How to Whitewash Laminate Flooring? (5 DIY Steps)

Whitewashing a laminate floor works to brighten the appearance of the laminate planks and give you that rustic look. But how do you whitewash a laminate floor?

You can whitewash a laminate floor by applying a mixture of masonry lime, table salt, and warm water on the laminate floor. Then seal the mixture using a clean and waterproof sealant like water-based latex varnish.

You can also achieve a whitewash appearance on your laminate floor by applying 2 coats of off-white chalk or latex paint on the laminate planks. When dry, the latex or chalk paint will reveal a rustic appearance similar to when you use regular whitewash. You should ensure that the laminate planks are clean, dry, and sanded before whitewashing.

This post reveals more about whitewashing a laminate floor including the pros and cons of doing so. So, let’s dive in.

Can You Whitewash Laminate Flooring?

You can whitewash laminate flooring. This is because laminate planks have a more natural than synthetic makeup making the laminate planks have similar qualities to hardwood floors. Since you can whitewash hardwood floors, you can whitewash laminate flooring too.

Whitewashing is usually done on outdoor floors like concrete and stone to give a beach-like and rustic appearance on the outdoor floor. Over time, homeowners have opted for that rustic look on indoor floors too especially indoor floating floors like laminate. Some manufacturers even make already-whitewashed laminate planks that just have to be installed on the subfloor.

So, what’s the difference between painting and whitewashing? Let’s find out.

Painting vs Whitewash For Laminate Flooring

Painting vs Whitewash For Laminate Flooring

People often confuse whitewash with paint and this is because both products offer a similar off-white appearance. However, whitewashing and painting a laminate floor are two very different options for changing the appearance of laminate flooring.

Here is a table that identifies the major differences between whitewashing and painting for laminate flooring:

 WhitewashingPainting
The makeupMasonry lime and table saltResins, solvents, and pigments
The colorOff-white or bleached appearancePlain white (also come in other colors)
WaterproofingPoorGood
The lookRustic or vintage lookCan be flat or glossy
Toxicity levelNon-toxicCan be toxic based on the chemical formula

Whitewashing is different from painting in terms of application and appearance. When you whitewash a laminate floor, it’s like you bleached the floor.

The laminate planks after being whitewashed will appear old and jaded. However, when you paint a laminate floor even when you use the whitewash color, the laminate floor will appear coated and not faded. This is because the paint will have a level of resins and sometimes gloss in it that will make the laminate planks appear different.

Asides from the look, whitewashing is also different in terms of application and makeup. The whitewash is made from masonry lime while the paint is made from a combination of resins, pigments, and solvents. When whitewash is applied, you have to seal it with water-based latex varnish but you don’t have to seal the paint.

Should You Whitewash Laminate Flooring? (Pros/Cons)

Next, let’s check out the pros and cons of whitewashing a laminate floor.

Pros

Here are the advantages you’ll enjoy from whitewashing a laminate floor:

  1. Whitewash helps to achieve a rustic appearance on laminate flooring
  2. Whitewashing can help to brighten dark laminate planks
  3. Whitewash coating can protect the laminate planks from dents and scratches. Especially, if the whitewash coat was sealed with latex varnish
  4. Whitewash can match or complement the look of your flooring
  5. Whitewashing a laminate floor is cheap
  6. Whitewash is eco-friendly since the whitewash contains no chemicals or toxins.
  7. Whitewashing old laminate floors helps to hide stains and imperfections in the planks

Cons

Here are some disadvantages to consider before whitewashing a laminate floor:

  1. Going back to the previous laminate floor appearance is usually difficult after whitewashing
  2. Whitewashing laminate planks don’t make the planks 100% waterproof
  3. The off-white whitewash appearance can get boring after a while
  4. Whitewashing isn’t ideal for large areas as the process will be time-consuming and tiring.

How To Whitewash a Laminate Floor?

Whitewashing a laminate floor isn’t a tough task but it can quickly turn difficult and produce poor results if you don’t know the proper steps to take.

Luckily, this post reveals all you need to know about whitewashing a laminate floor in 5 simple steps. But before we move on to the steps, we’ll need a few tools and supplies:

  • Dish soap or detergent
  • Masking tape
  • A bucket of water
  • A mop
  • Rags
  • A primer paint
  • Off-white latex paint or whitewash mixture
  • Water-based latex varnish
  • Floor or orbital sander
  • Sandpaper
  • A pair of gloves

Here is a 5-step guide to whitewashing a laminate floor:

1. Prep The Laminate Floor

Prep The Laminate Floor

The first step is to prep the laminate floor. To do this, start by removing all furniture and objects on the laminate floor.

The next thing to do is to wipe and clean the laminate floor. This step helps to remove debris and filth on the floor. If the floor is filthy, you won’t get the off-white whitewashed appearance that you are looking for.

This is because the dirt will affect the whitewash or paint that you use. Also, cleaning the laminate flooring first allows you to see damaged or dented spots that need fixing.

The final part of the prep work is to tape the bottom walls with two layers of painter’s or masking tape so you don’t accidentally whitewash the base walls and trims.

2. Sand The Laminate Flooring

Sand The Laminate Flooring

The next step is to sand the laminate floor. Before you do this, the laminate planks have to be clean and dry.

You need to use a floor or orbital sander for laminate flooring since the flooring is too wide to sand manually. You should sand with fine-grit sandpaper to prevent damage to the laminate floor. The main aim of sanding is to allow the primer and whitewash to stick to the laminate planks.

3. Apply a Coat of Wood Primer

Apply a Coat of Wood Primer

After sanding, remove the dust and lay a coat of latex primer on the laminate floor. You can use a roller to apply the primer coating. You only need one coat on the laminate floor and ensure to allow the primer paint to dry before moving to the next step.

4. Mix and Prep The Whitewash

Mix and Prep The Whitewash

As explained earlier, there are two ways to whitewash a laminate floor. If you want a real rustic appearance, you can use a mixture of lime powder, table salt, and warm water.

You can also achieve a rustic-like appearance on the laminate floor by applying a coat or two of off-white latex paint on the laminate floor. Regardless of the method you choose, you’ll need to mix and prep the whitewash.

If you want to use a whitewash mix, then add 2 cups of salt and 6-8 cups of lime to 2 cups of warm water. Stir the mixture in a large bowl and add more warm water if the mixture is too thick. To use the off-white latex paint, you’ll need to stir the paint to get rid of lumps.

5. Apply and Seal The Whitewash

Apply and Seal The Whitewash

The final step is to apply and seal the whitewash. For the whitewash lime, you need to apply the mixture on the laminate floor, leave it to dry, and then seal with water-based latex varnish.

For the off-white latex paint, you don’t need to seal. You can apply the latex paint using a roller. Ensure to only apply thin coats so the floor doesn’t take forever to dry. When the laminate floor is dry, you’ll enjoy that rustic appearance on your floor.

Next, let’s check out other ways to whitewash laminate flooring.

Other Ways To Lighten Laminate Flooring

Here are other expert ways to whitewash or lighten laminate flooring:

By Using Off-white Flat Paint

You can get a whitewashed rustic appearance by using off-white flat paint like chalk. Chalk is a flat paint that dries quickly and offers that vintage appearance.

If you use chalk paint with off-white color on your laminate flooring, you’ll get that whitewashed appearance. But you should seal chalk paint because it’s not capable of withstanding the heavy traffic of a laminate floor.

By Using Clorox Bleach

You can also lighten the appearance of a laminate floor by using Clorox bleach and warm water. To do this, mix 3 tablespoons of bleach in half a gallon of warm water.

This will give you a very light mixture that can be used to wipe the laminate planks. You can wipe the planks twice with the bleach mixture and then leave the laminate floor to air dry. The bleach will fade the laminate planks making them lighter.

Are Whitewashed Floors Hard To Keep Clean?

Whitewashed floors are not hard to keep clean as you can easily get rid of dust and filth from a whitewashed floor the same way you’ll remove the stains from a regular laminate floor.

The only difference here is that whitewashed floors reveal stains and filth more than regular brown laminate floors due to the plain white appearance. Since the stains are more visible, you’ll need to clean the whitewashed floor more frequently.

Whitewashing a floor like laminate changes the color of the floor from brown to white. When the floor was brown, stains and dust on the floor were hidden but when the floor turns white, these stains will become more visible. Depending on the traffic level on the floor, you might find yourself doing more cleaning frequently.

For instance, if you whitewashed the laminate floor in your kid’s room, you’ll be doing more cleaning because pencil marks, dropped items, food spills, and the like will be more obvious on the white floor.

Final Words

In summary, whitewashing a laminate floor is a great way to alter the appearance of the floor. Whitewashing will give you an off-white and faded appearance making the floor look different.

You should always use breathing protection and a pair of gloves while whitewashing a laminate floor because some of the ingredients you’ll be using are caustic.

Finally, ensure to seal the laminate floor if you used whitewash mix. This is the best way for the mix to last on the laminate floor.

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