DIY: Painting Old Vinyl Floor Tiles

Ever since I painted my old kitchen rug with bold chevron stripes, I’ve been thinking about painting my vinyl bathroom floor tiles. So, I gave it a go and it turned out even better than I thought.  Note: I used porch and floor paint from my local hardware store so as to have a durable finish that will withstand the traffic the floor will be receiving and the whole process cost: $75 along with 6 hours of my time [not including the final drying which was an additional 8 hours, overnight]. We were able to walk on the entire floor 30 minutes after the final coat of paint.  I waited the entire 8 hours before putting anything down onto the newly painted floor.

Bathroom Vinyl Tiles Before:











Here is what the bathroom floor looked like before.  This vinyl floor tile was laid directly over old linoleum and the job was, well, let’s just say, did not appear to be completely professional. Added to that, the old, tired swirly pattern in a dull beige…and I think you can start to get the picture.

Step 1 Preparing the old vinyl: I sanded the vinyl floor tiles with a 180 Ct sandpaper.  After sanding I vacuumed the whole area.

Step 2 Creating tooth on the old vinyl: I deglossed the vinyl floor with a deglosser liquid.  This is is a somewhat caustic process, so be sure to wear protective eye wear, gloves, and be sure the area in which you are working is well ventilated.  I had the overhead fan on the whole time and had another portable fan pulling fresh air into the bathroom. The deglosser is applied with a clean cloth and removes any gloss finish the sandpaper didn’t get.  Steps 1 & 2 creates the ‘tooth’ from your old vinyl tiles and prepares the surface to accept the new primer and paint.

Step 3 Painting prep: I used painter’s tape and taped off the areas I didn’t want the paint to adhere to.

Step 4 Priming the vinyl: Primer is then applied. I used 2 coats and laid each coat on somewhat thinly. It took about 45 minutes between each coat to dry. Check the label on your printer and follow those steps.  The primer is an important step that prepares the vinyl surface for painting.  I used disposable sponge paint brushes, however you could use a roller or traditional brush.











Step 5 White base coat: Since I wanted black and white squares, I next painted on the white base color, over the primer. This time I used a disposable sponge brush and a small roller. The white paint took 2 coats and I allowed 45 minutes between coats for drying.











Step 6 Creating the black squares: Taping off the squares was the most time consuming process.  I followed the old tiles, as my guide, and taped off the tiles I wanted to maintain the white color.











Step 7 Painting the black squares: Next I applied the black paint with another disposable sponge brush.  In order to get the density of black I desired, I applied 2 coats of black, waiting 30 minutes between coats.  After the second coat of black paint went down, I waited another 30 minutes, then pulled up the painting tape.











That is all that is needed.  Except I did go in with a small paint brush and touched-up a couple of areas where the black paint had seeped under the painters tape.

One last time: Painting over vinyl tiles.

Before                                                                 After











The whole bathroom appears bigger, cleaner and the eye is fooled into thinking these are actual tiles, when I just painted over the old vinyl floor tiles.







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19 Responses to DIY: Painting Old Vinyl Floor Tiles

  1. izzy September 7, 2014 at 9:38 pm #

    I do not believe you could remove the paint without a lot of messy work. If you are concerned about your deposit, perhaps this technique is not for you.

  2. izzy September 7, 2014 at 9:36 pm #

    I suggest you seal the painted tiles. If I do this again, I will add sealant. Good luck, Mary

  3. Lynn July 20, 2014 at 3:01 pm #

    Hi, I love your floor! I have black marble tile in my basement. I have fixed like a soda shop. I wanted the black and white tiles, but, very expensive! So I followed you idea and taped off the ones I wanted to keep black marble. Then I sanded the others and then painted them white. I am concerned about scuff marks on the white tiles. I used Behr floor and porch paint, but, I am wondering if I should seal the white ones so they don’t get black scuff marks on them. I am also concerned about the sealer making the white tiles look yellowed. I Had that problem with some white painted trim. Do you have any suggestions?

    Thanks, Lynn

  4. izzy May 19, 2014 at 4:28 pm #

    I did not remove the paint when I left the apartment. I did have permission, from my landlord, to paint before I began. I suggest you do the same, so you will get your down payment back. Good luck.

  5. Amberlynn Lopez May 19, 2014 at 4:25 pm #

    How do you remove the paint? I live in an apartment and I am afraid I wont get my deposit back.

  6. izzy October 8, 2013 at 5:40 am #

    It’s true and the paint is holding up really well. Your little bit of space is the perfect place to give this a try. Good luck!

  7. Carolyn October 8, 2013 at 1:26 am #

    I LOVE this idea! Who knew you could paint vinyl floors? I didn’t know what to do with the little bit of space at front door entry way…old and ugly! I am truly inspired now! THANK YOU!

  8. Debbie W October 6, 2013 at 11:00 pm #

    Mary, this looks beautiful. Thank you for sharing your experience.

  9. izzy August 23, 2013 at 7:36 am #

    That’s a good question Julia. For me, the paint was less expensive. However, IF you could get a good deal on new tile, that might be cheaper. You would have to price that out. Plus, I am renting and I didn’t want to invest much into the floor.

  10. julia August 22, 2013 at 12:57 pm #

    Price wise, was this floor less expensive that a new vinyl floor tile would be?

  11. izzy July 12, 2013 at 7:15 am #

    The paint is hold up very, very well. Occasionally I do tiny touch ups when there are small nicks. I used floor paint and I also primed it with a primer called ‘Kilz’- which contains a mildew resistent compound. Every paint store and/or hardware store carries this brand. I also did my kitchen floor in this same manner. I love the look of black and white tile.

  12. Mrs Gladysz July 11, 2013 at 10:43 am #

    How has the paint job held up with wear and tear – foot traffic, water spills, humidity, etc. ?

  13. izzy October 29, 2012 at 8:37 am #

    I used a mildew resistant primer called KILZ. But any mildew resistant primer, you will find in the paint department will work. The floor is holding up beautifully. In fact, I painted my kitchen floor as well.

  14. Bonney Little October 29, 2012 at 2:26 am #

    What primer did you use? And is it still holding up?

  15. izzy June 28, 2012 at 5:28 pm #

    The ‘outside edges’ of the old tiles showed enough so I could use them as a guide as I painted over them. By applying the primer, most of the imperfections-on the old tile surface- were covered. I would highly recommend this for a ‘cheap’ covering to an old vinyl floor. Good luck if you try it.

  16. g June 28, 2012 at 2:56 pm #

    pretty cool, can you see the lines and imperfections of the old tiles through the paint?


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