paint on laminate? 

Short answer, yes: most spray paint formulations will bond to laminate. Longer answer: spray paint is better on laminate furniture and other surfaces, not necessarily floors. The formula isn’t meant for high-traffic contact.  


What is the best way to clean your newly painted laminated flooring? 

A mild cleanser or simply water can clean painted laminate floors quite well in most cases. For stubborn stains or grime, you might need to add some detergent or a bit of vinegar. Just be sure to use it sparingly, and always dilute it first. 


Can laminate flooring be varnished? 

Yes, although most find polyurethane sealers to work better and peel less. Generally speaking, however, they do the same thing: adding a layer of protection to your laminate.  


Does vinegar ruin laminate floors? 

Vinegar can be used sparingly in cleaning solutions if it’s diluted (about 2 cups water for every ounce of vinegar), but be sure to wipe it up quickly. If used undiluted or allowed to sit too long, vinegar will harm laminate and paint.   

Conclusion

Laminate is a popular flooring option due to its strength, versatility, and affordability—but when it grows discolored or outdated, replacing it might not be within everyone's budget.

Painting laminate flooring can extend a floor's lifetime and easily refresh a room, provided homeowners take their time to get the process just right.