I Painted and Stenciled My Vinyl Floor!

6 Materials
7 Days

Hello Everyone -

I did it again, I painted another bathroom floor!icon Yup, you can do it also, with perseverance, determination, and a whole lot of caffeine ... you can do this. If this 60-year-old can do it, so can you! Hey, if you are younger than me, I KNOW you can do this!

We moved into our home two years ago and I have hated the vinyl bathroom floor ever since I walked in the door. The walls in the bathroom were yellow (future post) and the floor was this yellowish, brownish, blah, blah, blah, nasty looking cheap ... need I say more... I hated it. Thank goodness I have a husband that trusts me when I say that I am going to paint something. Or maybe he was just tired of listening to me complain for two years, lol.

Four years ago I painted and stenciled the ceramic tile in our bathroom and it turned out great. Our son and his wife bought our home (complete with two toddlers) and I am able to say that the floor is still holding up wonderful. Here is the post on that project: https://www.hometalk.com/diy/paint/i-painted-and-stenciled-my-ceramic-tile-30107044

Disclaimer: I am not a professional painter, nor do I get any commission of anything that I use when doing my projects. I am a life long DIY'er that has always tried to accomplish projects all on a budget.

UPDATE: Originally I posted this as painting linoleum flooring, however, after one of the first questions regarding whether this is a linoleum or vinyl floor. The flooring is a vinyl sheet (house was built in the 90's) that covers the entire room. So if you see the word linoleum in this post, I was too lazy to go through and proof any further. icon

It took me two years to get up the gumption and energy to tackle this project because I knew what I would be facing.

Now, I am not going to mince words and you have to remember that I am a retired 60-year-old woman that does not work out at the gym, likes to eat doughnuts, have a beer or whiskey old fashion now and then (more now) and I swear a lot! In other words, I will not lie, but this project kicked my butt! After much swearing and asking myself why the heck I didn't just hire to have this ugly linoleum floor just replaced, I completed it and I am happy with the end result.

Following are the steps that I did for this DIY. Sit back, get your coffee, doughnut or perhaps a glass of wine and read the details and you will see why it took me two years to start this project.

Alright, onto the details and steps I followed. You do NOT want to skip these steps or YOU will be the one swearing.

Wear Gloves and a Mask for the prep work.

  1. CLEAN! CLEAN! CLEAN! Clean that darn floor with a good degreaser. Wearing gloves, I used TSP (trisodium phosphate) to scrub the hell out of the floor.
  2. Sand the floor! That's right, I said to sand the floor. You want your primer to "grab" the linoleum. I used my palm sander, with 180 grit sandpaper. Trust me, you don't want to hand sand your floor, a palm sander is much easier and it doesn't take that long.
  3. Vacuum and CLEAN the floor again with TSP. You are going to have dust and dirt from sanding that cannot be on the floor.

Step 4:

Once the floor is dry, VACUUM again and then apply a Deglosser. This is the product that I used which I purchased at Menards. I followed the instructions on the container and let it dry.

This is a step that you do not want to skip!! I did a lot of research on painting linoleum flooring and many people said you need to do this step or the paint will not stick to the floor. You do not want to go through all this work and have the paint start chipping.

With this particular product, the container said no need to sand...I did not want to take any chances and still sanded.icon

Step 5: Vacuum and then PRIME! I used Kilz Oil base primer and was happy as a clam just to see a white floor versus the ugly yellow. Paint TWO coats of Primer. Let the first coat dry over night before applying the second coat and let dry over night.

Spoiler Alert: IF you have pets, this is where you get pissed off!! Keep an Angled paint brush (the tip of a brush will grab the hair) and a Lint roller handy because no matter how many times you vacuum you are going to have pet hair filtering onto the floor as you paint. I have a black lab and as sweet as she is, she is a hairy beast.

Step 6: The next day, before starting your base coat, SWEEP the floor really well for any dust or hair that may have settled. I painted one coat of this Behr, Concrete and Garage Floor Paint and let it dry over night. The following day, I swept and painted a second coat, letting it dry over night.

Before Primer and Base Coat
After Primer and Base coat...Much Better!!

Step 7: Start stenciling!! Woo Hoo! Finally, you can start having some fun and being creative. I used the "Santa Anna Tile" by Cutting Edge Stencils and I love it!! Cutting Edge Stencils is such a great source for stencils. If you get on their mailing list, they will send you deals (which is when I order) that you just can't refuse. AND it gets your creative juices flowing for the next project. Again, I am not getting any commission, I just really like their products.

The trick to stenciling is this: Don't have a lot of paint on your roller or brush. Have paper toweling by you to roll off the excess paint. Too much paint will bleed under the stencil.

Side note: wear socks! If you have painted toes and you are not wearing socks you will mark the floor with streaks of polish. Not cool!

Use Chalk paint for stenciling!! The first floor I did four years ago I used chalk paint and had no problems when doing the topcoat. The reason I didn't use chalk paint was that I would have had to drive over an hour to get some and I was too lazy. USE Chalk Paint!! I will explain in Step 9 what happened to me. icon

The paint I used for this project was a can of paint I already had in the house, Benjamin Moore in Peppercorn. Just happens to be the color of the walls (future post).

I painted the full "tiles" first because I was going to have to cut up the stencil to go around the edge of the room.

Please take note of the tight space around this toilet. I am 5'6" and I am not going to say my size. Let's just say, I did a LOT of swearing trying to contort my body into that darn corner and it wasn't pretty, lol!icon The brown door by the way is our toiletries and linen closet.

Going around the toilet is probably the trickiest part. I just folded the stencil up the sides of the toilet and used a brush to do this part.

You are going to pick up and move your stencil around the area you are working, basically hopscotching around because you have to wait for each "tile" to dry before you stencil next to each of the tiles.

Stenciling took me three days to complete. The third day was for touching up all the parts where the paint did bleed a little under the stencil.

As to the touching up, I am a little OCD and used a little brush to go around the room and touch up the spots. Believe me, it makes a big difference doing this step, no matter how much your body is killing you. Then you just get to the point where you say, "Okay, I'm done, good enough"! icon

Step 8: FINALLY apply the topcoat/sealer!! This is the product that I used for sealing the floor. Again, once your stencil is dry (wait overnight) sweep the floor and have a lint roller handy while applying the sealer. You are going to brush this on. Do not brush back and forth as if you are painting. Just lightly brush on in one direction.

Apply 2-3 coats of this product. I applied 3 coats.

**Here is why I am saying to use chalk paint: A few "tiles" on the floor were running/smearing when I applied the first coat of this sealer. This was really weird because the majority of the floor the sealer went on great. I did not have this happen on the first floor that I painted, which I had used chalk paint on. When I applied the second and third coat of sealer it went on fine. Perhaps I was "brushing" back and forth or applying too much pressure, not sure, all I know is that if anyone asks me, I would recommend using chalk paint versus a latex paint.

And here she is in all her glory!! DONE!! and yes, the tub is almond. If you don't like how it looks, don't look. LOL! Truthfully, in our last house, I DID paint the bathtub white and it held up great, ummm I was younger then also.

Another shot of the final project...

And another shot of the final project.

So there you have it. Sorry, I was a little long-winded with details but I wanted to be sure to cover everything, including my mistakes and frustrations.

Would I do this again? Nope, not even for my kids. I'm getting too damn old and cranky. If we were to buy another house and I hated the flooring, I would pay to have it ripped out and replaced. Am I glad I did it? Yes, I am happy that I did it because I have wanted to do it for two long years and I saved us a ton of money (I guess I should have done it two years ago when I was two years younger right??!).

In all seriousness, anyone can do this, really, that is why I posted this. In my case, I found out my knees and hips don't like being in those positions for 7-8 hours a day. icon Gee, perhaps now would be a good time to join that stupid gym right?

I love posting projects for people to see that you can make a huge change in your home with a little elbow grease and paint. Don't be afraid to try something new, that is the beauty of paint and DIY's. This is my motto: If you don't like how it turns out either paint over it or rip it out. Obviously, you didn't like the item to begin with so what is the difference.

Thanks for reading my post. I hope I inspired you to tackle a spring project!! Let me know your thoughts and if you have any questions.

Have a great day and Happy DIYing! icon

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  • Mary Jo Mary Jo on Feb 09, 2021

    Ha! You young whipper snapper. I’m 70 and am seriously 🤔 thinking about doing this in a small bathroom that was my daughters. I figure if I mess it up, no one will see it anyway...hmmm. Would you like a mini vacation to the REAL So. California? SanDiego, I have a pool, that’s a hint. Did it work ? I’ll keep you supplied with beer/wine and lots of snacks??? All your detail was amazing. I’ve read a lot of hints from others, but yours is the most complete and detailed of them all. Super informative. Thank you for taking the time to write it all out. Hope to see you soon...😃

  • Sarah Sarah on Feb 09, 2021

    Can you use the same instructions for a ceramic tile floor?

  • Latagn Latagn on Feb 10, 2022

    Love it! 67 here! I have those horrible rubber tiles from the 50s and thought about the floor paint. How do you think doing the stencil design also in floor paint would work? Also a bathroom, and possibly a bedroom, and maybe a hallway, and maybe another 2 bedrooms...

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