When I was looking into painting my vinyl flooring, I scoured Pinterest for days in search of tips and instructions to make sure that my floors turned out perfect. After reading a few tutorial posts, I was surprised at how easy most people made it seem! The phrase “weekend project” was scattered throughout posts and quickly convinced me that it would be quick, easy, and would save me hundreds of dollars in comparison to replacing the floors. $50 for stenciled floors vs $500+ for tile? Yes please!
While I quickly realized that stenciling floors is not as easy as I thought it would be, the end result was worth the extra time and effort and I would 110% do it over and over again! In fact, I’ve done it in two rooms in my home!
Laundry Room Floors Before:
Laundry Room Floors After:
Bathroom Floor Before:
Bathroom Floor After:
Ten Tips for Painting Flooring
1. Use concrete paint. Yes, it’s more expensive than regular paint, but it’s worth it. Concrete paint is made for outdoor surfaces that experience a lot more wear and tear than your indoor floors ever will, so you better believe it can handle the mud your kiddos or dogs track onto it. I used concrete paint for my base coat and chalk paint for the stenciling and after six months, my laundry room floors still don’t have a chip!
2. Be patient with drying times. The concrete paint will say to wait 1-4 hrs before re-coating, but I’ve had it take longer than that depending on the humidity and temperature. Even though it says one hour, wait at least two before applying a second coat.
3. Pick a basic stencil. I know those intricate Moroccan stencils can be tempting, and if your heart is set on one the way mine was then go for it! But realize the more intricate a stencil is, the more touching up you’ll need to do. I used this stencil for my bathroom and this stencil for my laundry room and by far, the bathroom took me at least 12 hours less than the laundry room.
4. Buy multiple stencils. Buying a couple stencils will help cut your project time in half. Between applying, you’ll want to let your stencil dry so any paint that gets on the bottom won’t transfer to your next tile. (You can also wash and dry them–but who has time for that?). Having multiple stencils not only allows you to do double the tiles at a time, but also gives you more to work with towards the end of the project when you will be cutting them to fit all the odd corners and edges.
5. Let your stencils dry between coats or wash them. Inevitably paint will bleed through to the other side. If you don’t let the paint on the stencil dry before painting the next, you’ll have a lot more touching up to do which is what ends up taking the longest. You can soak the stencil and clean the paint off between each application, but I’m lazy and haven’t had too many problems with just letting the stencil dry between.
6. Use stencil adhesive toward the end. When I first heard about stencil adhesive, I had already painted my laundry room floors and was in the process of painting my bathroom floors. After spending hours upon hours touching up imperfect edges the stencil had left, stencil adhesive sounded like a miracle. I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t heard of it after all the online research I had done before painting my laundry room! After rushing down to the store and snagging a bottle, I quickly understood why I hadn’t heard much about it. It didn’t help keep my edges clean and just ended up leaving my floor sticky. I will say though, while it didn’t help with clean edges, it did help keep the stencil down towards the end when I was bending and cutting to fit odd angles around the edges of my floor.
7. Use the right brush. There are a lot of people out there that recommend using a roller but I personally have found that the rollers don’t get as clean of lines. I used a chalk paint brush like this one and it has worked wonderfully!
8. Wrap your brush. Realistically, you’re not going to finish your floors in the first day (or even two depending on how large of area you’re stenciling!). It will take a little bit. When you take a break for the night, wet a paper towel and wrap your brush with it, then wrap it with tin foil. It helps keep the brush moist and doesn’t allow for the paint on it to dry. Call me lazy but I don’t want to spend twenty minutes washing a brush I’m probably going to toss at the end of the project.
9. Touch up while you’re waiting for your paint to dry. Even if you are careful, there still will be tiles that will need a bit of touching up. I like to do this while I’m waiting for my stencils to dry. It makes the project go a lot faster and switches things up.
10. Coat with Polyacrylic. This stuff is my best friend with most of my projects. Seriously, I coat everything with it. It helps seal in your work and protect it from stains and chipping.
After painting two floors in my home, I would do it again in a heart beat. While it’s tedious and takes a while, painting flooring is a cheap and easy alternative to replacing them and the finished project always turns out better than I could have even expected.