How to Paint Old Vinyl Flooring

Debbie Tolle

The advance in paint products has made it possible for you to paint vinyl flooring. This is a cost effective way to obtain a new floor when you cannot afford to replace the vinyl.

Paint over vinyl.

Vinyl flooring will not readily accept paint products; this means that you will have to carefully prepare the vinyl before applying any paint products. Preparation involves sanding, deglossing the surface, priming and then cover-coating. It is important not to leave out any of these steps.

  1. Add 1/4 cup of TSP (trisodium phosphate) to 1 gallon of water. TSP is a powdered detergent that removes grease, dirt and grime from multiple surfaces. Mop the solution over the entire floor. Use a long-handled scrub brush to push the solution into grooves or design patterns on the vinyl flooring. Rinse thoroughly with clean water. Allow the floor to dry before sanding it.

  2. Sand the surface of the vinyl floor with 150-grit sandpaper and a drywall-sanding pole. A sanding pole has a pad connected to the end of it that you attach drywall sandpaper to. Sand the surface enough to degloss it, and to give it a slightly rough feel. Creating a rough feel to the vinyl will allow the primer and the paint to stick. Do not sand so hard that you start rolling or tearing the top layer off of the vinyl flooring.

  3. Moisten a rag with liquid deglosser and wipe the entire floor down. The deglosser will clean up the sanding dust and remove gloss from areas the sandpaper could not get into.

  4. Apply painter’s tape to the lower portion of the baseboards and tape between the adjoining floors. Place plastic drop cloths on the adjoining floors and seal the edge down with painter’s tape. The plastic will protect the adjoining floors from paint splatters off the roller pad, should you happen to roll the paint too fast.

  5. Prime the vinyl with a primer that also seals. Use a high quality primer designed to adhere to all surfaces. Prime around the edges of the floor with the paintbrush, and then roll on a solid even coat across the surface area. Allow the primer to dry overnight.

  6. Cover-coat the vinyl floor with porch or garage floor paint. This type of paint is made to withstand foot traffic and will hold up better on the vinyl floor. Use the same painting technique to paint the floor as you used to prime it. Allow the paint to dry overnight and apply a second coat if needed. Let the second coat of paint dry for at least 24 hours before cover-coating the paint with a polyurethane floor sealer.

  7. Apply a minimum of two coats of polyurethane floor sealer over the painted vinyl. The first coat must dry according to the manufacturer’s directions. The polyurethane will protect the paint from peeling and scratches.

  8. Tip

    All products can be purchased at local paint stores. Wash all paint tools between coatings and reuse them for the entire job.


    Do not settle for lesser quality paint products. They are not designed to adhere to vinyl and will start peeling off.