How to Paint Floors

3d beautiful bedroom interior render with painted white wooden floors

Are your floors in need of a facelift? Can't afford to have them refinished professionally? Have you thought about painting your floors? This budget-friendly technique can transform a worn-out looking floor into an awe-inspiring work of beauty.

Is your floor suitable to be painted?

What kind of floor are you painting? Hardwood floors can be painted if they are prepped correctly, while it is not recommended to paint laminate floors. Interior concrete floors will also accept paint, either oil-based or latex floor paint. Areas that collect a lot of water also shouldn't be painted, as the moisture will cause the paint to peel.

Prep the Floor

two people working to repair and restore a parquet period floor. The man is sanding the floor while the woman is cutting and repairing rotten floor boards

If your floors have been previously painted, whether hardwood or concrete and they are chipping, use a scraper to remove any flaking paint. Wear personal protective equipment such as goggles and a dust mask. Clean up any scrapped paint with a vacuum and a TSP solution. Rinse and let dry before moving onto the next step.

Hardwood Floors

To create a surface that will allow paint to adhere to, you'll first need to sand and clean the floors. Lightly scuff the floors with a 150 sandpaper, or rent a floor sander to accomplish this task quicker. Wipe away any and all sawdust using tack cloth and a vacuum. You want to make sure that all sawdust is off the floor, otherwise, your paint could peel.

Concrete Floors

To determine if there is a seal or a wax coating on your concrete floors pour a bead of water onto the floors. If the water beads up, then the concrete is sealed and will need to be etched before painting. If the water soaks into the floors, there isn't a seal, and they'll just need to be cleaned before painting. Paint should not be applied in areas that collect water. Follow all manufacturer's instructions for etching and cleaning a concrete floor.
Tip: If you don't have a steady hand, tape off the baseboards before starting to paint. When the floors are dry, remove the tape and touch up the baseboards as needed.

Choose a Paint Finish

Two floor paint, paint cans

Floor and porch paint usually comes in two different finishes, gloss and matte. You can also pick between oil-based and latex-based paint. Choose the finish that best fits your style. If the floors have been painted previously, avoid putting oil-based paint over a latex-based paint.

To Prime or Not to Prime?

Two different gallon size primers used before painting

Some floor and porch paints will require you to prime the floors before applying the paint. If your floors are dark and you want to make them lighter, priming the floor first will give you the best coverage and allow for fewer coats of paint. Using a primer will also help the floor paint stick to the floor. Some primers have odor-blocking and smoke blocking properties, so if you're fixing up a fixer-upper, this might be the way to go.

Paint the Surface

A person cleaning and squeezing water out of a paint roller after painting

Attach a 3/8" roller cover and roller to an extension pole. Using a 2 ½" angled brush, cut in the edges around the baseboards. Start painting in the furthest corner from the door and paint your way out of the room. Paint in one direction, moving quickly to maintain a wet edge and avoid excess pressure. Be sure not to overload your paint roller or brush as this can cause splatter when painting. Follow the manufacturer's drying times and, if needed, apply two coats. 

Tip: Do not place anything on the floor until it is completely cured.

Transforming your floors to fit your style doesn't have to break the band. This affordable technique allows you to take your home to the next level. All you need is a paintbrush, paint, and some helpful tips, and you'll be a painting pro in no time.

While do-it-yourself projects can be fun and fulfilling, there is always a potential for personal injury or property damage. We strongly suggest that any project beyond your abilities be left to licensed professionals such as electricians, plumbers, and carpenters. Any action you take upon the information on this website is strictly at your own risk, and we assume no responsibility or liability for the contents of this article.