Linoleum flooring is commonly used in kitchens because it is fairly forgiving of spills and foot traffic. Unfortunately, however, the style of your linoleum may not last as long as the material itself. If your linoleum is out of date, you can always rip it out, though the process is laborious. Painting over linoleum affords a new look to a room at a fraction of the cost. As long as you properly prepare the floor and apply more than one coat, paint can last many year on linoleum.
Clean the floor with equal parts vinegar and water, or TSP soap. Take care not to use large amounts of hot water as you work, as this can cause warping in the floor.
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Sand the floor using a fine-grit sandpaper. Sanding removes the sheen from the linoleum and gives the paint something to grab onto when it is applied.
Clean the floor again with vinegar and water or TSP. The floor will be covered with dust particles created during sanding, and these should not mix with the paint. Allow the floor to dry once you are finished cleaning.
Tape off baseboards and door trim using painter's tape.
Apply a coat of oil-based primer. Whenever possible, use a primer that has a sealer component. If you are planning on applying a final coat of paint in a bright color, ask your home improvement store to tint the primer with some of the final paint color. Use a brush to paint the edges of the flooring and a roller with a long handle to fill in the middle of the floor. Always start painting at the farthest point from an exit so you can paint your way out of the room.
Allow the primer to dry per the manufacturer's instructions. The wait time can be anywhere from a few hours to overnight.
Apply an oil-based paint color using the same method used for priming: Paint the perimeter of the room with a brush and the interior with a roller. In some cases, multiple coats of paint will be required; always let each coat dry per the manufacturer's recommendation before adding another.
Seal the floor with a polyurethane sealant using a roller once the final coat of paint is sufficiently dry, probably after 24 hours. Use three coats of the sealant, allowing each coat to dry before adding the next.
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