Painting Vinyl Floors To Look Like Tile


Looking to update vinyl or linoleum floors but don't have the budget to replace them? You're in luck! You can paint on vinyl flooring! It's easy and if you use the right materials it will last. Keep reading to learn the simple steps for painting vinyl floors.

Whether you're wanting to update your vinyl floors to look like tile, paint simple stripes, or update with a modern pattern, painting a vinyl floor gives you complete control over the style and colors and is a fun and easy painting project to update your space!

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It all started when I fell in love with a Moroccan cement tile I saw in a hotel that was completely out of my budget, especially for a laundry room makeover. But I rarely let budget stop me so I set out to get the look for less and painted the vinyl flooring in my laundry room to look like expensive tile using a stencil. The result not only saved me hundreds of dollars it looks almost identical to the inspiration tile!

Here's what I started with... boring, slightly yellowed vinyl flooring that was screaming for an update!

Is There A Special Paint For Vinyl Floors?

Rust-Oleum makes a special paint for vinyl floors that might be necessary in really high traffic areas, but in our case I used regular interior paint and even with laundry baskets and things being dragged across it for two years, there are no marks at all.

If you use regular interior paint you have more color options. Like you'll see in the how to paint vinyl floors steps below, I prepped the floor with primer, which will help your interior paint adhere to the vinyl. I also finished our painted vinyl floors with a coat of matte polyurethane for long lasting results.

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How To Paint Vinyl Floors That Last

Materials Needed For Painting Vinyl Floors

Easy Steps For Painted Vinyl Flooring

Painting vinyl floors is really easy. Depending on how intricate your design is and how many colors you use it can take anywhere from 2 days to 4 days.

Step 1: Choose your pattern and colors.

I wanted to mimic the look of the tile I was inspired by and ended up finding a tile stencil that almost identically matched the pattern! Because of the intricate details of the stencil I chose, painting the floor took longer than if I were to do a more simple pattern like stripes that would just require painter's tape.

Step 2: Clean the vinyl or linoleum floor.

Clear the floor completely and give it a really good cleaning so it is free of all dust and debris.

Step 3: Prime the vinyl floor with matte primer.

This is a very important step. Because vinyl and linoleum flooring are synthetic, it is important to prime the floors so the paint has something to stick to. I simply poured big swirls of Kilz 2 All Purpose Primer and used a small foam roller to paint it onto the floor.

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Step 4: Paint your base color.

I chose a deep blue for the main part of the pattern for my painted vinyl floors so I painted the entire floor with that paint color.

Starting in the farthest corner use a small foam roller to apply the base coat of paint to your vinyl floor.

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Step 5: Stencil the pattern onto the floor.

  • Take your stencil outside and give it a light coat of spay adhesive on the back side. This will help your stencil stay in place and not have too much paint bleed.
  • Starting in the farthest corner of the room (so you can work your way out of the room without stepping on wet paint) place your stencil and press the edges.
  • Dip your stencil brush in paint and dab on a paper plate until it is not oozing paint anymore.
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  • Then dab your brush straight up and down in the sections you want to fill with that color.

Tip: It’s important to only put a light coat of paint at a time. It will dry really fast and by the time you finish you’ll be able to go back and do another coat of paint to get a more even look before pulling up your stencil.

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  • Continue with your next color. Again working with a straight up and down motion and with not too much paint on your brush fill the sections your second color. Remember to put a light coat on and go around again for a second coat. - Don't worry if it looks a little messy close up, it will look fabulous when you stand back.
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Tip: It took a little trial and error to get the really fine details. For tiny corners in order to not dab the wrong color paint in the next section, I used a small more pointed paint brush (not a stencil brush) to apply paint in the points, then went back with the stencil brush to give it the same texture and cover up the brush lines.

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  • Once you've applied the paint, carefully lift your stencil peeling from one corner.
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  • Move it to the next section lining up the spaces that you already painted and repeat the painting process. - Because you applied such thin layers of paint you should be able to move your stencil right away without messing up the section you just painted.
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  • Continue working one row at a time as you paint your way to the exit.
  • Let the paint dry overnight and then starting again in the furthest corner apply a coat of matte polyurethane to finish and protect the painted vinyl floor.

Tip: I did a lot of research about a matte polyurethane that won’t yellow and won’t make the floors look shiny. I used Behr Matte Water Based Polyurethane and it hasn’t yellowed at all after 2 years.

The results of painting vinyl floors are better than I could have imagined! What a fun way to add a ton of color and pattern to my laundry room without the cost of new floors!

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Can You Paint Vinyl Flooring?

Yes you can paint vinyl flooring and it's a really easy and budget friendly way to update vinyl floors! The key to your painted vinyl floor lasting is in the prep and finish work. These extra steps will ensure that the paint doesn't scuff or chip over time.

Why Paint On Vinyl Flooring?

Painting vinyl flooring can save you a lot of money. Instead of ripping it out and replacing it with a potentially more expensive flooring like tile or laminate you can paint it in any color or pattern you want to reflect your design style.

Painting vinyl flooring is a great way to update your flooring on a budget. Even if you plan to replace your flooring in the future, why not paint your vinyl floor now to get the look you want and love where you live sooner rather than later.

Other Things to Consider When Choosing Colors For Your Home

A lot of factors go into selecting colors for your home, and it goes way beyond paint color.

Things like your home color palette, existing colors in your home (that you may not be able to change), and the color of the natural light, or lack of natural light can change the way a color shows up in your home.

In my self-paced online color course, Color Made Clear, I walk you through all the steps to choosing and using color in your home to create a pulled together and cohesive look, even if you have things like cabinet color or floors you can't change.