Is it okay to paint wood floors?

Fix it Friday painting wood floorsQ. I watch HGTV A LOT! I’ve seen them do makeovers where they paint the floors. Is this practical? If so, I want to paint my wood floors. Is that a stupid idea?

A. Oh i have a deep inner struggle with this topic. There is half of me that loves natural wood floors, and the thought of painting over them is atrocious. I mean there is no going back. This is essentially the most critical downside. If you like wood floor and just want another material, look into this article discussing laminate vs. wood flooring.

Still, the other half of me loves what I have seen from these painted floors, and have heard nothing but good things. If you do want to do it, here is what you should know.

Preparation and Paint

It is surprisingly quick to do. In the grand scheme of things, this is a shorter process than most alternatives.

You really must prepare the floors correctly, in order to ensure the best results. The floors must be clean, dry, smooth, and warm.

Use oil based paints and primers. Sherwin Williams has Porch and Floor Enamel that you can get in just about any color. Farrow and Ball is slightly more expensive, but they are one of the best. Plus, they’re one of the most environmentally friendly companies.

Apply multiple thin coats. Doing it too thick can cause it to wear much faster over time.

For longer lasting floors, I’d recommend applying 2 coats of Polyurethane once the paint is dry. Maybe even 3 in the area’s that will be getting the most use.

Painted wood floorsStyle

Painted floors can honestly work with any type of design style. Whether it’s modern, traditional, or whatever else you’re interested in, it works.

You can do just about any pattern that you can think of. Geometric patterns can make your room pop, while vertical stripes will make your room feel larger.

While using stain would just change the color of the wood, paint can mimic any material you desire.


This is much cheaper to do, rather than to re-stain wood floors. The price of getting wood floors repaired can potentially cost $1,500 and up.

You can do the entire project all by yourself, which means you’re only paying for materials.

Long Term Conditions

Painting floors actually hides those little imperfections that you would otherwise see so quickly.

Believe it or not, these floors look better with age. Some people even distress them from the beginning to achieve that aged look.

Very easy to clean. Just mop with soap and water, and you have clean floors.

By the time the floors need to be repainted, you can do up an entirely different scheme and start again. Instant new floors.

Images: Take Sunset and Apartment Therapy

Written by Rhiannon Gillis. Rhiannon is a designer based out of Los Angeles and writes for the design blog

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6 thoughts on “Is it okay to paint wood floors?

  1. When we moved into our house that was previously owned by a person with two very big dogs, we noticed the sunroom floor was shredded. I painted a faux zebra rug (if you care to- check out my post “can’t sweep it under THIS rug) and now it’s everyone’s fave room. When the time comes to refinish our floors (not for quite awhile – you are right, it’s super expensive), it will be sanded along with the rest. Until then, i’m loving it.

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