Can You Stain Laminate Flooring?- Complete Guideline

Laminate flooring is a popular choice for homeowners due to its beautiful, easy to clean, and low-maintenance design. However, it will eventually wear and tear as any other floor and may need some touch-ups and maintenance. Or perhaps you would like to change things up in the room by staining the floor.

Unfortunately, you cannot stain laminate flooring because it is not porous and therefore does not allow the stain to seep in. However, you can change the color by painting the laminate flooring.

There are various ways to spruce up your flooring and give it a brand new and clean look. This article covers why you cannot stain laminate flooring, what you can do to change your flooring, and finally, how to do it.

Why Can’t You Stain Laminate Floors?

Laminate floors are not made of natural wood; and instead, they are an image of wood laminated on a substrate. As a result, laminate surfaces are not porous and do not absorb the stain. If you use an oil-based stain, the liquid will not set and will appear to run on the surface due to lack of absorption.

Why Can’t You Stain Laminate Floors

Paint or Stain

Wood stain is commonly used because it is durable and provides a natural wooden look for your whole floor. Wood stain works best for hardwood floors because it can seep into the wood, not just on the surface. However, the stain won’t work for the surface of laminate floors, but you can use paint instead.

Paint or Stain

You can paint laminate flooring as it does not need to soak into the floor. Instead, the paint only covers the surface, and with the right paint, it can still give off a natural wood look. Seek some professional advice on what paint and color would be best for your floor.

Before You Begin

It would be best to consider a few things before your home improvement quest begins. First, it’s essential to realize that painting your laminate flooring is an arduous process, and it will take considerable time, effort, and equipment to get the job done correctly. If you are a handy person with equipment and know-how, this shouldn’t be a challenge. However, if this is one of your first major home improvement DIYs and you have very little equipment, we recommend getting an expert in to help.

Before You Begin

Consider the cost of buying new equipment, paint and how much time you have to spare to complete the project. Also, understand that once you’ve painted over the flooring, you can’t go back, so take extra time to decide what color and design you want.

Painting a Laminate Flooring

Once you have decided to paint your floor, here are some steps you can follow:

1. Get What You Need

Here are some items you will need to paint your floor:

  • Orbital Sander and Sandpaper: While you could theoretically sand by hand, it would take you days to get any progress done. However, an orbital sander will get the job done quickly and effectively.
  • Wood Filler: Buy a decent wood filler that fills gaps and scratches on your laminate floor.
  • Polyurethane or Silicone Sealant: Get a sealant to prevent any cracks, scuffs, or scratches from the surface of your laminate floors.
  • Primer: It is essential to prime your laminate floor surface before painting. Don’t skimp out on the primer, as the quality of your primer has a significant effect on the outcome.
  • Paint: There are a variety of paints you can use, such as gel stain, spray paint, polyurethane paint, or latex paint. We recommend you go for latex paint in your desired color as it is durable and hardens on top of the surface.
  • Other Tools: Additionally, you will need a painter’s tape, paint tray, paint roller, and an angled paint brush.

2. Clean the Floor

Start by taking all the furniture out of the room. Then, get cleaning! You’ll need to clean the floors thoroughly to remove dust, grime, and dirt. The cleaning process will also reveal if your floors need a revamp or were just in need of a clean.

Clean the Floor

3. Sand the Floor

Using an orbital sander or sandpaper, begin sanding the floor to remove the plastic layer that covers the surface. This top layer prevents stains and dust from seeping into the floor, preventing any paint from sticking to the surface. You don’t have to remove all of the plastic, but just enough that the shine is gone.

4. Touch-Ups and Fixes

Fill any gaps and scratches with the sealer and then sand again for a smooth surface. Unlike with wood floors, where a few holes or cracks can add character, Laminate floors need to be flat and even. Be thorough and check the entire floor as the laminate floor’s surface needs to be level and intact or more cracks and damage can occur.

5. Clean up Again

Make sure you vacuum all the dust and sanded plastic off the floor. It would compromise the paint job and leave the floor looking gritty if any remains. Any sand and dirt left behind could also impact the bonding of the paint and the floor leading to the paint scuffing off easily.

6. Use the Primer

Tape the edges around the room and apply primer to the laminate flooring. It is essential to let the floor dry thoroughly, which generally takes about a day.

Use the Primer

7. Apply the Paint

Finally, we get to the main event. Your old laminate flooring can finally get the new paint job it deserves. Using painter’s tape, cover all the corners and sides around the room. If you deem it necessary, apply a clear coat first. This is particularly important if the color you chose is lighter than the previous color of the floor.

Apply the Paint

Afterward, apply the first coat of latex paint across the laminate floor. Use long and even strokes to paint effectively. Let the coat dry completely and apply a second coat. Most people are satisfied or just worn out by the time the second coat is dry. However, we highly recommend a third coat or even a fourth. With more coats, you will achieve a durable and darker color. Once the floor is completely dry and you’ve achieved your desired color, you’re ready to move on.

8. Use the Sealant

Use several coats of sealant and cover the floor. This will add a thin protective layer that prevents wear and tear from furniture and foot traffic.

9. Move Back in

By now, it’s probably been at least a week of not utilizing the room. As long as the painted laminate floor is dry and you are happy with the results, it’s time to move your furniture back in. Be careful not to drop or scuff because although the laminate floor may look dry, it could still be binding.


While staining laminate flooring is not possible, you can still give it a fresh and glossy finish by painting laminate flooring. A new paint coat is all you need to spruce up your laminate floor, and these tips and steps will get your laminate floor looking brand new in no time.