How To Paint Linoleum Flooring

how to paint linoleum flooring

It’s been a while since I’ve shared any progress on my niece’s kitchen makeover, but I’ve finally tacked the one project that I’ve wanted to do the most since we started updating this space  – we painted the linoleum flooring! I saved this for last for 2 reasons. First, because we were painting everything else, I didn’t want to get anything on the floors, and second,  it would keep me motivated to finish everything else.

Linoleum flooring has come a long way in recent years. I have some in my bathroom that looks like wood flooring* and I love it. It’s not a bad choice for bathrooms, where you know they will be getting water on them. Tiles are too slippery and wood flooring wouldn’t hold up to water damage. But in this kitchen, the outdated yellow-ish looking linoleum had to go!

I love the patterned cement tile look that is popular right now, especially these tiles from Home Depot.  I wanted to recreate this look in my niece’s kitchen.

patterned floor tiles

What You Need to Paint Linoleum Flooring:

Paint Sprayer 

Painters Tape

White Paint – (Plain White Eggshell Enamel Paint)

Slate Gray Porch & Patio Paint

Rust-Oleum Polyurethane Floor Sealer

Extension Paint Roller

Patterned Stencil

I decided we could recreate the look with paint and a stencil. I picked this stencil that is a similar pattern. The squares on my niece’s linoleum flooring measured 12″ X 12″, and this stencil was available in that size. Next, I started researching what type of paint to use for the floors. I read in several places that people used porch paint (meant for outside, thus being more durable) and I thought that sounded like a good idea (keep reading to find out why it wasn’t such a good idea). My niece picked up a gallon of gray porch paint by Behr at Home Depot. First I cut in around the perimeter of the room.

painted floor ideas

I used an extension pole on my roller to roll the rest of the paint on.

painted linoleum flooring

I was really ecstatic at this point to see that old linoleum flooring covered up. After it was all covered, we called it a day to let it dry a good while before stenciling. My niece texted me a day or two later and said the paint was getting scratched up. I was shocked when I saw it, the porch paint was not very durable at all! We decided to go ahead with the stenciling anyway, and do touch-ups after that. I also realized that now I would have to use a sealer when we were done, which is what I was hoping to avoid by using porch paint.

Next up it was time to stencil. When I attended the Haven conference in Georgia over the summer, I discovered Wagner paint sprayers. There was a man there demonstrating how to use one, and I saw they could be used with stencils. It got me thinking how much quicker this project would go if I used a sprayer as opposed to hand painting each of these squares.

Once I had my sprayer (I used the Wagner Studio Pro) and was getting ready to begin, I started to think that there’s no possible way a paint sprayer is going to give me a crisp line with a stencil. Even though I was having a serious “What was I thinking?” feeling, I decided to give the sprayer a try anyway. I took an old stencil and attached it to a piece of cardboard and used the sprayer outside to practice, fully thinking that I’d be hand stenciling this floor after all. I couldn’t believe it when I lifted the stencil and saw this perfectly crisp pattern underneath! My niece looked as shocked as I felt!

painted floors practice board

At this point, I was so happy because I knew the project would be much faster and easier with the sprayer. In retrospect, I cannot even imagine hand stenciling a whole floor, it would’ve been hell to do it that way! I took the time to read the manual, and adjusted my settings accordingly.

Floors - Stenciling linoleum flooring with a Wagner paint sprayer

It may have been a user error, but even with my setting on low, I had a slight bit of overspray. Not terrible, but enough so that I had to put a barrier on the 2 slimmer sides of the stencil. My barrier being garbage bags in this case. Not professional, but that was all I had on hand. When I went back over the second day to finish I brought cut-up cardboard to use instead, which was much easier to work with.

I also want to show you, in one area where I missed a spot with the sprayer I went back over the stencil with a paintbrush to touch up. It further convinced me (not that I needed convincing at this point) how much better the sprayer is for stenciling.

Floors Stenciling paint sprayer Vs Brush

Stenciling the full squares was much easier than the end and corner sections. For those, it was a pain trying to get the stencil lined upright. You have to bend it for the end tiles, which is why I did those last.

stenciling linoleum floors vinyl flooring

In all, it took me 3 trips to my niece’s house to paint and stencil the floor. I went back this weekend and applied the sealer. We used Rust-Oleum Polyurethane Floor Sealer, it went on smooth, has a nice matte finish, and is clear with no yellow tones. On the negative side, it smells bad and you can’t walk on the floor for about 24 hours after.

UPDATE Jan. 2019:  After about a year, we have noticed slight yellowing in some spots. I believe this is due to the polyurethane sealer we used and I’d recommend going with a polyacrylic instead.

I still plan to accessorize this kitchen and then I will share a full before and after post on everything we did in here then. In the meantime,  you can catch up below.

How to paint your appliances to look like stainless steel

How to paint your countertops

Installing a subway tile backsplash

As a reminder,  here is a look at the kitchen before I did anything to it.

Kitchen before

And here is where we are at now!

Stenciled Linoleum flooring, painted floor ideas

The floors made the biggest difference of all.

wagner paint sprayer stenciled floors

Now comes the fun part, accessorizing the space!

If you’d like to get this same look without painting and in half the time, check out this post on tile floor stickers.

how to update your floors with floor stickers decals

If you’re looking for more flooring ideas, read how to install vinyl plank flooring.

How to install wood plank vinyl floors easy diy project

You may also be interested in how I completely transformed our cement porch floor with paint and more budget flooring ideas here!

How to paint linoluem flooring to look like cement tiles, floor paint


  1. I have been wanting a Wagner Sprayer since I saw it at Haven too. Now it’s definitely on my list of things to get. Love your floors! Super fantastic job!

      1. Did you ever say what the right paint to use on linoleum is?

  2. Marilyn Turner says:

    The floor came out beautiful. It looks even better in person.

  3. Beautiful job; I LOVE painted floors! I also stencilled my floors over 10 years ago but it was on sheet vinyl. I used a waterbased varnish instead – no smell and doesn’t yellow; it looks as good as the day I did it! I used a foam roller and found it very precise (the trick is to make sure it’s not too wet), but I’d love to get a paint sprayer and give it a try for other projects!

    1. I’d love to see a picture and a list of exactly what paint you used

  4. WOW! Who knew the sprayer would be so reliable! I just stenciled my front patio with the same stencil and when the roller did not work I had to stick with a stencil brush. SO TIME-CONSUMING! Never thought the results would look so nice with a sprayer.

  5. Oh my goodness. That is beautiful! I had no idea you could paint linoleum and that is gorgeous. You are a special Aunt.

  6. Wow. I went back to look at the posts and everything looks fabulous! Your niece is very lucky!

  7. Oh my gosh Roxanne. These floors are gorgeous. My laundry room still has the original ugly linoleum faux brick pattern. I would love to paint it. Thanks for the inspiration!

  8. It turned out beautiful! I love the pattern colors and would have never thought to use a sprayer. Awesome! Behr porch paint does scratch easily. It works best over a primer, but HD paint sales people tend to forget to mention that.

  9. It looks great! I’m curious to hear how it does hold up with heavy kitchen traffic… I wonder if a good bonding primer first would help it hold on better?

  10. Wow !! Love the floor , and thanks for the photo step by step instructions and tips …I’ve been wanting a paint sprayer for awhile now …

    1. Thank you Linda! I’m kind of addicted to this paint sprayer now, nothing is safe!

  11. Are there any special preparations you need to do to the linoleum prior to painting over it. Our home was built in the 40’s and I swear the linoleum must be original. It is nasty. Want to replace it, but LOVE this look. Afraid there may be too much build up for the paint to stick well though. Any thoughts?

  12. Hi there, the kitchen is amazing! I’m in a bit of a pickle. We want to put our house on the market next year, we need floors and countertops. The floors were professionally concrete stained but weren’t done well. So there are stains and lighter spots on them, the countertops are wooden edged, laminate. I have a big kitchen. We also paid a contractor when we bought the house to paint the cabinets, he never finished and never came back. The tile in the kitchen is beige with rust and blue colors running through it. The c okobcrete floors were supposed to look like wood…there are perfect lines and nail heads painted but there is no grain and a significant height difference between the concrete and the kitchen floors. I don’t want to put in floors and countertops but we do want to sell and make a good profit. Any and all suggestions are welcome.

  13. haleczky barbara says:

    Szeretném megkérdezni, hogy mivel lehet tisztítani ezt a festett linoleumot? Csak vizzel vagy tisztitószerrel is? köszönöm

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