Painting wooden floors can be tricky. It isn’t quite like painting a wall or a cabinet. For starters, floors get A LOT of foot traffic. Literally. Additionally, floors are frequently being swept, mopped, and cleaned. How exactly do you choose ideal paint for wooden floors? Is there even an ideal paint for wooden floors?

Here are some of our favorite pro tips for painting wooden floors. From floor paint to a gloss varnish, this should cover pretty much everything (even for those who have a latex allergy and need latex free paint). Let’s start with the basics.

Types of Paint for Wooden Floors (and colors): The first thing that most people wonder is what the ideal paint for wooden floors is. Typically, an oil based paint is best for wooden flooring projects. The reason oil based is best is because of its durability. As mentioned earlier, wooden floors tend to get a lot of foot traffic, cleaning, sweeping, etc. Because of this, a durable paint that won’t scratch and fade easily is important. However, oil paints typically have a high VOC (volatile organic compounds) count, and might be prohibited in some states. Some of the advantages of using an oil based paint are that it is highly scratch and stain resistant, it lasts longer, and it can take heavy foot traffic without fading.

Pro tips here: get a paint that has polyurethane in it. This is especially important for slightly humid environments as it adds strength and durability to the paint. If you cannot find a paint that contains polyurethane, you can always apply a coat of it afterward. Do NOT use paint that is not meant for floors. No matter how tempting it is, or how perfect the color matches. To make sure you get it right, chose a color first, then just ask your local expert to find you a hardwood floor paint that matches that color.

High quality paint is also important. During home improvement ventures, quality matters. It might be tempting to save a few bucks in the short run by going with a cheaper paint; however, cheaper paints are often void of activators and solids, which increase the durability of the paint. They may also be high in VOCs, which are bad news for pets and children, who spend more time closer to the floor. Look for high quality, eco friendly exterior floor paints without VOCs.

Ok, now that you know a bit more about the ideal paint for wooden floors, let’s talk color. Currently, more neutral color pallets are in. While the color choice is ultimately up to you, it is important the paint on wood floors match the other design elements of the interior of your home. Dark wooden floors often look great by keeping more of their natural color and are complimented great by paints that match the color of the wood and help it look brand new. If you are a looking for something a little more creative, stripes can often help a bathroom or kitchen look longer, and diamonds can even make a room look larger than it actually is.

Should You Use A Primer? Great question. There is a bit of confusion when it comes to using primers on wooden floors. Here is a general rule of thumb: if the floor still has its previous coat of paint, and there are no places where the bare wood is exposed, primers are not necessary. However, if the previous coat of paint is worn through in spots, it is a good idea to put a primer on at least the affected area, if not the entire floor. When using a primer, match the type of primer with the type of paint being used. For example, if using an oil based paint, use an oil based primer.

After you have primed and painted the wooden floor, the finish is next. Getting a high quality finish on a wooden floor can help add extra durability and life as well as bring out a beautiful color that helps compliment the entire room.


If you have further questions about how to properly paint wooden floors, give us a call. We would be happy to help you find all the necessary supplies and colors of paint, primer, and finish to help bring together an excellent look for your wooden floors.

Leave a Reply