How to paint floorboards

Give your home a refresh with a coat of paint on your floorboards

Painting your floorboards is a simple and cost-effective way to transform any room in your home. There are many reasons why you might want to paint your floorboards. Painted floorboards are a great alternative to laminate or carpet for anyone looking to create a rustic or industrial style home. It’s also cheaper than standard flooring styles and can be easily changed later. As a result, painted floorboards are ideal if you’re not sure what look you want to go for, or you want to remove the carpets in a new home but aren’t ready to install more permanent flooring.

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What kind of paint do you use on floorboards?

To get the best finish, we recommend choosing a specialist wood floor paint. These paints have been specifically designed to deal with the foot traffic, furniture movements and day to day wear your floorboards will receive.

Floorboard paint colours

Before you paint your floorboards you’ll need to choose a colour. This can have a dramatic effect on the look and feel of your home, so it’s important to get it right. Lighter colours such as white and light grey will make a room feel brighter, but will show scuffs and dirt. Darker colours can make a room feel warm and cosy, but could create a gloomy atmosphere if there isn’t adequate natural light. It’s also important to consider how the floor colour will interact with your walls and furniture.

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How to paint floorboards



  1. Prepare the room
  2. Repair damaged floorboards
  3. Sand the floor
  4. Cut in the edges
  5. Paint the rest of the room

1. Prepare the room

Before you can paint your floorboards, you'll need to first prepare the room by removing any furniture. Once you've started painting, you'll need to leave the paint for a number of hours to dry between coats, so it's important to consider alternative arrangements while the room is out of action. If you're painting your bedroom, can you move your bed somewhere else? If you're painting your kitchen floor, do you need to take out some food first? If you're painting your hallway, can you access the rest of your home?

2. Repair damaged floorboards

Before painting your floorboards, it's a good idea to check their condition. If they're loose or damaged, they'll be harder to paint. If there are any holes in your floorboards, you can use wood filler to fill them in and achieve a smooth finish. If you have loose floorboards, check for any pipework or cables underneath, then secure them with nails or screws. If you've recently taken up a carpet, you may also need to remove staples and carpet grippers. For more information on lifting and repairing floorboards, take a look at our guide.

Do I need to fill in gaps between floorboards before painting?

You don't need to fill in the gaps between your floorboards before painting them. Filling them in will bring a different aesthetic to your floor and can prevent dust buildup in the gaps, but it isn't necessary.

3. Sand the floorboards

Once you've repaired your floorboards, you’ll need to sand them down ready for painting. Before you start sanding, it’s a good idea to seal off the room from the rest of your home using dust sheets to stop dust spreading as much as possible. There are a number of different ways you can sand your floor. You could use a small electric sander, or if you have a large room you might want to hire a professional floor sander and edging sander. Whichever you choose, use a medium to light sandpaper depending on the condition of your boards. When sanding, wear an appropriate dust mask and eye protection. Once you’ve sanded the entire floor, vacuum all dust and give the floor a mop to ensure it’s completely clean before applying paint.

Whether you’re sprucing up your floorboards or carrying out some maintenance, consider hiring a floor sander for your next project. 


4. Cut in the edges

The first step to painting your floor is cutting in the edges using a paintbrush. Cutting in first allows you to paint the rest of the floor much faster and will ensure you get a smooth finish at the edges. Before painting, you can add masking tape to your skirting boards to protect them from any paint splatters.

Do you need to prime floorboards before painting?

Whether you need to prime your floorboards largely depends on the type of floor paint you’ve chosen. Before applying your first coat, check the paint tin to see if a coat of primer is required.

5. Paint the rest of the room

To paint the rest of the room, you can use a paintbrush. However, for the best finish and fastest application we recommend using a roller. Start at the furthest corner of the room and paint towards the door to avoid painting yourself into a corner. Once you’ve applied your first coat of floor paint, refer to the instructions on your paint tin for information on how many coats you’ll need to apply. Most floor paints will need at least two coats.
Once you’ve finished painting, be sure to check how long you need to wait to walk on your newly painted floor. You may also have to wait even longer for the paint to harden enough for you to move furniture back into the room.
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Top tip: floor stencils

If you want to add a personal touch to your floor, try adding a pattern using a tile stencil.

If all went to plan, you'll now have a set of perfectly painted floorboards! Now all that's left to do is complete the look with a rug, floor lamp and curtains.

If you want to paint other types of flooring including concrete, laminate and tiles, take a look at our guide to painting floors.