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.

52 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?


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