Can You Paint Vinyl Flooring? (How-To)

Floor paints are an inexpensive way to revive the look and beauty of different flooring materials. But can you paint a vinyl floor?

You can paint over vinyl flooring but you’ll have to clean, sand, and prime the vinyl floor before painting over it. This is to prep the vinyl material to accept the paint. Without sanding and priming the vinyl floor first, the paint will not stick to the vinyl material because vinyl flooring has a slick surface that repels paint.

You should also know that you can only use solvent-based paints that can withstand wear and tear on the vinyl floor. Most water-based and flat paints will peel off the wood because they don’t withstand wear and tear as much.

This post reveals more about painting vinyl floors including expert tips on carrying out the task. So, let’s dive in.

Does Paint Stick To Vinyl Flooring?

Paint doesn’t stick to vinyl flooring because vinyl floors have a wear layer that makes it impossible for paints to stick to the vinyl floor. The wear layer is a slick and moisture-resistant material made with recycled PVC and the purpose of the wear layer is to prevent any liquid from penetrating the vinyl floor. Since the wear layer repels liquids, it will repel the paint that you apply on it too since all paints are in liquid form.

It’s rare for paints to stick on vinyl flooring properly. Though the paint might stay on the vinyl floor initially, it will peel off completely within a few weeks because of the wear layer on the vinyl floor.

Vinyl floors are ordinarily prone to water damage due to the materials used in making the vinyl floor. But to make the vinyl withstand water better, a transparent wear layer is designed on the top of the vinyl floor. This transparent wear layer prevents water or any type of liquid substance from penetrating the vinyl floor.

So if you apply paint on a vinyl floor, the paint will not penetrate the vinyl due to the presence of the moisture-resistant wear layer. Since the paint can’t penetrate the vinyl, it doesn’t stick to the floor and will eventually peel off within a few days.

To make the paint stick to a vinyl floor, you need to sand the wear layer on the floor first. Sanding the vinyl floor will abrade the wear layer and reveal the bare vinyl material underneath. Then you should apply a coat of wall primer on the vinyl floor to allow the paint to bite into the vinyl material and stick.

So what type of paint do you use on vinyl flooring? Let’s find out.

What Kind of Paint Do You Use on Vinyl Flooring?

What Kind of Paint Do You Use on Vinyl Flooring

It’s advised to use only floor paints on vinyl flooring. This is because floor paints are usually reinforced with additives and high sheen levels to make the paint more resistant to wear and tear on the floor.

The best type of floor paint to use on your vinyl floor is enamel floor paint. Enamel floor paint is oil-based and reinforced with solvents to make the paint hard and durable enough to cope with the tension and pressure on your vinyl floor without chipping.

It’s not advised to use regular paint or wall paint on a vinyl floor. This is because regular wall paint is not tough enough to withstand the tension and traffic of a floor. Wall paints are designed with beauty as the main feature to make your walls more attractive.

Floor paints on the other hand are designed with durability as the main feature to protect the floor from dents and scratches. If you use regular paint over vinyl flooring, the paint will chip quickly.

However, you should know that floor paints are not very colorful since the paint is designed to be tough and not beautiful. So to improve the color of your floor paint, you can mix the floor paint with acrylic paint or dry color.

Can You Change The Color of Vinyl Flooring?

You can change the color of vinyl flooring by applying floor paint on the vinyl floor. If you’ll like to change the color of your vinyl floor, you don’t need to strip or remove the vinyl floor.

You just need to sand the wear layer off the vinyl floor and apply the new paint color. You can also change the color of vinyl flooring by using special vinyl dye.

Vinyl dye like the Rit dye for vinyl is designed in spray cans and can be sprayed directly on the floor to change the color or shade of the vinyl.

Next, let’s check out how to paint over vinyl flooring easily.

How To Paint Over Vinyl Flooring?

To paint over a vinyl floor, you’ll need the following tools and supplies:

  • Floor paint
  • A sander
  • Sandpaper
  • A mop
  • Floor brush
  • An angled paintbrush
  • A paint roller
  • A paint bucket
  • Painter’s tape
  • Wall or floor primer
  • Caulk or wood filler
  • A bucket of warm water and some detergent

Here is a 5-step guide to painting over a vinyl floor:

1. Prep The Vinyl Floor

Prep The Vinyl Floor

The first step is to clean and prep the vinyl floor. But, before that, you need to remove all items and furniture on the vinyl floor to get unrestricted access to the floor.

Removing the furniture and items on the floor helps you spot the damaged parts of the vinyl that will need repair or replacement. After moving the items off the floor, you should then repair damaged spots on the floor with wood filler or caulk. If the vinyl is weak, you should replace it.

2. Sand The Vinyl Flooring

Sand The Vinyl Flooring

The next step is to sand the vinyl flooring. This step is important as it helps to remove the water-resistant wear layer on the floor so the paint can stick better.

To sand off the wear layer, you should use 220-grit sandpaper and a floor sander or circular sander. Sanding the vinyl floor manually will be time-consuming and difficult given the texture and size of the vinyl floor.

After sanding the wear layer off of the vinyl floor, remove the dust nibs on the surface. Then mix some detergent in a bucket of water and use the soap mixture and a mop to clean the floor.

If the vinyl floor is filthy, the paint will not stick properly. Also, the filth on the vinyl floor can cause bubbles and stains in the vinyl floor. So, the floor needs to be clean.

3. Tape The Floor

Tape The Floor

When the floor has been sanded and cleaned, you need to use painter’s tape on the vinyl flooring. Start by taping the bottom walls to prevent the paint from splashing on or affecting the walls.

After covering the base wall, use the painter’s tape to demarcate the vinyl flooring. This is important if you want to use different colors on the floor. You can use the tape to demarcate where to paint and where to stop painting.

4. Apply a Coat of Paint Primer

Apply a Coat of Paint Primer

When you have taped the floor, it’s time to apply primer paint. You are only to use floor primer or wall primer on the vinyl. Also, ensure that the primer paint to be used is compatible with floor paint.

You only need a primer coating on the floor and you can apply the primer using a roller or paint sprayer for quick and proper coverage. Allow the primer to dry for at least 4 hours before painting over it.

5. Paint The Vinyl Flooring

Paint The Vinyl Flooring

The final step is to apply the floor paint on the vinyl floor. You can apply up to 3 coats of paint on the primed vinyl floor.

Ensure to allow each coat to dry fully before laying the next coat of paint. You should use angled paintbrushes to reach tight corners on the vinyl floor.

Some floor paints need to be thinned, mixed, or stirred before us. So, ensure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for how to prep the floor paint.

You don’t need to seal the paint as floor paints are usually slick and strong enough without a sealant.

Can You Stain Vinyl Flooring?

You should not stain vinyl flooring because the stain will not stick to the vinyl material even if you sand it. Also, stain is not strong or tough enough to handle the weight and traffic that floors go through.

If you stain a vinyl floor, the stain will turn into a sticky mess on the vinyl flooring. Also, the stain will not dry and will begin to smell after a few weeks on the floor.

Stains don’t work the same way as paints. When you apply paint over a surface, the paint sticks to the top layer of the surface. This is why paints will stick to vinyl after you sand.

Stains on the other hand don’t stick to the top layer. Instead, the stain coating will penetrate the surface. This is why stains are usually used on porous materials like wood that allow the stain to penetrate. Vinyl however is not a porous surface.

Vinyl is a hard-multilayered material made from recycled materials. Since vinyl is not porous, then the stain can’t penetrate the vinyl floor and if stain can’t penetrate, it won’t stick or dry properly. Instead, the stain will turn into a tacky mess on the vinyl flooring that will gunk up your shoes and feet.

How Long After Painting Can You Walk Over Vinyl Flooring?

You should wait until the paint dries completely before you can walk over the vinyl floor. The time it takes for the paint to dry completely depends on the type of paint that you applied.

On average, it takes about 6 hours for floor paint to dry enough to be walked over. But, you should wait at least 12 hours before moving furniture back on the vinyl floor. It’s generally advised to leave the paint to dry for 48 hours before cleaning or wiping it.

If you walk over a painted vinyl floor before the paint is dry enough, you’ll risk smearing the paint. You’ll also create a very messy vinyl flooring and the paint will not dry smoothly.

Final Words

In summary, vinyl floors can be painted to change the color of the flooring. But to paint vinyl flooring, you’ll need to sand and prime the vinyl material to allow the paint to stick and stay on the floor.

Without sanding and priming, the paint will not stick. Also, ensure to only use floor paint on vinyl floors as other types of paints will chip off over time.

Leave a Comment