Should You Paint Hardwood Floors? What to Consider

Top Reasons People Consider Painting Hardwood Floors

1. current hardwood floors are in bad condition (& you don’t have the budget to replace)

2. current hardwood floors are outdated (& you don’t have the budget to replace)

3. love the look of painted floors (this isn’t about $$)


Keep It Geometric


The entryway by @simesstudio gives off serious chic vibes. The painted white overlapping patterns are eye-catching without being too dramatic or busy. The vintage bench ties the space together.

Step #3: Prime Your Floor

Using a 2 ½-inch angle-sash brush, establish the borders of your project by applying Fresh Start® High-Hiding All Purpose Primer to the floor around the edges of the room. Switch to a roller with an extension pole and paint tray to prime the rest of the floor. Roll the primer onto the floor, working toward the exit of the room, so as to not paint yourself in. Allow the primer to dry completely. You may want to prime one day and paint the next to give the primer enough time to dry.

Helpful Tip

• Just like with walls, if your floors are already painted and in relatively good condition, priming may not be necessary. Scuffing the surface by sanding may be sufficient to obtain a strong enough bond (adhesion) for your top coat.

How Much Paint Is Needed For Your Wood Floors?

The amount of paint that you will need will depend on 3 factors: The thickness of the paint: If you are using oil-b

The thickness of the paint: If you are using oil-based paint, you will need a larger quantity than a thinner water-based paint. The thicker the paint, the more is needed but on a positive note, you won’t need as many coats of it so it can even out in the end.

The area of the floor: If you have large rooms, the simple truth is that you will need more paint to cover them sufficiently. As a general idea, you’ll need about a gallon to cover around 350 square feet for your painted wood floors so keep that in mind.

The number of coats: If you need to apply two coats, then you will need to double the amount of wood paint. If you want a third coat for some reason, then times the initial amount by three and so on.

PRO TIP #6 If you buy a high-quality paint, this can eliminate the need for a potential third coat, thus saving you money in the long run. Ask your local hardware store clerk to point out their “premium” floorboard paint and run the math. If you are unsure, just ask if it will remove the need for a second coat and they should be able to advise you.

Think Pink

Design: @marybestdesigns/ Paint: @nilsonstudio

This midcentury modern dining room designed by @marybestdesigns is a work of art. The crystal sputnik chandelier and white mod chairs already make quite the statement, but it’s the painted floor that truly has our attention. The pink and white hexagonal pattern, done by @nilsonstudio, with the original wood floor showing up underneath gives the impression of a giant area rug—but make no mistake, it’s all paint.

8. You might need to vacate for a bit

Painting your floors is no small task: you’ll need to move out all of your furniture (yes, all of it) and be prepared not to walk in or through the room for several days while the coats dry. And the heavy-duty, hardwearing paint that’s suitable for floors also comes with lots of fumes. Try to paint your floors before you move in, if possible; if you’re already settled, consider closing off the room or heading somewhere else for a while to get away from the fumes.

How Do I Make My Wood Floor White?

The whitewash solution needs to be mixed with an oily water part and two parts white latex paint. A heavy whitewash can be achieved by adding one part water and three parts paint. It’s possible to paint a room with light gray paint. If you prefer, it may be somewhat darker.

Step #6: Allow the Floor to Dry Completely

Check the label or the Technical Data Sheet to find the cure time of the paint. Dry time is critical when painting hardwood floors, as you’ll want to be sure the paint has cured before you walk on or return any rugs or furniture to your space. Note that this could take a few days.

Helpful Tip

• Read all primer and paint instructions carefully, as dry times (how long to wait before applying a new coat) and cure times (how long to wait before you can return your wood floor to everyday use) may vary.


If there are bare spots (areas where there is no finish due to wear), brush or roll them with primer. This is called spot priming. Don’t worry about getting some primer on previously finished areas. In places where the old coating is secure, it’s as good as primer (as long as it has been lightly sanded). If the floor was never finished (in an attic, for example), apply a coat of primer over the entire surface.

You may save yourself from having to apply a second top coat by asking the paint supplier to tint your primer to a tone that matches the top coat. My preferred primer for just about everything is Zinssers’ BIN (view on Amazon), an alcohol-based, pigmented shellac primer-sealer (doesn’t stink, dries fast, and sticks to everything), but you should check with the manufacturer of the top-coat paint you’ll be using for its priming recommendations.

Why Would You Even Consider Painted Wood Floors?

    For the look: Some people prefer the look over the
  • For the look: Some people prefer the look over the naked hardwood look, especially if the wood has been re-stained. Paint also allows you to express your creativity by adding designs and patterns to your floor. You could also go with a simple solid color throughout. Painting allows you to add a unique look that bare wood cannot replicate.
  • To cover up cheap hardwood material: Even if the floors are brand new, your wood planks could be low quality (especially if you have used pallet wood for your floors) and simply not look good. You may even be considering pulling them out and replacing them. Before you do that, it’s worth giving them a fresh coat of paint in a style that fits your house. You will be happy with the results.
  • Revive old and worn floors: Over time, your hardwood flooring will start to show its age. While this sometimes shows character, this deterioration often looks horrible. Tell-tale signs are usually visible scratches, scuffs or color loss. Even if you try repair the damaged hardwood, a coat of good paint can easily bring them back to life.
  • Saves you time and money: Instead of replacing the entire floor, painting wood floors is super easy on your wallet and looks great. It usually takes only a single weekend, even if you only spend a couple hours per day on the project.

4. It’s easy to maintain

High-traffic areas with a lot of foot traffic, like beach houses or hallways that see a lot of wear and tear can be tough to keep in good shape and looking nice.

However, a fresh coat of paint (along with a clear top coat of polyurethane to seal it in) is relatively easy and inexpensive to apply to keep your floors looking new.

Painting your floors is a great option if you find yourself hesitant to spend money on an area where you know the work won’t look nice long term.

Are White Painted Wood Floors Hard To Keep Clean?

Glossy colored and waxed tiles can have a delicate finish because they aren’t protected from harsh chemicals. Glossy colored flooring can even require additional repair or varnishing, depending on its colour. In general, we recommend gentle, natural cleaning products. In addition to all finished wood, we recommend against using any kind of abrasive solvents.

When painting wood floors is a good solution

  • If your floors are damaged: If you have especially damaged floors that will prevent you from adequately sanding the area, then staining likely isn’t the option for you. “Over years and years of [sanding], the wood gets thinner,” Micetich says. “So paint can be a good option where you might not have the ability to do as much sanding, prep, and removal work needed for the staining process.” Adam Varano, owner of Wood Vitalize in New York, also says that the painting can help mask any water or stain damage. 
  • If you want a solid color for your floors: According to Varano, people will often paint their floors for a solid color that doesn’t show the wood grain. This then helps make the floor’s color look even and consistent. “They’re worried about there being too much [color] variation if you just go with a natural stain,” Varano says. “Some wood is naturally darker than others, and stain still shows that. But if you paint, it makes it a little more universal.”

3. Save your back by using a floor buffer

If it’s finished wood floors you’re painting, you’ll need to sand and prime. It can be backbreaking work if you’re on your hands and knees with sandpaper—or even an orbital sander. Save your back and rent a floor buffer from the hardware store.

2. You can incorporate a pattern on your painted floor

If you want to incorporate a pattern or artwork into your home, painting your floors is an inexpensive way to do it!

Many top interior designers love to incorporate this fun look into their designs.

You can create a checkerboard pattern using painter’s tape, inscribe your family’s name on the floor, or add a different personal touch to your space.

 Read more about this house here.The painted wood stairs in our former beach house project. Read more about this house here.

The wood floors (other than the painted stairs) are actually laminate flooring – you can find out more here.

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How to Paint Floors the Right Way:

  1. Sand the floor. Before you start painting, you'll need to sand wood floors to remove any varnish or UV finish. Steckel recommends renting a floor sander to save both your back and your floors.
  2. Clean the floor. After sanding, you want to remove as much dust as possible by vacuuming, sweeping, vacuuming again, and then lightly mopping the floor. Let this sit for a few hours to dry and so the dust can settle, then vacuum one more time.
  3. Patch any holes. Unless you're going for a rustic look, grab some wood filler and fill in any cracks or holes. Once dry, you'll want to prime these spots first and let them dry.
  4. Prime the floor. Next, prime the until floor with an oil-based primer. You'll want to wear a properly fitted mask to ensure ventilation.
  5. Apply the paint. Once the primer is completely dry (check the instructions on the label), it's time to apply your first coat of paint. Most paint brands offer a "floor enamel" or a specific paint formulated for use on floors. Remember to select the finish you want, whether matte, glossy, etc. Let the paint dry. Depending upon the paint and color you're using, you may need to apply a second coat.
  6. Add the topcoat. Once the paint is completely dry, apply a top coat that works with the primer you used. Avoid putting oil on top of latex, as it will flake immediately. If you're not sure, check with your paint store for a topcoat recommendation.
  7. Let each coat dry completely, then enjoy the new look!