5 Simple Steps to Paint a Linoleum Bathroom Floor

If your linoleum floor has seen better days, you may be considering replacing it. But before you do, why not consider another option – painting it!

Do it right, and you can get a fresh new look with minimal cost. And you’ll have all the satisfaction of completing your own project too.

We’re going to take you through how to paint a linoleum bathroom floor step by step. We’ll also share some top tips to help you get great results.

So if you’re ready, let’s find out what you need to complete your bathroom renovation …

Tools and equipment for Painting a Linoleum Bathroom Floor

  • Porch paint in a color of your choosing – this will ensure your floor is strong and waterproof
  • Sandpaper – 120-220 grit is best
  • Orbital sander or sanding block
  • Sponge
  • Bucket of water
  • Liquid sander deglosser – optional
  • Shallow dish – only required if you’re using deglosser
  • A number of clean, coarse cloths – only if using deglosser
  • Eye goggles and rubber gloves – only if using deglosser
  • Foam paint roller
  • Paint brush
  • Decorator’s tape
  • Face mask
  • Work gloves

Step-by-step guide on How To Paint a Linoleum Bathroom Floor

Step 1a: Sand your linoleum

Sand your linoleum

The first step is to roughen up the surface of the linoleum. This will create a key for the paint to stick to.

You can do this by sanding or, if your linoleum is in decent condition, you can use a liquid sander deglosser. If you prefer to use deglosser, go to step 1b.

Otherwise, if you have a large area to cover, it’s a good idea to invest in an orbital sander. These handy gadgets aren’t expensive, and they’ll make the job much faster and easier.

But it you don’t have one, don’t worry. You can get just as good results sanding by hand. Wrap your sandpaper around the sanding block, and take your time. You need to make sure every part of the floor is properly sanded.

When you’ve finished sanding your floor, it’s time to get rid of the dust. Fill a bucket with clean water and wet a sponge. Wipe it methodically over the surface, rinsing the sponge frequently.

If you’re covering a large area, you may need to change the water if it gets dusty. You don’t want to find yourself simply transferring the linoleum dust from one part of the floor to another!

When you’ve wiped away all the dust, leave your floor to dry completely.

Pro tip: Make sure you wear a face mask to protect yourself from dust. And a pair of work gloves will stop your hands getting scratched up by the sandpaper.

Step 1b: Degloss your linoleum

Degloss your linoleum

Deglosser is a solvent, so it’s important to handle it with care. Before you start work, open all the windows in your bathroom. If you don’t have any, turn on the extractor fan and keep the door open while you work. You want as much ventilation as possible.

Next, put on your safety goggles and rubber gloves to protect your eyes and skin from splashes. Now pour the liquid deglosser into a shallow dish.

You can apply it to your linoleum with a paintbrush or a coarse cloth. Cover a small area at a time, between 3 and 4 square feet. Wait 3 minutes, then use a clean cloth to remove the product.

Keep going in the same way until you’ve finished the whole floor. You’ll probably find you need to replace your cloths fairly regularly.

When you’ve finished, leave the floor to dry thoroughly. Check the directions on the tin to see how long this will take. With most products, you’ll be looking at around two hours.

Step 2: Prepare the area

Prepare the area

When your lino is dust-free and dry, it’s time to complete your preparation.

Take your decorator’s tape and cover the bottom of baseboards and trims. You want to protect anything that you don’t want to get covered in paint.

You’re now ready for the exciting bit – it’s time to get painting!

Step 3: Apply the first coat

The great thing about applying paint to a floor rather than a wall, is you don’t need a paint tray. Instead, just tip a small amount of paint onto the part of the floor where you want to start work.

Remember to start furthest away from the exit to the room. You don’t want to find yourself trapped in a corner with no way out except over your freshly painted floor!

Don’t go too crazy with the paint either. If you tip out too much, you can find yourself with a puddle that quickly gets tacky. So tip out a moderate amount, then immediately roll it out. This YouTube video from Julie Blanner shows you how it’s done.

When you’ve finished, you’ll probably find the new color is translucent. Don’t worry! That will all change when you apply the second coat.

Pro tip: Try to keep this first coat fairly thin. That will ensure it dries quickly, and will also help you get a smooth finish.

Step 4: Apply the second coat

Apply the second coat

Check your paint for drying times, and don’t skimp! You want your first coat to be completely dry before you start on your second. If it isn’t, you may find you rough up the surface as you use the roller.

When your first coat is thoroughly dry, it’s time to apply the second. The process is exactly the same as before. Tip out a little paint, the immediately roll it out across the floor.

When you’ve covered the whole area, leave it to dry thoroughly. As before, check the product for precise guidance. As a rule of thumb, though, you’re probably looking at about four hours for this to happen.

Pro tip: Try to avoid rolling over the same area more than once. That will ensure the finish is as smooth as possible. The easiest way to do this is to roll out one long row of tiles at a time.

Step 5: Remove the decorator’s tape

Remove the decorator’s tape

When the floor is dry, it’s time to remove the decorator’s tape. Take care as you do so in case any damp paint is clinging to the tape.

At this stage, your floor is dry, but the paint won’t have fully cured. That process can take around 30 days.

At that point, you’ll have a very robust surface. But until then, treat your floor with care. Avoid walking on it with heavy or high-heeled shoes. And try not to scrape it with furniture.

Now all you have to do is to stand back and enjoy your beautiful new floor!

Extra Tips

  • Our tutorial shows you how to paint flat color – but you can also get adventurous with your painting! Use decorator’s tape to add stripes in a different shade. Or buy some stencils to add pattern.
  • Don’t be tempted to choose a different type of paint. Porch paint will give you a fully waterproof floor. If you’re refurbishing linoleum in a bathroom, that’s very important.
  • If your floor has got very dirty, it’s a good idea to give it a thorough clean before you start sanding. And if you’re planning to repeat the project in your kitchen, that’s especially important. Oil and fats from cooking can build up on your floor, so use a degreaser to get rid of them.
  • If you’ve sanded or deglossed the floor, a couple of coats of paint will usually give you good results. But if you want to be extra-sure of a good finish, you can prime the linoleum too. Look for a primer specially designed for use on this material, and apply it after sanding and cleaning.
  • Test the paint color on an inconspicuous area of the floor at the outset. If a sample pot is available, it’s a good idea to use it to test the shade before you commit. And make sure you wait until the paint has completely dried. The color can change significantly.
  • If you want to avoid sanding on your hands and knees, you can buy a sanding pole. This is basically a long handle with sandpaper at the end, allowing you to sand standing up. You’ll need to apply a decent amount of pressure, though, and it can be harder to control.
  • Alternatively, take the pressure off your knees with a pair of knee pads. They’re a particularly good idea if you have a large floor to paint. Your joints will thank you for them at the end of the project!
  • Take care when you remove the decorator’s tape. If you rip it off too quickly, you can take flakes of paint from the edges of the floor. Slow and steady is the key.

Ready to paint your linoleum floor?

We hope you’ve enjoyed our step-by-step guide to how to paint a linoleum bathroom floor! And we hope you now have the confidence to tackle this project for yourself.

The key here is to take your time. Don’t skimp on preparation – thorough cleaning and sanding is the foundation for a great finish. And remember that two thin coats of paint are much more effective than one thicker coat.

Follow these simple steps, and you’re sure to get a great result. Happy painting!

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