Can You Paint Vinyl Floors? Ultimate Guide!

Vinyl flooring is a popular flooring choice for many households thanks to its affordability, durability, and water-resistant properties. However, vinyl can show scratches and scuffs over time or you may simply be bored of the color. Painting vinyl flooring allows you to dramatically transform the look without the cost of new floor installation. With the right prep work and paint products, you can renew your vinyl floor to look like new.

Paint Vinyl Floors


Can You Paint Vinyl Floors?

The good news is, yes vinyl floors can successfully be painted as long as the proper steps are taken to prepare and prime the surface. Vinyl flooring has a slick, non-porous surface that paint struggles to bond to. But using specialty bonding primers made for plastic surfaces allows the paint to properly adhere. The key is patience and allowing adequate drying time between coats.

When researching how to paint vinyl floors, you may come across warnings related to trapped moisture issues. Old sheet vinyl floors and vinyl tiles had a tendency to trap moisture underneath leading to possible paint failure. However, modern vinyl planks and luxury vinyl tiles are designed to prevent this issue. Just be sure your specific vinyl flooring allows for painting before proceeding.



1.Choosing Paint Colors for Vinyl Floors

An exciting aspect of painting vinyl floors is choosing a completely new color for the space. From bold brights, to muted neutrals, painted vinyl provides limitless options. Just be sure to stick with interior/exterior grade latex or acrylic paints. Oil-based formulas won’t adhere as well.

Some popular shade choices for vinyl floor paint projects include:

  • Neutral greys or tans
  • Classic white or black
  • Deep colors like navy, emerald, red
  • Bright accent colors like yellow, teal, purple

The color you choose impacts the prep work needed. Darker colors typically require an additional primer coat after the bonding primer for best coverage. White or very light colors necessitate grey-tinting the primer first so the floor doesn’t appear too stark white initially.

Sample paint cards from hardware stores allow you to view shades before committing. Always test potential colors on a vinyl flooring scrap first. This helps visualize the tone on the actual floor. Once painted, the new color makes the entire room pop!

Paint spc Flooring


2.Cleaning and Scuffing

Proper cleaning is crucial before painting vinyl floors. Grease, dirt, wax and other contaminants will prevent proper adhesion. Use a degreasing cleaner to remove all residue from the flooring. Acetone or ammonia are also effective at removing built-up grime on vinyl.

Once cleaned, very lightly scuff sand the entire floor. This allows the paint to grab onto the roughened surface much better. Use fine 150-220 grit sandpaper in a random orbital sander. You only need to expose the shine of the vinyl, so sand carefully. Sweep and wipe clean after scuffing.



Priming is the most vital step when painting vinyl floors. As mentioned, vinyl resists paint bonding without proper prep. Using a quality bonding primer specifically made for slick surfaces like vinyl or laminate is critical. Adhesion promoting primers contain substances to help the paint bites into the floor.

Some popular options are KILZ Adhesion High-Bonding Interior/Exterior Latex Primer, INSL-X Stix Acrylic Waterborne Bonding Primer, and Rust-Oleum Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Primer. Apply two thin coats of primer allowing proper drying time between coats. Read the manufacturer’s label since drying times vary. Proper priming is essential for the paint to properly bond.

Paint Vinyl Flooring


4.Testing Paint Adhesion

Before proceeding with painting the entire vinyl floor, always test the paint adhesion on a small section first. This ensures the primer has adequately prepared the surface to hold paint.

Choose a section of flooring out of the main walking areas. Apply your top coat paint in a 12 x 12 inch square consisting of two coats. Allow the test patch to fully cure for 5-7 days. Once cured, vigorously apply duct tape over the area and quickly rip it off. If the paint comes clean off with the tape, additional prep and primer is needed. But if the paint remains intact, you are ready to proceed.


5.Applying Paint

When selecting paint for vinyl floors, choose interior/exterior grade latex or acrylic formulas. Oil-based paints are not flexible enough causing potential chipping or peeling issues over time. Latex paint also dries faster allowing quicker recoats.

For painting techniques, use mini foam rollers and angled synthetic brush for cutting in edges and corners neatly. Thin coats work best to prevent drips, bubbles, or brush marks from forming. Two to three thin topcoats provide a smooth, even finish. Remember to stay within the recommended recoat window or you may need to lightly sand again if too much time passes between coats.

Paint Floors


6.Protecting Painted Vinyl Flooring

Once your vinyl floor paint is fully cured, protecting the finish will help it wear well for years. Clear water-based polyurethane is commonly used to seal and protect wood floors, making it an ideal choice for painted vinyl as well. Polyurethane provides a durable, protective barrier allowing the vibrant paint color to shine through.

Quick-dry polycrylics allow for faster recoating when applying multiple topcoats. Always follow manufacturer’s directions related to drying times and sanding techniques between coats. Using a foam brush helps avoid brush streaks applying polyurethane.

Applying two to three thin polyurethane coats creates a glass-smooth finish that protects the paint and provides extra traction. This prevents potential issues with painted vinyl floors being too slick. Properly applying a protective finish makes all the difference in paint durability.



7.Ongoing Maintenance

Maintaining vinyl floor paint involves gently sweeping regularly to remove gritty debris that can abrade the paint over time. Use only non-abrasive vinyl floor cleaners without harsh chemicals. Popular options are Bona Stone, Tile & Laminate Cleaner or ZEP Neutral Floor Cleaner.

For deeper cleaning, thoroughly sweep then use a microfiber mop barely dampened with vinyl cleaner. Avoid flooding the floor. The protective finish makes mopping easier allowing soils to collect in the mop head rather than clinging to the painted vinyl surface itself.


Tips for Successful Vinyl Floor Painting

  • Thoroughly clean floor first
  • Always use proper primer
  • Test paint adhesion before proceeding
  • Allow adequate drying time between coats
  • Use thin coats of primer and paint
  • Apply protective finish for added wearability
  • Gently mop with recommended vinyl cleaners


Painting worn; outdated vinyl floors allow you to revive the look affordably compared to replacement. With proper products and techniques, even high-traffic areas can take on bold, vibrant new color. Follow these steps for best results transforming your vinyl flooring.

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