Painted Vinyl Floor to Look Like Wood!

6 Materials
2 Days

After years of abuse on my vinyl floor I came up with a low cost solution in our 96 year old Farmhouse.

The Before... Yikes!

While waiting for our shop to be built desperate times came desperate measures and I had to paint in my dining area. I always knew I was going to replace the floor, so I wasn't too worried. Unfortunately I found out the floor was going to take a lot more money and work than I had planned due to its age. 😭

So..I came up with plan B.

First Step..and most important!

No matter what you do the first and most important step of painting furniture, floors.. or anything is to make sure you clean it really well. As you saw in my before picture, my floors really needed it. Since I was doing such a large area I mixed it and used a mop. I actually did this twice. Next step was to use Liquid wood and they recommend cleaning with denatured alcohol. So after I cleaned with the tsp substitute I did follow it with the denatured alcohol wiping on with a rag.

Retique It liquid wood is a Game Changer!

My next step was to apply the Retique It liquid wood. Again, sinceI was doing such a large area I used it with a roller on an extension pole. It made it so much faster and less backbreaking. I put on a very thin coat at first. I used the Light wood color, but that's because I had it on hand and I knew it could stain to any color.

After it dried I went ahead and applied another thin coat.

Drawing Lines to replicate wood planks.

I have to warn you this is not as easy as it looks. My knees and back definitely hurt the next day. You may want to use a pad to kneel on. I used a straight piece of trim board as my guide, along with my wood graining tool for measurement of how wide I wanted my faux boards to be. You can use whatever you want to measure. If I was doing a smaller area I don't think I would have needed anything more than a yardstick. Also, make sure you have plenty of sharpie markers because this will wear down the tip pretty quickly. I ended up using about four of them.

The fun part!

I found it easier to use a rag that I had made out of cut up towels. You may prefer a brush. I love this stain because it takes hardly any time to dry. Plus the color is a lot richer then a penetrating stain. I ended up using the dark walnut which I have to admit is my favorite color. When applying try to follow your faux board lines. My next picture I'll show the first coat and how it didn't come out quite as pretty as I had wanted. In all reality I was exhausted but couldn't wait to finish so I did get a little sloppy. 😳

Also..don't forget to wear gloves and have mineral spirits or paint thinner close by so that you can clean up.


I wanted to show in reality mistakes can happen. This is where I had stopped with my rag that had stain on it. It actually worked out once I put a second coat over it. My stain took a little longer to dry than I had wanted, or expected. It was still a little bit tacky even after leaving it overnight. I went ahead and put on a coat of polycrylic over it. (Used sparingly with a roller) It sealed the stain. Then I was able to go ahead after it dried and put a second coat of stain on. It fixed my mistakes and actually made it look like imperfect wood.. like it would be in nature. (At least I keep telling myself that, lol)

Finished Look!

I applied 3 thin coats of polycrylic using a roller and extension pole. If I had any spots that foamed up or bubbled..I just smoothed out before it could dry with a brush.

It holds up!

I wish I had a fancy decorated room of a final picture to show you but honestly we are still in the chaos of redoing each room of our house. 🤪

We are definitely not easy on our floors. I had finished this section about a month ago. For the first week we were so good and never wore shoes.. then real life kicked in LOL. I can't believe how well it has held up and when people have stopped by they can't believe I had actually painted it! They thought it was real wood. We have invested in a couple swifters... One being wet and one being dry. Warning if you have a busy household with lots of animals like we do... Dark floors will make you a better housekeeper. 😉

Suggested materials:

  • Retique It liquid wood  (
  • Varathane Stain  (Lowe's)
  • Polycrylic  (Sherwin Williams)
See all materials

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Have a question about this project?

2 questions
  • Debra
    on May 18, 2020

    What about painting laminate flooring? Hate the color they are now

    • Roberta
      on May 18, 2020

      Yes! If you are worried about adhesion you can always try using Sherwin-Williams extreme Bond primer. After you clean a thin coat of that will make anything stick.

    on May 18, 2020

    Is the floor easily scratched by our adorable pets?

    • Roberta
      on May 19, 2020

      It hasn't scratched yet and we have an 11 year old, and 5 cats.

Join the conversation

3 of 6 comments
  • Roberta
    on May 23, 2020

    Thank you!

  • Susan Elliott
    on May 24, 2020

    Just wanted to say(no negativity intended) that your floor was old actual linoleum, not vinyl, which is much more solid and probably won't be going anywhere. You're lucky to have it! Vinyl, on the other hand, IS removable, and WILL tear when a piece of furniture or, say, a refrigerator (ask me how I know ! LOL!) is dragged on it cuz it's too heavy to lift!

    You did a GREAT job! Kudos! Totally inspired me!

    • Roberta
      on May 24, 2020

      My floor was vinyl and actually still is. 😉 I know this because we have the same floor in our kitchen and it did rip from moving our refrigerator out. That is my next painted floor but this time using a stamp. Linoleum would have been harder and would probably give just as good of results if not better.

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