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Can/Should You Paint Over Linoleum Flooring?

If you have been thinking about giving your floors a quick upgrade, painting them may have come to mind. Is it a good idea to paint over linoleum?

It is possible to paint over linoleum and many people have done it successfully. One of the most important parts of the project is preparing the floor before the first coat goes down. Painting linoleum flooring is a quick and inexpensive way to upgrade the floors that adds beauty and livability to the home.

Painting the floor over the vinyl

There are a few things you should consider before you apply paint to linoleum. Making the right choices and preparing the floor is the key to success.

If you don’t prepare the floor properly, the paint is likely to peel. In addition, any defects in the floor, such as dents or cracks will not be covered acceptably.

Can You Paint Over Linoleum Flooring?

Man painting the floor with white

The question as to whether you can paint over linoleum is different from the question as to whether you should paint the floor. Some families have been living on painted linoleum for many years.

More than likely, the reason why you want to paint over linoleum is that the old floor has been down for quite some time. Over the years, linoleum takes quite a beating from most families. This creates a unique problem.

Linoleum that is dirty, waxed, or stained will not easily accept a layer of paint. It might look fine for a while but, sooner or later, the paint will start to lift. At that point, the entire job will be ruined.

Read on to find out more about painting over linoleum. With the right prep and the proper care, it is a job that can last for a lifetime.

Should You Paint Over Linoleum Flooring? Reasons Why Not And Why Yes

Painting the floor over the vinyl

Like most homeowners, you would like to have beautiful floors and painting over the linoleum seems like a good idea. Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons so you can make a good decision.

Once a linoleum floor is cleaned and repaired properly it can be painted for a beautiful finish. You can consider the linoleum to be a canvas to turn the floor into whatever you want it to be. Many people who paint their floor properly enjoy years of use out of it.

That doesn’t mean, however, that painting your linoleum floor is going to be all smooth sailing. In fact, you might find that there are some issues you didn’t expect.

Let’s take a look at the good and the bad of painting your floor:


  • Long-Lasting – If you paint the floor properly, there is no reason why it will not last for many years.
  • Beauty – A painted floor can be a very beautiful addition to your home. Since you will be choosing the look, you can expect it to be everything you wanted it to be.
  • Options – You are at least a little limited when it comes to options with many types of flooring. Those options are limited to what is in stock and even what is in style. With a painted floor, you have unlimited options.
  • Maintenance – Although you will not be able to use any harsh cleaning materials or tools, you will be able to maintain a painted floor easily. Just be gentle and clean it regularly for a beautiful, lasting finish.
  • Change – If you are set on painting over linoleum, there is no reason you have to keep it the same. Once the first coat is down, you can change the look and the color much easier than the initial project.
  • Cost – You can expect to spend hundreds or perhaps even thousands of dollars on most types of flooring. Aside from a few gallons of primer and paint, you typically won’t have any substantial costs.
  • Time – Painting over linoleum is not always the ideal option. You may want to have tile or wood but painting the floor can keep you happy until you decide to make the larger investment.


  • Prep Work – There is a considerable amount of prep work that goes into painting over linoleum. In fact, the more you put into preparing the floor, the better the finished job will be.
  • Sanding – We could have included this under prep work but it deserves its own status. You will want to sand the linoleum to get the paint to adhere properly. That adds an extra step and extra effort.
  • Easy to Damage – Unless you use a specific type of paint (described below) you will have to be careful about moving furniture or anything else across the floor. In almost all cases, the scraping action will ruin the painted finish.
  • Time-Consuming – Although there are many benefits to painting the linoleum floor, it is likely to be more time-consuming than choosing another type of flooring.
  • Completion Time – Since painting a linoleum floor happens in multiple steps, it can spread out over days before you are finished

As you can see, there are many points to consider when painting over linoleum. Each point should be considered carefully before you jump in with both feet.

I’m sure you will agree that there are no good or bad points that are a deal-breaker. They really are just some points to consider so you can make the best decision for your home.

How To Paint Over Linoleum Flooring

Woman painting the floor

If you have made the choice to paint over linoleum, you should consider every step before getting started. It will make a difference in how happy you are with the finished job.

The most important step in painting over linoleum is preparing the floor properly. It is a multiple-step process that involves cleaning, repairing, and roughing up the finish on the existing linoleum. Only after preparing the floor should you start painting it.

Here are the steps needed to paint over a linoleum floor:

  1. Choose Your Colors and Patterns – Since you will be damaging the linoleum floor proper to painting it, make sure you have your colors (and patterns) selected in advance.
  2. Buy the Primer and Paint – Although you can paint with any type of paint, there are sure to be problems unless you choose the right type of paint. Basically, it is choosing a paint that will stand up to everyday use.
  3. Porch Paint – This is an excellent option because of its durability and beauty. It was made to stand up to heavy use and the elements so it is sure to do great with your indoor project.
  4. Porch Paint Sealer – Porch paint may stand up to heavy use but it is still going to scratch easily if you don’t seal it. A clear polyurethane-based sealer is typically recommended but you may want to go with a low-VOC option for indoor use.
  5. Driveway Paint – Like porch paint, an option that is good for use in the driveway will also stand up to heavy use.
  6. Clear the Area – It is always best to start with a clear area. Move all furniture and other items in the room to a different area while you do the job.
  7. Clean the Floor – Linoleum has a reputation of being easy to clean but over the year, it may have a buildup of dirt, oil, and wax. Scrub the floor, preferably with an industrial scrubber. You can rent them at a local hardware store.
  8. Sand the Floor – Scuff up the floor with sandpaper (or a sanding pad if you have a floor scrubber). Doing so will allow the primer to properly stick to the floor.
  9. Prime the Floor – A high-quality primer will go a long way in making your finished job beautiful. You can use Kiltz or a similar primer.
  10. Paint the Floor – Use a paint roller and paint the floor with your paint of choice. Allow it to dry and add a second coat for proper coverage.
  11. Seal the Floor – Use a low-VOC sealer to seal the floor. Doing so will allow it to last for many years.

What Tools And Preparation Are Needed?

Tools to point for the floor

Are you ready to get started and paint your linoleum floor? Here is what you need to know to get started.

Preparing the linoleum is the most important part of painting it. Without proper preparation, the pain will not likely last more than a few months before it starts to peel. In order to get the floor ready, you must clean it thoroughly and rough up the surface with sandpaper. You can then prime the floor with Kilz or a similar primer.

Here are the tools you will need to get the project underway:

  • Painter’s Tape
  • Paint Brushes
  • Paint Rollers
  • Rags for wiping up paint drips
  • Sandpaper for roughing the linoleum floor finish
  • Caulk to repair small holes or tears in the linoleum
  • Box fan (to help dry the floor quickly)
  • A good exit plan

It is not only possible to paint a linoleum floor, it is a great idea. You can paint any color you choose and have a durable, beautiful surface that you can enjoy for years. As long as you properly prepare the floor, the paint will last a long time.

What Paint To Use On Linoleum Floors?

When it is time to upgrade your home, you might consider painting the old linoleum floor. It would seem a more convenient option than removal but what is the best paint to use on a linoleum floor?

Since you are covering a high-traffic surface, you should use a quality porch enamel paint to change the color of the linoleum and upgrade it. Preparing the surface is important, and there may be some porch paints that require urethane coating. Porch paint will last on the floor a long time and provide you with a beautiful surface.

Before you paint a linoleum floor, you really need to consider your options. Although it would seem like a simple option to cover it with a coat of paint, it may be a better choice to tear out the old floor and put down the new one. Why?

Paint may color the floor and then change the look of it, but it is not going to hide any serious damage, tears, or holes in the flooring. It might just be easier to tear up the old floor rather than paint it.

In addition, you really need to be cautious about the linoleum in your home, especially if it has been down since the 1980s or earlier. At that time, there may have been asbestos in the linoleum backing and if you tear out the floor, you could expose yourself to asbestos.

If the linoleum is down and undisturbed, it is not going to be as big of a problem. Painting over it may actually help to encapsulate the asbestos to a certain extent.

In any case, when preparing the linoleum floor and painting it, make sure you are wearing the appropriate PPE. This would include a respirator, either in the form of an N95 or half-mask respirator, gloves, and safety glasses.

You should also not shortchange the preparation, which would include thoroughly cleaning and degreasing the floor before either sanding it or using liquid sandpaper. The next step in the process is to allow the primer to adhere to the floor.

The final step in the preparation is to use a quality primer that is associated with the type of paint you are planning on applying. A primer should always be used because it helps the paint to stick to the floor for a long time.

Let’s take a look at some of the different types of paint and what should be used in your home on the linoleum.

Can You Use Chalk Paint On Linoleum?

Chalk paint is probably one of the more popular types of paint for working around the home. It is good for crafts, as well as good for coverage of many surfaces. Can also be used for linoleum?

Chalk paint can be used to cover linoleum after the floor has been prepared properly. This would include thoroughly cleaning and degreasing the surface, sanding, and applying a primer. After chalk paint has been applied, you can cover it with a sealer to protect the paint in such a high-traffic area.

You may hear many people tell you that you can paint with chalk paint without using a primer. Although that may work in some cases, covering an area with high traffic, such as a floor, would require additional work.

At a bare minimum, you should clean the floor and apply liquid sandpaper before priming. For a more permanent finish, you can sand the floor with 100 grit sandpaper to rough up the surface before priming.

Can You Use Acrylic Paint On Linoleum?

Acrylic is a versatile paint that is often used for crafting but it is also popular for some surfaces because it dries to a hard, washable shell. Should you use acrylic over a linoleum floor?

Although it is possible to paint acrylic over linoleum in lower-traffic areas, it is not the best choice for a high-traffic floor. In addition, it is more difficult to use acrylic over a large area in comparison to other types of paint.

Although it may not be appropriate to paint acrylic over a large area, acrylic paint can be used on linoleum for stenciling and other types of design work. In fact, you might find that it is the ideal choice for those types of paint jobs.

After you apply acrylic and any other paint you are using, you will need to apply a protective sealer to help keep the floor from wearing quickly.

Can You Use Frenchic Paint On Linoleum?

Frenchic Paint is a popular brand that claims to be easy for beginners and often used by professionals. Since it covers many types of floors, can it be used for linoleum?

Since Frenchic Paint is chalk and mineral paint, it is a good choice for painting linoleum. Even though it is chalk paint, you will have to prepare the surface in advance and it is recommended that you clean, sand, and prime it before painting.

Putting a coat of primer down before you use chalk paint goes against what many people recommend. Chalk paint can be applied directly to a linoleum floor that has been properly cleaned but it will last a lot longer if you prepare the floor properly in advance, including priming it.

You will also need to protect the paint after application. Chalk paint would quickly wear down in such a high-traffic environment, so applying urethane sealer over it will help to protect the paint for a long time.

Can You Use Floor Paint On Linoleum?

There are numerous types of floor coatings, including epoxy, stain, and paint. Can you use floor paint if you have a linoleum floor that needs updating?

Floor paint can be used on almost any surface and it is the top choice for painting linoleum. Due to its long-lasting and durable nature, it will stay on the volume for a long time and hold up under a lot of foot traffic.

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One of the questions that many people have about floor paint is if it needs to be sealed. Many types of paint will benefit from a urethane sealer, especially when applied to the floor.

Some types of floor paint are made to only need two coats of paint before they are ready to walk on. There are other paints, however, that are specific to floors but will need a sealer.

An example of this is some types of porch paint. Those paints can be applied to change the color and cover the surface but they won’t last long when a sealer is not applied.

It’s best to check with the manufacturer and see what they recommend. You can then proceed with the job according to those recommendations.

Then again, a urethane sealer is never a bad idea when painting linoleum.

Can You Use Rustoleum Paint On Linoleum?

One of the most popular brand names of paint is Rustoleum. It is trusted in many homes but is it good for painting linoleum floors?

You can use Rustoleum paint to cover a linoleum floor. It is best if you use their interior floor coating because it was designed specifically for that purpose. The paint says that you can paint directly over the flooring without priming or sanding but it is a better choice to prepare the floor in advance.

Many people want to skip the step of preparation but you should always do so when possible. Any contaminant on the floor can affect the ability of the paint to adhere, and if it isn’t properly sanded and primed, it may not stick to the floor for a long time.

It may take longer to prepare the floor before you apply Rustoleum paint, but you will be happier with the results.

Can You Use Porch Paint On Linoleum?

Porch paint is traditionally used outdoors on a floor surface. Can it be used indoors on linoleum?

Porch paint is an ideal option for painting linoleum floors. As long as you follow the manufacturer’s instructions for preparing and sealing the floor, you can trust that it will last for a very long time, even under heavy foot traffic.

One of the issues that can occur with porch paint is the fumes. Since porch paint is commonly used outdoors, many people don’t consider the heavy fumes that can exist when painting indoors.

You can use porch paint to cover your linoleum floor effectively but choose a low VOC option if available. You should also only paint in a well-ventilated area.

Can You Use Epoxy Paint On Linoleum?

Epoxy paint is not one specific type of paint, it covers a wide range of paints. Can you use epoxy paint for linoleum coverage?

One of the best choices for covering linoleum is an epoxy floor coating. It might not be a paint in the traditional sense, but it will cover the linoleum, change the color to any that you like, and last for a very long time under a lot of foot traffic.

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It is always best if you follow the manufacturer’s recommendations when using any product. This would also include using epoxy paint on linoleum.

In most cases, you can trust the fact that the epoxy will cover the floor effectively. Just make sure that you are preparing the floor by cleaning it thoroughly, Sanding, and applying a high-quality primer.

The best option for covering linoleum floors is to use a quality porch enamel paint. Not only does it cover the floor and provide a durable finish, but it also comes in a wide range of beautiful colors that can satisfy any homeowner.

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ReadyToDIY is the owner of this article. This post was published on November 14, 2021.

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