Do you have a dingy looking linoleum or vinyl floor in a room of your house, which, complete with cracks, holes, turned up corners, and stains, was dull even on the first day of its life and just went downhill after that? Something like this:

This type of flooring is pretty much standard in the bathrooms, kitchens and especially laundry rooms of many older homes. Many of us grew up looking at these floors, and to this day we might just assume that living with the offensively non-offensive beige pattern and deeply ground-in dirt is just a fact of life. However, there is a simple alternative to pulling these old floors out and replacing them with new material: painting! Yes, you can take some simple steps and paint your old flooring a rich vibrant new color to complement the rest of your furnishings. We sometimes underestimate the degree to which bad flooring can really drag our homes down, and what a difference it can make in the enjoyment of our homes to give them an upgrade. I'd suggest starting with a single small room, such as the pantry, and then plan your next painting venture from there. You'll be blown away by how fun and easy it is to repair and repaint your vinyl or laminate flooring in just 5 easy steps!

Step 1: Clear Everything Out and Clean!

Of course, you're going to have to clear everything off the floor, and plan to keep it out for at least a few days. Take the extra time to put your furniture and decorations in a spot that's not going to inconvenience everyone too much, such as a spare bedroom or den, and place everything neatly; it will make the task of putting everything back seem like less of a hassle. First, sweep the floor well clear of all dust and dirt. You may choose to use a heavy-duty cleaner on your floor, such as TSP, or you could use white vinegar (give it a few hours to air dry), ammonia, or oxygen bleach.

Step 2: Sand and Repair

In order for the paint to stick to vinyl, you are going to need to remove the shiny finish by sanding the floor – this can be done using a sanding block or a sanding screen. You can do this using plain sandpaper on your hands and knees if you're up for it, but otherwise, a sanding pole or power tool designed for the job are relatively cheap alternatives.

You may also want to de-gloss the floor afterwards to make sure that every bit of shine has been removed. This can be purchased at a paint shop and is rubbed on using a rag – it's stinky, so open the windows and wear a mask. Be sure to wait about 10 minutes after this step before applying primer, unless you repair with caulk, in which case you will have to wait 24 hours.

If your floor is damaged, you can do a quick repair job on it by cutting around holes using a utility knife and and filling them with caulk. Simply squeeze out the caulk, smooth it, and wipe away excess with a damp cloth. Once the caulk is dry, you'll be ready to prime!

Step 3: Prime

The next step in painting your vinyl flooring is priming the floor. After masking off the bottom of your walls, use one or two coats of an all-purpose interior primer; the idea is ensuring the pattern or texture is covered over, so don't be scared to lay it on rather thick. If you are going to paint your vinyl floor a darker colour, such as chocolate brown or slate grey, you might consider tinting the primer to cut down on the amount of paint you'll have to use. The primer must be completely dry before you apply paint, and you definitely don't want anything to stick to the floor at this point, so keep everyone out of the room. It's a bit trickier to do this with floors than it is with walls, for obvious reasons! If you have pets, try your best to keep them out of the area for the duration of your project, as pet hair can get stuck in the paint or primer and affect the finish. Placing bedsheets over the floor while the primer is drying is an option. Once it's dry, give the floor another quick sweep if you have a soft-bristled broom; otherwise, a gentle wipe-down with a damp cloth or even a vacuum might help eliminate the risk of scratching the primer surface.

Step 4: Paint!

For this all-important step, you must ensure you've bought floor paint, as it's much more durable than your standard wall paint, and will be able to withstand years of foot traffic. Choose the color (or two) that best suits the room, as well as your preference, and begin by using a brush on the outer perimeter, against the wall. Once that is completed, use a roller for the smoothest application as you head towards the middle of the room. Prepare to get your bare feet a little dirty!

If you so choose, using painter's tape, a paintbrush, and an alternate color, you can create stripes or checkers while painting your vinyl floor. You could even go a step beyond that and buy a stencil pattern to get really fancy! In any case, each color you use should get two coats of paint, and be given adequate time to dry (for instance, overnight). If available, use small fans to help the drying process.

Step 5: Finish (with finish)

A clear coat of polyurethane on top of your completed paint job will give your floor a beautiful finish, and protect it from scratches and other damage for at least a few years. If you don't like the super-glossy look, choose a satin finish, and use at least two or three coats. You'll need at least another 24 hours before you start moving furniture or storage units back into the area, to avoid nicking the paint.

And there you have it! Beautiful “new” floors to accent your home and give it a fresh foundation!

Image sources: Image 3Image 4 / Image 5