Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Painting a Bathroom Floor

I'm not going to lie, I think you are either going to love this or hate it.  We just happen to love it, and that's a good thing since we live here; but I know it's not every one's cup of tea.

A little while back we began work on our little half bath that sits in the back of our house next to our master bedroom.  Other than the kitchen this back area of our house is probably the most out-dated part of our home.  It sports a really retro - but not so trendy retro- linoleum floor that was really throwing us for a loop as to what to do.  There is big potential that this floor has asbestos underneath and ripping it out will be a pain and very costly.

Bathroom Before - Ugly, Ugly and more Ugly
We do have options for future flooring, we can use laminate wood flooring and go over the linoleum or some other floating type floor, which will probably be our final decision.  But, until that day comes we have found an interim solution that was surprisingly easy and inexpensive - paint.

Ugly Floor Close Up
Going into this project I have never painted any kind of flooring, let alone linoleum, so I wasn't exactly sure if we could pull it off.  But I figured if I hated it, I could just repaint it and eventually it will be covered up anyway.  I did lots of research before beginning and found just the right products to make this work.  So I'm hoping that our experience will help if you have been considering a similar project. So here goes, our how-to on painting a bathroom floor.

So first off, this floor is old but in really great condition.  It has lost all of it's shine or sheen it once had but shows no signs of wear and tear - so really it is the perfect candidate for this kind of treatment.  The first thing I did was to make sure the floor was prepped and ready to be painted so this included sanding. I didn't sand a lot because as I mentioned, the floor has lost most of it's sheen already.  I just used some sandpaper to rough it up a bit to ensure maximum paint stickage.

After the floor was roughed up a little I cleaned and cleaned to make sure there was absolutely no dust or dirt left behind that could cause a bad finish in the paint.  This is a crucial step, you don't want any lumps or bumps or grainy paint.  This would definitely cause an ugly finished floor.

Next I taped off the floor trim and any other places that I didn't want to ruin with paint - just a good painters tape will do the trick.

Then the floor was ready for it's first coat of primer.  If you have been with me for a while you know that I happen to love Zinsser Low-Odor water based primer and sealer.  Now, most information I found said over and over to use an oil based primer since it sticks the best.  But honestly, I have found that this stuff sticks just as well and it's way less smelly and cleans up so much better.  I have used it on my laminate furniture and plan on using it when we finish painting the paneling in our mud room/laundry room so I went with it on this too.  It really stuck well,  just like it had in the past.  I ended up doing 3 coats just to make sure I had a good base.

Floor After First Coat of Primer
I was finally ready for the paint.  I knew immediately what color I wanted to use but I was really hesitant on how the final outcome might turn out.  But, I really wanted to go out on a limb and I'm glad I did because I think it's totally cute.

Yes, that is turquoise floor!  Now you know why I said you would either love it or hate it.  I think in this tiny little area it works, it's not overbearing and it adds a pop of color that this little space needed.  Would I do an entire kitchen in this? - probably not, but then again I might.  I ended up with three coats of paint on this too.  Just in case you want to know: the color is Classic Teal by Valspar ( and yes I have a mirror I painted this same color in our hallway!)

I love how the original floor pattern shows through the new paint!
This project wasn't over yet though because we needed a really good sealer for a painted floor.  Before I applied any sealer I removed all of the tape to check out if I had any paint bleed through.  To my surprise I had a pretty clean line and felt immediately relaxed knowing I didn't have to do a ton touch-ups. Finding the right sealer was something I did a lot of research on.  Everything I found in the local hardware stores was extremely stinky and full of all kinds of bad stuff so I started looking for more eco-friendly, family-friendly options and I settled on this-

It's AFM Safecoat PolyureSeal and it's a much safer alternative for polyurethane and other toxic finishes.  It's very low odor and very low VOC and after using it I will say it is a great product.  The finish is very strong and durable and looks great.  It did cost a little more, this bottle put me back $30 but it was worth it.  It honestly did not take that much and I have plenty left over to finish the rest of the floor in our laundry room and walk in closet.  I applied 3 thin even coats like it suggests - you could even do more but 3 seemed perfect.  Now, the instructions will tell you to wait for the paint to totally dry - I think it was like three days but we didn't have time for that.  I let the paint dry about an hour and started applying, it turned out just great.  Also, a paintbrush is the way to go with this to avoid any sort of bubbles in the finish.

We also added a new white floor rug and found a better basket for storage under the sink.
It took about a day to totally dry and we love the results!  It's definitely an unexpected touch but I think it just fits in with all of the other character we have in our home.  So all in all, painting a bathroom floor really wasn't that hard (more time than anything) and it's a great low cost alternative for updating a space like this.  I wouldn't call it a long term fix, but it's a great short term alternative for freshening up a room.

Just in case you were wondering, the floor has been painted like this for a little over a month now and it looks just as good as it did when we first painted it.  If we ever have any break down in durability we will definitely let you know.  Happy Floor Painting!


  1. Good for you taking on the challenge! Looks fab!

  2. I have seen the floor in person and it looks great. Good job Megan!

  3. I absolutely LOVE the painted floor! The texture and design in the linoleum really stands out with the paint over it and I think it would be incredible to do all of the rest of that linoleum the same color. Good choice!

  4. I like it! The finished project looks so crisp and clean.

  5. PS - Found you on House Blogging. Yay!

  6. Looks Great So HAPPY I GOOGLED painting a floor and stumbled on to your blog..I will follow it to a T I hope you don't mind I am using the same Teal color.. I cant wait..I am using it my laundry room it needs some color .:) Wish me luck doing it all by my girlie self.:)

  7. Hi! Lovely result. Tell me, 3 years later is the paint still holding? Thanks.

    1. also curious to know how it lasted over time