Painting Wood Floors – Wood Floor Painting Guide

Posted on Categories:Interior Paint, floor paint, Painting guide, Wood paint
Painting wooden floor guide

When it’s time to redecorate your home, there are a lot of surfaces to choose from. Freshly painted walls, ceilings, radiators, and skirting boards all look amazing, but there’s one surface you should never ignore. Painting wood floors can make them look better than new.

Read on for an explanation of what paint to use for wood floors, and an in-depth guide that will help you get the best results.


  • Painting your floors is a cheap alternative to replacing them!  
  • There are many ways to rejuvenate your floors, including paint, oil, varnish, and stain.
  • Follow our guide for the best results!

Should you Paint Wood Floors?

If your wooden floors are looking worn out, they can let the side down when you’ve been redecorating. Ripping them up is expensive, time consuming, and out of the question for most people.

It’s not only possible to paint wooden floors but recommended! You can not only make them look great but give them an extra layer of protection if you use the right paint for the job. Speaking of which…

What Paint to use on Wood Floors

Because of the porous nature of wood, you need a specific treatment that suits the surface. Thankfully, there are a few options to choose from.

Wood Paint

Wood paint comes in a range of finishes, including matte, satin, semi-gloss, and gloss. It can be used to cover any imperfections in the wood, such as scuffs and scratches, creating an opaque finish.

You can paint your wood floors any colour thanks to our Colour System. Simply enter a British Standard or RAL code and we’ll mix the perfect colour. If you want to be bold with your wooden floors, wood paint is the way to go.

The only downside of wood paint is that, because of the solid finish, you lose the grainy look at the wood surface, which is something to keep in mind if you prefer the authentic look.

Wood Stain

Although more commonly used on exterior wood surfaces like decking and fences, wood stain looks great on wooden floors too. It allows the grain to show through but gives the surface a great freshen-up and adds longevity.

Wood Varnish

Similar to wood stain, varnish adds protection to the surface, making it ideal for wood floors with a lot of foot traffic. It is transparent, so the natural grain and colour shows through, and will look better for longer.

However, if there are scratches and other imperfections, we recommend repairing or removing them before you varnish as they will show through even multiple layers.

Wood Oil

Last but not least, wood oils are the treatment that is kindest to the wood surface. Instead of creating a new layer on top, wood oil seeps into a wooden floor and enhances its natural look.

Like with wood varnish, you should remove as many imperfections as possible before oiling wood floors, but unlike varnish, wood oil comes in a range of colours, giving you more ways to express yourself.

How to Remove Paint from Wood Floors

If your wooden floors have been painted previously, you need to remove the existing layer before you start painting. Normally we’d save this advice for our painting guide, but since there are multiple methods for removing paint from wooden floors, so we’re doing a separate section instead.

If you’ve been doing some decorating recently, it’s easy to get splashes or flecks of paint on your floors, no matter how many dust sheets or towels you put down. If you don’t catch these before they dry, they can be tricky to remove.

You can use soap and water to scrub the dried paint away, applying heat to soften it up if necessary (a hair dryer is the best way!).

If this doesn’t get the job done, use paint thinner/remover, a cloth, and a bit of elbow grease. If the paint is oil-based, this is essential. Make sure the room is well-ventilated before you begin.

For removing a complete layer of paint from wood floors, sanding is the way to go. Sanding the surface down will remove the previous paint, oil, or varnish. Doing it by hand with sandpaper is very time consuming, so it’s best to use an electric sander.

How to Paint Wood Floors

Once you’ve chosen the perfect paint for your wood floors, in the perfect colour, it’s time to get to work.

We recommend reading through our guide a few times first, so there are no surprises or delays. This is a simpler guide than in our other blogs but should still be followed carefully.

Here’s what you’ll need to paint wooden floors:

  • Floor Paint
  • Primer*
  • Electric Sander
  • Wood Filler
  • Paintbrush and Roller
  • Dust Sheets
  • Masking Tape

*Only needed for some wood paints, consult the tin for the manufacturer’s recommendations.

STEP 1 – How to Prep Wood Floors for Painting

First, remove all furniture, carpets, rugs etc. to give yourself plenty of space to work with and complete access to the floorboards.

Next, clean the floors as thoroughly as possible. Any dirt and grime will show through even multiple layers of paint, so removing it earlier will make sure your floors look their best.

STEP 2 – Repairing and Sanding Wood Floors

As mentioned before, if the floors have been painted or varnished in the past, use your electric sander to remove the previous layer and give the paint a better surface to cling to.

Once the floorboards have been sanded, you’ll be able to see any damage. If there are large chips and cracks, use the wood filler to repair them before moving on.

STEP 3 – How to Paint Floorboards

Now for the fun part. Use your masking tape to outline the edges of your floors, so you won’t overlap onto skirting boards or walls and have those professional-looking straight edges.

For large floors, you can also use your tape to split it into sections. This makes it more manageable and allows you to adjust your dust sheets too.

If you need a layer of primer for your wood paint, apply it now and leave it to dry. Use your roller for even coverage.

Load up your roller and start painting, being sure to overlap each stroke for an even finish. For the edges and any tricky areas, switch to the brush so you can reach them more easily.

The type of paint you’re using will determine how many layers are best. Check the manufacturer’s instructions for their suggestion.

STEP 4 – Admire your Painted Floors

Once the final layer has dried, take a step back and admire your newly painted floor. How does it look?

Depending on the type of paint or varnish you used, you’ll either have a solid, bold colour, or have rejuvenated your old floors to make them look as good as new.

The UK’s Most Trusted Paint Supplier

Painting interior floors is one of the most satisfying painting projects you can do. It’s a big job, but more than worth the effort when making your home look fantastic.

For more painting advice and guides, check out our blog. And if you have any questions about us or any of our products, please get in touch.

We’re the no.1 choice for tradespeople, with large quantities of paint available at competitive prices, and we’re loved by domestic painters too!


Can wood floors be painted?

You can paint wooden floors, which is a great alternative to replacing them every few years. Applying a fresh coat of paint not only makes your floors look better, but also protects them from scuffs, scratches, and other general wear.  

Do floorboards need sanding before painting?

Sanding your floors before applying paint is not essential but is recommended. By removing previous layers of paint, you create a smooth surface for the new coat to cling to, and there won’t be any imperfections that can show through.  

Do you need special paint for hardwood floors?

Hardwood floors benefit from specialised wood paint that is designed for floorboards. This paint protects the surface from wearing out, even if there is a lot of foot traffic. Other wood paints can work, but don’t offer the same longevity.  

Does painting wood floors last?

If you use quality paint and primer on your wood floors, you can keep them looking great for a decade or even longer. Plus, if you keep any spare paint, you can cover up any scuffs and scratches easily, making sure they look great for years.  

What colour should I paint wooden floors?

Our wood floor paint is available in any colour, meaning you can match or complement the rest of your home. You can use muted or neutral shades or be bold with bright colours.  

What kind of paint do you use on wood floors?

Wood paint is the best option for wooden floors, but you can also use polyurethane varnish, stain, or oil if you prefer a more natural wood look. It creates a solid finish that protects the surfaces from wear and tear.