Painted Floors

Decorative painted floors are can be an inexpensive way to jazz up a room. Painted floors — painted hardwood, plywood, or even concrete — are fairly easy create and maintain, if you do it right the first time. Painted floor designs can give you any look you can imagine. Take your time and enjoy the fresh look for years.


While putting in your own floors might seem to be the “right” way to add a decorative touch to your home, you will be delighted to hear that painting your floor can work just as well — and be long-lasting.


Painted floors are a great way to simplify your home decorating, as well as business improvement strategy. With only a few ingredients and a good imagination, you’re ready to paint the floors. Painting your old, tired flooring can be a great solution for freshening the look of any room.Here are some quick pros of why you should look into painted floors:

* Most surfaces can benefit from painting
* No special tools are needed
* Low-maintenance
And here are the very few cons:
* Takes a few days to dry
* A fair amount of work to start

Oil paints are especially good when looking into painted floors.Oil paints seem to harden readily, as well as adhere to many surfaces, opposed to water-based paints. Your floor can be wood, concrete, vinyl, or laminate and still be paint-able. The priming part just might be a little different.

If you find you want to apply ceramic tiles over painted concrete floors, research what it takes to make the tile cement and grout stick to the floor finish so that you don’t have problems with the tiles down the road.

Start with a clean, dry surface. If you’re trying to paint the concrete floor in your basement, this may not work out well, especially if it’s damp. Most basements have chemicals mixed into the masonry to prevent floor dampness, so you should be fine. You may need to apply a masonry primer to the concrete floor (if the paint you selected requires it). If you have a wood floor, a primer is strongly recommended in order to hide the grain pattern.

If there are any imperfections in the floor surface, you will want to fill those in with non-porous filler and let it dry and harden before applying the paint. After that, you can paint away. Painted floor designs can be created with the help of plastic stencils or masking tape. Let your imagination run wild.

Here’s the hard part — painted hardwood, concrete and plywood floors need to be left alone for two to three days after the painting is complete. This can be difficult in high-traffic areas, so plan accordingly. After the time is up, you can go back over the surface with a few coats of non-yellowing urethane, or water-based urethane, and let that dry as long as the manufacturer recommends.

The only maintenance you have to do now is to apply another coat of the urethane every couple of years (as well as clean the surface as you would any other flooring). The shine should stick around even with heavy traffic. Many businesses use painted floors because of this dramatic durability and inexpensive upkeep.

Decorative painted floors can really make a statement. You can recreate a 50s diner with the black and white checked pattern. I saw a game room painted like a chess or checkers board, and it looked great! You can create the look of tiles and wooden flooring as well. It’s hard to tell the difference if the paint job is well done. Have you ever seen a “rug” painted on the floor? I have, and it’s a fantastic decorative painted floor. You can even create walkways in a business to direct customers to areas that they may be searching for.

Painted floors are the new rage in modern flooring and design. And because they’re so durable, they’re a great way to improve a room, without cutting and measuring.

51 thoughts on “Painted Floors

  1. I am a decorative painter and I have a request to do a painted checkerboard finish over a wood floor. Do you recommend oil paint and primer? Or water based? Which manufacturer? What water-based urethane do you recommend? Thank you for your posts, they are extremely helpful!

  2. I’ve seen different approaches to painting wood floors. If you want the grain to show through you’d use a thinner paint than if you want the wood to “disappear”. I personally avoid oil paints when possible and move more toward water-based paints; I really like Sherwin Williams eco-paints.
    Once you have the pattern finished and cured, cover it with Varathane’s Diamond Coat Polyurethane. It is easy to apply, dries quickly and is hard as nails.

  3. i would like to know how to paint my shop concrete floor in black and white checkerboard step by step instructions or tell me a site to go to , to find step by step instructions

  4. I have painted one room on my house, the floor i mean (concrete) and i love the way it looks not i want to do the whole house. I am trying to find a color that will go with an entire house and i don’t like dark colors. I need something that hides dirt well because we live int he county and lots of animals exist in this house. I can’t seem to find any sites to check out patterns or colors can you help. do you knw of any. thanks for all your help in advance.

  5. Hi Sandy,
    You might want to consider going with a couple of colors, there’s these neat outfits sold at most any hardware/home improvement stores that have a paint pan with two parts for a paint roller that is split into two paint rollers. You use two colors and can keep going over them as much as you want to blend the colors as much or as little you please.
    It’d be difficult for me to tell you what colors you use as I obviously cannot see the colors that you have already decorated with.
    There’s all sorts of painting effects you can try, from marbleling, to sponging, or even using glittery flakes in the paint – the possibilities really are endless!
    You need to go to the paint section of a larger home improvement/hardware store and check out the paint department. They’ll have info, brochures and color samples to get you started. Don’t forget to visit the paint manufacturer’s web sites – I’m sure they’ll have all kinds of info to check out and inspire you!

  6. I’m hoping to paint/sponge stamp a basement concrete floor that looks like a brickyard. Can you help me find a website with directions on how?

  7. I don’t know of any, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t one that doesn’t exist! The web is a big place……..
    I’d suggest going to your favorite search engine (mine’s Google) and you should find what you’re looiking for.

  8. Our home is concrete slab. I have some carpet I want to replace with painted plywood. Our home is in the style of an old farmhouse. We even have a lot of old timers out here that think we moved the house and set it down here which thrills me. Is there a source of info (want to walk me through it) or do I need to keep looking for the basics on doing this. I’m not too worried about the paint right now but instead how to put the plywood down. Thanks for anything you can offer in help. al

  9. Al, indeed what a compliment for old timers to think you moved an old farmhouse to your property. And good for you for continuing that look with your “wood” floor idea.
    I haven’t done what you are considering but so I’ll share my thoughts and hope it’s enough information. One question I have though is what the ceiling height is because that will make a difference about approaches you take.
    First, I highly recommend moisture proofing the slab so your plywood doesn’t suffer from absorbed moisture from the ground. If your ceiling height is minimal consider laying a Raven Industry vapor barrier film on the concrete before laying the plywood down.
    Without the film you could glue the plywood down, using Bostik’s Best glue. With the film I think nailing is your primary option.
    Using a floating floor solution leaves you the options of glue or nail for attaching the plywood to your floor.
    Do use interior grade plywood for a smoother surface. I used exterior grade plywood on a floor that worked for the situation but would have preferred the interior grade.
    Though I didn’t prime my plywood floor I think you should so the paint will adhere better. After completing your paint task and letting it dry thoroughly apply several coats of a water-based polyurethane so the paint doesn’t get scraped off with the traffic and daily activity a floor gets. I love Varathane’s Diamond Coat polyurethane which is available at a variety of stores, include Home Depot.
    Ask more questions if I missed something. Good luck!

  10. I have a laminate floor that I hate the color of. Any ideas on how to paint the laminate such as type of paint and any tricks?

  11. I’m not sure what you mean by ‘laminate’ – do you mean vinyl or linoleum or the kind of floor referred to as laminate – which is basically a “picture” of wood with a protective coating. Heh……then again there are some floorings referred to as laminate that are actually engineered hardwood. Go figure. Anyhoo, the articles below should help – they’re for painting over vinyl, but will give you a very good idea of what to do and what you need to take into consideration before you it.…274954,00.html…eovers/?page=2
    Make sure paint and polyurethane are compatible. A water-based polyurethane is nonyellowing. Your local paint store should be able to advise you. Preparing the floor for the paint is crucial for making sure the paint adheres well.

  12. Hi!
    Is there anything you can specifically recommend with which to treat a plywood floor to give it a more upscale, natural look? I’m told the flooring options are limited due to the the floor’s definitive slant attributable to house settling. As a result, a flooring company recommended either sheet vinyl or carpet. I’m not thrilled with either in this kitchen/dining area.
    Many thanks,

  13. Hi again TFL, thanks for your earlier recommendations. You said I could ask more questions so here goes. My ceilings are 10 feet where I would like to put down plywood over concrete, why does that matter? Home Depot has a nail gun they recommended…is that the kind of nailing you had in mind? And though I hate to seem really behind the curve…what do you mean by a floating floor solution? thanks much!

  14. Hi Al,
    I was asking about the ceiling height in case they were rather low, as is sometimes the case with old houses. Yes, that is the kind of nailing I had in mind.
    A floating floor is one that doesn’t require nailing, the planks interlock together which is a nice feature because it helps with how wood expands & contracts with different temperatures & humidity. You can always use the search function at the upper right-hand corner of the page to look up floating flooring (and other terms of course!).

  15. okay, that floating floor I understand. Just hadn’t ever seen interlocking plywood :-)
    Back to the vapor barrier… it’s not that I want to avoid pulling up the carpet-but could I put the barrier over the carpet and get a little extra insulation out of it? The carpet is in good shape. Thanks for your help. It’s not that I don’t trust the guys in the stores but…You can tell me stop asking questions anytime!

  16. Hi Al!
    Actually, what I have seen is interlocking sheets of chipboard, not plywood.
    I think you’ll find that if you install a floating floor over carpeting that it won’t work – the flooring needs something solid under it so it won’t shift and pop out of it’s channels. Bear in mind that I don’t know what kind of carpeting you’re talking about either. ;~)
    As far as your trust in the guys at the stores, I’m with you……caveat emptor. Heh.
    Try as hard as you might, you’ll never get me to tell you to stop asking questions! LOL That what this site is for!

  17. Hi There TFL,
    We are excited about painting the floor in our kitchen, dining room and bathrooms, but have a couple of questions about the final product. After the urethane on the floor dries, wouldn’t the floor become a little slippery (because urethane is such a smooth product), especially if it becomes wet? We were thinking of using a slightly textured primer before painting so that the final product isn’t slippery; would that be a good idea or is it even necessary?

  18. I am looking for info on how to use brown paper bags and polyurethane to cover over an old painted wood floor in a cabin. Do you know where I can get this info?

  19. Hi Patsy…… I’m not sure I’m following you – are you wanting to take up the tile or just paint over it? Either way, the subject has been covered lots and lots of times on this site – I’d suggest using the site’s search engine and type in paint or painting and tile or vinyl.

  20. I have a white textured tile floor and in Florida whenever someone comes in the sand gets caught next to this texture. Is there any way I can paint these tile floors so that they are easier to clean. It would take me a week to get down with a scrub brush and then it would only stay clean for a few minutes!

  21. The previous owners glued carpet to polished old pine floors in three rooms. The shabby carpet lifts off readily, but there is a 1/4″ layer of glue with ridges (and some glued-in fibres) that three different tradesmen say cannot be removed by solvents or by sanding as the glue melts. I don’t want to recarpet or plane the floors off as I would need to plane the whole house to match. Would it be too weird if I scrubbed it and painted it? If so, what would you recommend?

  22. Since the floor was polished, it might be worth it to do a little testing to see how well removing the glue would work. The polish might keep the glue from penetrating the wood when you go to remove the glue. Try different methods in small areas. It’s up to you if you want to paint it.
    There is more info for painting floors here and here.

  23. Hello Flooring Lady, Thank you for your website and time. We just pulled up vinyl flooring in our kitchen and have removed 99% of the glue (oh what fun that was going chemical free up to this point). I think I want to paint it the way I’m seeing garage floors look, with a solid color, no fancy art work or designs. Does all the glue need to come up, like in the corners where it was installed thick, and what steps are needed to prepare concrete for painting?

  24. Hi Jimbo,
    It really depends on if YOU think the glue at the edged needs to come up – I can’t see it. If it looks smooth and flat and won’t detract from the overall look AND you can live with it, then sure. Pretty much, all that you need to do is make sure the concrete is very clean before painting – and dry. ;o)

  25. i am wanting to paint a floor in a bedroom. i am pulling the old carpet and it is the wood planks underneath. should i fill the cracks or what is the best process to acheive a shabby chic look?

  26. hi..we just pulled up OLD vinyl tiles and I want to paint the particle board floor underneath. the room is approx.20×40,you can see square pattern stains from old tiles so I’m looking for the EASIEST,LEAST EFFORT way to paint it & have it still look good. Some patterns are too much headache & work, do you have any suggestions for a simple fix? by the way, we rent so I don’t want to put too much $ or time,I have a few gallons of earthtone paints I could use and not have to buy(hopefully)any leads will help! (faux/stonewash?) thanks !

  27. I have a floor that is painted a tan and black checker board. It is in a high traffic area. Do you recommend coating it with poly or applying a coat of wax, which I would reapply every year (possibly every six months) Is there an advantage of one over the other.

  28. Hello,
    We bought a house and had to unexpectedly remove the prevous owner’s pet soiled carpeting (throughout).
    Eventually, we will have wood floors installed – but that seems to be farther in the future than originally anticipated.
    Downstairs is concrete, upstairs is plywood subfloor. For now, we are thinking of painting the plywood upstairs. Question: How will the glue for the cork underlay (which will go down under the solid wood floor that will be installed) react a painted plywood surface?
    We don’t want to create a situation in the future, where we have to sand the subfloor before the hardwood can be installed because of the paint.
    So, can adhesive be applied to a painted surface and still perform?
    Thanks for your feedback.
    Molly in Monarch Beach

  29. Help! My sons room has flooded ever since we have lived here, my husband will never get the problem fixed, so as of tomorrow I am going to tear out the carpet, it is concrete underneath, and I want soemthing that will look great and last a very lond time. I have no artistic ability. Any advice? What about concrete stain? thanks so very much!
    Machel Allen

  30. Machel,
    The damp conditions in a room can cause health issues beyond carpet trouble. I would suggest you fixing the issue as soon as possible.
    In regards to staining the concrete that is an option. You can read more here :
    Stained Concrete Flooring
    Thank you

  31. I have a old house and wooded floor cover in a tile i took off and it looks like tare i would like to paint them but dont know where to start HELP !!!

  32. Mona,
    I’m reading this that old tar paper that was laid under the tile is the issue, and is it now stuck on top of the wood floor which you would like to paint?
    You can use a tar paper removal product, your local hardware store should be able to local a product that is non-toxic. It is probable you will still have to sand the flooring to remove all traces of the tar paper.

  33. I have hardwood that has had the linoleum “rug” as my grandmother called them on top. The floor is unfinished, but where the linoluem layed the floor is stained from the tar like finish. Will paint take to this surface? The floor itself doesn’t seem to have any finish on the surface.

  34. Denise,
    If the wood is stained, and you are just painting over the top of it, it should work fine.
    If there is a tar like material stuck to the wood, this will have to be removed for the paint to adhere to the surface.

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