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Painting 101

How to Paint Vinyl Flooring

Vinyl flooring can be painted, but there are a few important steps to ensure the paint goes on properly.

More in Painting

worn out floor gets bold new look
  • Time


  • Price Range

    $50 - $100

  • Difficulty



Step 1: Choose a Color and Stencil Pattern

If a vinyl floor is in relatively good shape -- without major gouges, tears or cracks -- painting may be a good option for dressing up a room. A drab, ordinary vinyl floor-covering can be transformed into one that is distinctive and eye-catching. Choose a color and consider adding a stenciled pattern.

Step 2: Sand the Vinyl Floor

  • Since vinyl flooring is naturally glossy, the gloss will need to be removed so a rough finish can be created that will allow the paint to adhere. There are several techniques that may be employed for this important step. A sanding block or sanding screen, such as the ones used in installing drywall, can be used to rough up the vinyl surface with 180-grit sandpaper.

  • Sand the entire surface to remove the gloss. To make the job less strenuous, consider using a sanding pole such as those used by drywall installers. This tool will allow for sanding the floor from a standing position, instead of on hands and knees. Sand the entire floor thoroughly.

    Tip: You may want to wash the floor before sanding using TSP (tri-sodium phosphate) solution to remove dirt and impurities from the cracks and textured surfaces.

Step 3: Degloss the Vinyl Floor

  • Sanding may not reach the gloss in the valleys or dimples in the vinyl surface. So after sanding, use a deglosser (available from paint stores). Rubbed on with a clean rag, the deglosser liquid will remove the gloss finish where sandpaper can't reach.

    Sanding and deglossing gives the floor "tooth" to ensure that the paint adheres effectively. After applying the deglosser, wait at least 10 minutes for the surface to dry before moving on to the painting process.

    deglosser liquid will remove gloss finish left

    Courtesy of Lucie Rowe

  • Step 4: Prime the Surface

    • To prepare the surface for painting, it's best to apply a coat of primer -- a preparatory layer that adheres to almost any surface. Brush on a thick coat of primer using a brush or roller. The objective is to cover the floor completely with a coat thick enough to mask any pattern or texture left in the vinyl, leaving a perfectly flat surface that's ready for painting.

    • Allow the primer to dry. Depending on how much texture is present in the original surface, you may want to sand the surface again before applying a second coat of primer.

    Step 5: Paint the Floor

  • Once the primer has completely dried, the floor is ready for the paint. Apply the paint of your choice using a roller for the easiest and most even application. Apply a thick coat to fill any remaining valleys or texture in the surface.

    Use a "porch and floor" paint, or similar product, to leave a durable finish that will withstand the traffic that the floor will surely receive. This is a tougher type of paint than a standard wall paint. Check with the paint specialist at your home center if you have questions about which paint to use.

  • Step 6: Add a Stencil Design

  • Once the painted surface has dried completely, a stenciled design may be added using a stencil pattern and paint brush. Stencil patterns and special stencil brushes are available from crafts centers.

  • Once you've laid out your pattern design, use a light coating of spray adhesive to secure the pattern temporarily to the floor. This will hold the stencil stationery as the stencil paint is applied -- using a stippling or "pouncing" action with the end of the brush -- and will prevent the paint from bleeding underneath the pattern sheet.

    Stenciling Tip: When applying stencil paint, first dip the brush in the paint, then offload excess paint onto a rag or paper towel before applying paint to the floor using the stencil pattern. This will ensure that the right amount of paint is being applied during the stencil process.

  • To protect the painted vinyl floor, apply two or three coats of polyurethane for a tough, durable finish.

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