Asked on Oct 08, 2015

Paint on hardwood floors?

My roommate bought her home and it needs a lot of work. She's a senior on a fixed income so we're trying to do it ourselves as cheap as possible. The floors look like someone just splattered paint everywhere. Aside from getting an industrial sander and refinishing the whole house what else could we try? Even if we have to do small sections at a time, over time. Any ideas would be appreciated.
Some spots are worse than this. We don't want to paint over the whole floor because it just shows scraps and wear marks over time as seen in next photo.
She did paint over the whole floors in the bedrooms but the paint is slowly coming off.
  37 answers
  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Oct 08, 2015
    There is a product available called rejuvenate for all types of flooring.Home depot carried this in the past. Try that It should not be to expensive.
  • Moxie Moxie on Oct 08, 2015
    Oh you can so paint the floors and make them fabulous with elbow grease and some paint (and blue tape or stencil if you want to make them gorgeous) All you need to do is fill in any nicks, holes, deep scratches with wood filler, sand flush after it dries, prime the floor with zinsser (2 coats), paint with Valspar porch and floor paint, add boarders at the perimeter & design with stencil in the field if you like, and then add at least 3 coats of Varathane super clear satin poly. Each coat dries pretty quick - and you can start and stop without it being noticeable. I painted my plywood floors and I just love them. Google painted or stenciled floors for some inspiration! Good luck and enjoy the process : )
  • First, you have to scrape off the tried paint. It's tedious work. You can try some stuff call "latex paint remover" it's in a spray bottle in the paint section. Not sure if it will affect the finish on the floor tho. Get a small putty knife, and scrape (go easy) the paint off little by little. If the flooring has any type of clear coat on it, the rejuvenate stuff won't have an effect. That's for actual wood. Can't really tell if that is hardwood, engineered hardwood or a pre-finished wood floor. You can rent a floor sander and do the work yourself. Plenty of youtube videos on how to refinish hardwood floors. Watch a few of them and you should have your answer. but for now? just scrape off the paint and give it a good cleaning.
  • Z Z on Oct 08, 2015
    As for the paint splatters, they'll loosen with a steam mop. I know this because my hubby and son splattered our oak floors with paint while painting the ceiling in our Sunroom. We didn't have near as many splatters as your friend has, but it's certainly doable. If she doesn't have a steam mop hopefully someone in her family or a friend does. Once steamed, you'll need to very carefully use a metal scraper to slide them loose. If you don't pick them up, they'll restick when dry. The already painted floor will need to be sanded and either repainted or stained. Add a few coats of polyurethane to protect it.
    • See 3 previous
    • Z Z on Oct 08, 2015
      @Thank you Shari.
  • DEB S DEB S on Oct 08, 2015
    If you would like them to look like hardwood again, rent a floor sander. Then stain and poly. Well under $500.
  • Jonnie Hammon Jonnie Hammon on Oct 09, 2015
    The steam mop is a good idea, but first great each spot with vinegar/lemon, or vinegar/orange. Just let it set for a few minutes, to work on the paint, then steam mop it. If you have a plastic scraper, like what is used to remove ice from window on your car, you might be able to just scrape most of it off, before you steam it, or after, if some is slow to come off.
  • Moxie Moxie on Oct 09, 2015
    Paint per sf is not expensive comparred to refinishing the wood which is what was alluded to and i didt see an actual budget so it is all relative. I think this forum is to share ideas with others which is what i did. Unless actual budget information is provided you dont know if yhey are restricted to just cleaning since they painted in the past it implied desire to paint but without failure. My floors have been in place for years and doing great.
  • Joanie Joanie on Oct 09, 2015
    Try rubbing alcohol. Let it set on the paint for a few, it should come right up.
  • Wanda.ll Wanda.ll on Oct 09, 2015
    DON"T PAINT over them. Take time to sand and refinish. Those look like oak wood floors from the 60-70's and well worth refinishing will last a life time.Well worth doing it right even if takes while.
  • Kathy Quear Kathy Quear on Oct 09, 2015
    We have ALWAYS had good luck mixing fabric softner with warm water and spraying on our paint, wait a few minutes and scrape with a plastic putty knife and it comes right up. It softnens the paint.
    • Dee Dee on Oct 09, 2015
      @Kathy Quear This is what I do too. And if this doesn't work I use rubbing alcohol and a plastic scraper. A plastic spatula from the dollar works well because of the handle
  • Ella Ella on Oct 09, 2015
    For right now buy an inexpensive rug and save the money and refinish later.
  • Greg Edwards Greg Edwards on Oct 09, 2015
    If she wants to try and save the finish of the floors, you can try Goof Off- It may be an inexpensive alternative. The fabric softener trick may also help if you mix a small amount of mineral spirits into it. Only apply either of these fixes with a soft rag. They MAY leave dull spots in the floor's finish. If they do, you can take a small amount of clear polyurethane, test it in a spot that you can cover if need be, and try going over the existing finish to match it in the dull spots. Again, use a soft cloth, this will only put a small amount on the floor at a time. A brush will be too much.
  • Margaret Zibura Margaret Zibura on Oct 09, 2015
    This looks exactly like ours did when we bought our house. We could not afford to re-do them so here is what we did. Just lay a damp cloth over the paint splatter drops, just for about 10 min. then rub the paint off, you may need a putty knife to scrape some off, but that is what we did and now our floors look just like new. We did put liquid Johnson's floor wax on them when done. Haven't had to do anything else in 10 years.
  • Robin Robin on Oct 09, 2015
    Look for a video on You Tube where a man uses Zep Heavy Duty Floor Stripper. You dilute this product ($9.98 at Home Depot). I buy a $5.00 sponge mop and a $3.00 refill at Family Dollar and have completed several floors using this method. Have steel wool on hand for the stubborn spots. Goof Off works well but can quickly take the finish off if you are not careful and is very expensive for an entire room. Looking at your picture I believe sanding is overkill on these floors (as well as time consuming and difficult to get right and EXPENSIVE. After cleaning a coat or two of poly should do the trick. Good luck.
  • Pepsigirl13 Pepsigirl13 on Oct 09, 2015
    If you can get the paint splatters off using the methods above, rent a floor buffer and see if you can wax the floor to get it back to a good place. Other than the splatters, the floor looks great! Also, if you opt to paint you need to use the correct product, not any old paint. Benjamin Moore and others have product lines specifically for floors which is specially formulated to adhere and wear well. Using wall or ceiling paint will only make you miserable. Good luck.
  • Sue moore Sue moore on Oct 09, 2015
    We just had the same experience with a house. My husband used liquid hand soap on a rag and after a little rubbing, it came right off. He also said to use baby oil or lanolin to soften the paint and it will wipe right off.
  • Anitaareare Anitaareare on Oct 09, 2015
    I did the same thing! I used rubbing alcohol and it came right up
  • on Oct 09, 2015
    The Magic Eraser by Mister Clean works too. If you both feel you need to refinish the floor after the paint has been removed, you'll find a few cheap DIY ideas here:
  • SG SG on Oct 09, 2015
    I"ve had paint on hardwood..even the old kind that was just waxed. It cane off by scraping with my fingernail. Very tedious but it worked. Try the simplest first. Magic eraser sounds good too. Keep removed paint together with a slightly damp cloth and shake out frequently. Enlist the help of friends with a paint removing party. I think you'll have to do the same with the floor you painted. Ask me how I know LOL Expect you didn't prime it.
  • Rosemary Kelly Rosemary Kelly on Oct 09, 2015
    A heat gun would work. They are about $20. You just do the spots. They peel right off.
  • Kerry Wilde Kerry Wilde on Oct 09, 2015
    Goof Off is wonderful for this.
  • Tui1373853 Tui1373853 on Oct 09, 2015
    I had the a messy painter (one of my teenage kids) he got paint drops on our hardwood floor i tried alchohol and rubbing with a towel
  • Judyms9 Judyms9 on Oct 09, 2015
    You may have to try Goof Off, a heat gun to soften some of the spots, and a credit card scraper. If you can avoid using chemicals and are light handed with the other methods you may salvage the floor so nothing else would be required except perhaps an inexpensive area rug.
  • Sue Sue on Oct 09, 2015
    Try vinegar and let it soak for a while. It loosened paint drips from my laminate floor. I used a spoon to scrape with and it didn't scratch.
  • Lynn Berry Lynn Berry on Oct 09, 2015
    I also used Vinegar & soap on mine. My house is 58 yrs old & has about that many coats of paint on the wall & floor. Took some elbow grease to get it done with a good scraper that doesn't gouge. Well worth the time it took & I now have my wood floors looking good!
  • Patricia Trish Royer Patricia Trish Royer on Oct 09, 2015
    Buy some 'Awesome' cleaner. Sells at Dollar Tree, Family Dollar and Dollar General. this stuff really is awesome! It removes paint and cleans just about any and everything. It's cheap and very effective. I would spray it on, set about 5 minutes and use a nylon bristle brush or non-scratch pad to rub it off. Best of luck!
    • See 1 previous
    • Patricia Trish Royer Patricia Trish Royer on Oct 10, 2015
      @Patricia Trish Royer I use it full strength when removing paint. Be sure to rinse with a damp sponge & dry each area right away with a paper towel or soft cloth. Don't saturate your floor with water or the floor boards will warp (known as cupping).
  • I have had great success with rubbing alcohol. just dab some on to wet the paint and let sit for a couple minutes or more and then use your fingernail to peel off (works great for latex paint_) good luck
  • Tmc1320449 Tmc1320449 on Oct 09, 2015
    Goof-Off worked for me.
  • Victoria Victoria on Oct 09, 2015
    I pulled up stairwell carpeting to repair really squeaky treads and found that they were oak. Thrilled even though they had been sprayed white when the stringers were painted. I found that rubbing alcohol takes off latex paint with a cotton cloth pretty fast. It didn't harm the tread stain either, just cleaned them. Just don't go striking a match till it dries....
  • Jennie Herrick Jennie Herrick on Oct 10, 2015
    What I've found to work the best to remove paint from hardwood flooring is acetone. It's very inexpensive, costing only about $3 for a gallon (which will probably take care of a couple rooms worth of floors). Just put some acetone on a rag and wipe the paint off the floor. Then what I always did to keep the acetone from harming the floors and drying them out, I would wipe the area with some Murphys Oil Soap to clean up the acetone and remousturize the wood. I hope this helps you! Good luck!!
  • Liliana Wells Liliana Wells on Oct 10, 2015
    I like the acetone idea. I have used is to clean wood before painting. Open the window when using it. It has pretty potent fumes.
  • Kristin Topping Kristin Topping on Oct 15, 2015
    A nice coat of paint would be just the thing to hide the scars, pits, and patches; and fill in the cracks and seal up this rickety old floor. Make sure your floor hasn’t been waxed before painting,and remove the wax if it has. Follow these steps when painting a floor: Thoroughly vacuum and damp-mop the floors, to remove all the dust. Allow them to dry completely. Wash the floor with a powdered detergent cleaner to remove all dust and deposits.
  • CK CK on Oct 28, 2017

    Ours looked like this too when we ripped off the carpet and padding. We cleaned it really really well. Then used an all purpose primer followed by 2 coats of latex porch and floor paint. It's holding up extremely well now after 3 years...and 3 dogs.

  • Fauxgal Fauxgal on Oct 28, 2017

    IF it is acrylic paint, then white rubbing alcohol. Pour some on a white terry cloth, and dribble some on the floor where the spots are, and then rub away.

    It will come off after a bit of elbow grease IF it is acrylic.

  • Bobbie Bobbie on Oct 28, 2017

    Denatured alcohol is supposed to work if you let the alcohol soak the stain and then use a brush to scrub. Basic all purpose cleaners like Mr. Clean and Simple Green can be used by wetting the dried paint with warm water, applying the liquid soap, and then scraping with a blunt edge (like an old credit card).

  • Hughes Dylan Hughes Dylan on Nov 18, 2019

    Removing Paint from Hardwood Floors Using Rubbing Alcohol and Lemon Juice

    The steps that will be mentioned below will be applicable if you are removing latex paint on hardwood floors:

    1. Create your own cleaning mix, which should be composed of a ¼ cup of lemon juice and ¾ cup of rubbing alcohol.
    2. To start with, remove as much paint as you could from the floor. Use a plastic scraper. Make sure that it has no sharp edges that could scratch the floor.
    3. Dip an old toothbrush on the cleaning mix that you have earlier created. Scrub the rest of the paint on the floor.
    4. Depending on the paint, you might need to repeat the previous step several times.
    5. Finish off by rubbing the surface with a clean cloth to be sure that no traces of paint remain.