Home » Can You Paint Hardwood Floors? (Step By Step Guide)

Can You Paint Hardwood Floors? (Step By Step Guide)

Are you looking to upgrade your living space? Or did you just move into a home with old hardwood floors, but they are not in good condition?

A fresh coat of paint can work magic on many surfaces, but can you paint hardwood floors? In this article, we talk about whether or not you can paint hardwood floors and if it is wise to do so. Keep reading to find out more!

Should I Paint My Hardwood Floors?

So, can you paint wood floors? The short answer is YES! You can absolutely paint hardwood floors. But is it a good idea? Painting your hardwood floors is a great way to make your wood floors last longer.

Most wood flooring is very old and severely damaged, so painting them can seal them off to prevent further damage. However, there are factors to consider before pulling out your paint and roller.

The Location Of The Floors

The location of the wood floors you want to paint is important for a couple of reasons. Painted floors are prone to chips and crack a lot easier than paint in other places, such as your walls. This is because they are walked on.

But how often are they walked on? This is the question you should ask yourself.

If you want to paint your wood flooring in, say, a laundry room or guest room, it will last a lot longer than if you paint wood floors in a high-traffic area such as a living room or kitchen, especially if you have kids.

Painted wood floors in high-traffic areas will wear out quickly, likely in a couple of months. If you must paint the wood flooring in a high-traffic area, be sure to take all of the necessary steps to ensure it holds up.

The Time To Dry

Another factor to keep in mind is how long it will take your floors to dry and if you can stay off of them for that long. Wood floors can take up to a week to dry enough to walk on.

If you haven’t moved into the house yet, or you are in the business of fixing up homes to sell, this won’t be an issue.

However, if this is your main living quarters, you may not be able to stay off of them for more than a day or two unless you have the resources to stay somewhere else until they dry.

Why You May Want To Paint Your Wood Floor

Why You May Want To Paint Your Wood Floor

Everyone has a different reason for wanting to paint their wood floor. Here are some of the most common reasons

1. To Save Old Floors

Painting old wood floors to save them is one of the most common reasons people decide to paint them. Hardwood floors can sometimes be over 100 years old and have major damage.

Painting them offers a way to revive them, so you don’t have to pull them up and toss them.

2. To Hide Imperfections

Another reason someone may choose to paint wood flooring is to cover up imperfections. This is likely due to cheap wooden floor materials.

If you just moved into a house that has cracked wood flooring or flooring with pits and scratches, or you are looking at purchasing a house with floors like this, painting them will help you hide those flaws and seal your wood floor.

3. To Upgrade The Space

Sometimes, you may just want to upgrade your space. You may be tired of boring wooden floors and wonder what it would be like to have black floors. Painting wood floors, though it used to be viewed negatively, is actually becoming quite popular.

A fresh coat of paint on your wood floors can add contrast to the space or provide a way to showcase your creativity.

4. Cheaper Than Floor Replacement

It is significantly cheaper to refinish wooden floors with paint versus replacing them entirely. This may be one of the biggest reasons people take the plunge and bring out their paint cans.

Having old floors torn out and new ones installed is pretty expensive, but painting them requires a lot less money spent overall, even after your purchase the tools required and the appropriate paint.

How To Paint Hardwood Floors

How To Paint Hardwood Floors

So, you decide you want to paint your wooden floors and decide on a color, but you have no idea where to go from there. Luckily, you are in the right place.

Painting your wood floors is a pretty straightforward DIY project, and you should be able to get everything you need at your local paint store. Keep reading to find out how to paint your wood floors, so you get the best outcome!

Step 1: Pick The Right Paint

Before you buy your paint, you want to make sure you get the right kind. Ordinary latex or acrylic wall paint is not the best option for wooden floors. Instead, look for a paint that is specifically made for wood.

There are two options for wood paint, oil-based paint and latex paint. While oil-based is more durable, it has a high level of VOC emissions, so if this is an issue due to health reasons or preference, you will want to avoid it.

You also need to keep in mind you need solvents to clean up accidents made when using an oil-based enamel.

The other thing you want to look for is a paint that has polyurethane. Polyurethane offers protection from humidity and will act as a strengthening agent, so your paint job will last longer.

Step 2: Prep

Now that you have your paint, it is time to prep. Repair any parts of your floor that need to be repaired and clean your floors with an all-purpose cleaner to remove any dirt.

After you clean your floors and they are completely dry, it is time to sand them. You don’t want to skip this step, especially if you have flooring with a poly finish. This is also true if your floors are really smooth because smooth flooring may not accept the paint.

You will want to use 150-grit sandpaper and take your time to ensure they are sanded well. Not doing this properly can affect how your floors turn out. I recommend using a floor sander if you can afford the extra expense.

Make sure you sweep or vacuum well after you sand your floors to make sure there is no sand dust, and wipe your floors down with water before continuing.

The last step of the prepping process is applying a coat of primer, maybe two. If your floors are prone to stains, then choose one with a stain blocker.

Step 3: Paint


After the primer has time to dry completely,  it is time to apply your first coat of paint to your floors. You can use a paintbrush or a paint roller, whichever you are more comfortable with.

Whichever one you choose, you will want to paint in the same direction as the wood grain.

You will want to do at least two coats to get good coverage, especially if you are painting your floor a lighter color.

Make sure you let each coat dry before applying another. Refer to the directions on your paint can to know how long your specific paint will take to dry.

Also, make sure you paint so that you end up at the door, so you don’t have to walk over your fresh paint.

Step 4: Seal

Even if you choose a paint with polyurethane, you still need to add a coat of polyurethane after you paint your floors. Definitely don’t skip this step, especially if you are painting wood floors in a high-traffic area.

You should add 2-3 coats. If you didn’t paint the floors with paint that contained polyurethane, then you should definitely opt for three coats.

Clear polyurethane also comes in different sheens, but the flat is the most popular for floors. If you are not sure which type of polyurethane to get, you should consult a professional at your paint store.


Overall, only you can decide if painting your wooden floors is the right decision for you and your situation. It may be worth it to paint those old wooden floors, or you may need to consider just getting them replaced.

We hope you found this article helpful! Did you recently take on a project painting your wood floor? How did it turn out? Let us know in the comment section below. We love hearing from our readers!

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