How To Paint Linoleum Flooring

how to paint linoleum flooringIt’s been awhile 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  But in this kitchen, the outdated yellow-ish looking linoleum had to go!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 

Floor Stencil

Painters Tape

White Paint – (Plain White Eggshell Enamel Paint)

Slate Gray Porch & Patio Paint

Rust-Oleum Polyurethane Floor Sealer

Extension Paint Roller


I decided we could recreate the look with paint and a stencil.  I picked a stencil called Santa Ana from Cutting Edge Stencils 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 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 up right.  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.

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

How to install 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 for the fun part, accessorizing the space!


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


There is still time to enter my giveaway with Kirkland’s – one lucky reader will win a $250 gift card.   Good luck!


*May contain affiliate links.  Special thanks to Wagner for sponsoring this post.   Thank you to Cutting Edge Stencil for supplying the Santa Ana stencil.   All opinions are my own, read my full disclosure here.


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


16 thoughts on “How To Paint Linoleum Flooring

  1. 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!

  2. 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.

  3. 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!

  4. 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.

  5. 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 …

  6. 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?

  7. 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.

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