If you have fading linoleum or you want a different color, you don't have to replace it. Replacing linoleum can get costly. It is possible to paint an oil-based paint over the linoleum and give it a new look. It is easy enough for a novice. Here are tips to paint a linoleum floor. 

Prepare to Work

For this project, you need:

  • work gloves
  • safety glasses
  • painter's tape
  • tarp or plastic
  • broom and dustpan
  • commercial linoleum cleaner or trisodium phosphate
  • sponge mop bucket
  • medium-grit sandpaper
  • paint brushes
  • paint roller tray
  • anti-skid additive (optional)
  • deglosser (optional)
  • bonding primer or oil-based primer
  • porch paint or oil based paint

Ensure your floor is in good enough condition to be painted. Wavy linoleum usually needs replacing .If the floor looks in good condition, proceed to paint.

Open a window to ventilate, or wear a dust mask  Cover things you don't want touched by paint with linoleum and plastic. Cover trim and outlets with painter's tape.

Sweep debris off the surface. Mix trisodium phosphate--according to directions--in a bucket or use a commercial cleaner. 

Mop the surface to remove stains and grease. Rinse the trisodium phosphate or cleaner with a clean bucket of cool water, then let it dry. Apply a deglosser to remove extra gloss.


Sand the surface of the floor with medium-grit sandpaper. Sanding removes wax that you may not notice, and it helps the materials bond better. If the room is large, a hand sander will make the sanding go faster.

Sweep or vacuum sand dust.  If you use bonding primer, you can skip the sanding.

Prime and Paint

Plan a path out of the room to avoid walking on wet primer or paint. Use a paintbrush to apply a thin layer of bonding primer or oil-based primer. Apply it two or three inches from the walls. If you prefer, attach an extension pole to the brush, so you can stand up while working. 

Pour the primer in a paint tray, and brush in the rest on the remaining floor with the roller. Let the primer dry, which commonly takes two to three hours. Add another coat, if needed.

If you are painting stairs or a laundry room, stir an anti-skid paint additive in the paint. Paint within two or three inches of the floor edges using a paint brush. Add paint to the roller tray, and paint the floor edges. Let the paint dry.

Avoid walking barefoot on the surface for two weeks, or setting heavy appliances on it for several days, so the surface has time to cure. Floors may feel dry, but they still may not be cured.

Treat the linoleum floor well by placing mats under chairs and table legs. If you don't trust your skill, or you think the floor needs replacing, hire a general contractor from a place like Parsa Construction.