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How To Whitewash Vinyl Laminate Flooring

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You have probably heard of whitewashing as a way to restore the look of wood flooring. And now, you are thinking of doing the same on vinyl laminate, but would it work? Absolutely, but there's a proper way of doing it. If you're at this post to learn how to whitewash vinyl laminate flooring, then you won't be disappointed. That's exactly what we researched to compile information for you! 

Applying a whitewash on vinyl laminate flooring is a straightforward process. It should not take you long if you have a small area to cover. You also need just basic tools and materials to make it work. You need to do the following steps to successfully whitewash a vinyl laminate floor:

  1. Clean the vinyl laminate floor.
  2. Sand the floor using medium-grit sandpaper.
  3. Remove sanding dust with a vacuum.
  4. Cover the bottom edge of the walls with painter's tape.
  5. Apply whitewash on the floor using a roller brush.
  6. Seal the floor using water-based varnish.

The process sounds pretty simple, right? But we suggest that you continue reading to know every important detail of whitewashing vinyl laminate flooring. 

Herringbone PVC flooring with decoration in the living room with beautiful set up of sofa, How To Whitewash Vinyl Laminate Flooring

How To Whitewash Vinyl Laminate Flooring

Not all ways to restore flooring require huge spending. Applying a whitewash is not only for hardwood floors now. You can turn the look of your vinyl laminate floor into something more appealing and even rustic with a simple whitewash job.

If you want to proceed with this floor makeover, the first thing you should do is prepare the tools and materials.

Things You'll Need:

  • white latex paint
  • water
  • roller brush or paint brush
  • water-based vinyl
  • mild detergent
  • scrubbing pad
  • vacuum
  • medium-grit sand
  • dry cloth

Now that you know what tools and materials to use, the next thing you should learn is how to make a whitewash. You may start mixing your whitewash just when you are ready to apply it to the floor.

Empty room with whitewashed floating laminate flooring and newly painted white wall

How to Make a Whitewash

It should not be complicated to make a whitewash paint at all. It only requires two ingredients: water and white latex paint. All you need to do is combine water and paint in a container.

A 1:1 ratio will give you an almost clear whitewash look. You can add or reduce the amount of paint according to your liking. Then, to test the whitewash pigment, you may apply a thin coat to a hidden floor area. 

On the other hand, there's another interesting way to make whitewash that does not use paint. Instead, you will need powdered lime, salt, and water. This mixture was the go-to whitewash of some people especially in barns because it's easy to make, safe to use, and cheap. However, it rubs off quickly that latex paint and water mixture is often the favored choice.

Steps to Whitewash Vinyl Laminate Flooring

Whitewashing a vinyl laminate flooring may not work if you fail to follow the process correctly. So make sure to do these steps to achieve beautiful, long-lasting results.

1. Clean the Vinyl Laminate Floor

Use a mild detergent to clean the laminate floor. Scrub to remove dirt and stains. For stubborn dirt, you may use a plastic scraper to get rid of the residue, but be careful as to not damage the laminate. After cleaning, allow the floor to dry completely.

2. Sand the Floor Using Medium-grit Sandpaper.

Sand the floor so that paint will adhere to the surface easily. You may use 200-grit sandpaper but be ready with several pads for a large room.

For a bigger area, you may use an electric sander to speed up the process. It might be difficult to reach tight areas, therefore, you should do this manually.

Check out this electric sander on Amazon.

Sanding is the most time-consuming part of the process but is also a key step if you want to achieve pleasing results. So make sure to not miss spots to achieve the best outcome.

3. Remove Sanding Dust with a Vacuum

man using a machine for sanding the floor

The next step is to prepare the area for whitewash application. Use a vacuum to remove all the sanding dust from the floor. Any dirt left on your floor will impact the final appearance of your whitewash project. Remember, a paint mixture will not adhere well to a dirty surface.

4. Cover the Walls' Bottom Edges with Painter's Tape

A small sacrifice is to put tape around the corners where the wall and floor meet. This helps protect the walls from getting whitewash stains especially if you have wall frames or borders in dark shades at the bottom of the wall.

5. Apply Whitewash on the Floor Using a Roller Brush

For textured vinyl laminate, you may use a paintbrush to cover indents with whitewash easily. When you are applying the whitewash, though, make sure to paint thin, even coats, regardless of which painting tool you are using. Also, it will create a neater outcome when you paint following the grains of the vinyl flooring should these be present.

View this 10-piece painting kit on Amazon.

Some applications intend to use whiter paint and then wipe the area with a dry cloth to reduce the opacity. Wiping with a cloth after your paint is completely dry is optional. Many DIYers do not do this extra step but still achieve great results after. 

Latex paint dries in two hours, but you may have to wait a little longer to make sure all areas are fully dry before doing the next step. And one more thing, you should inspect the floor for areas that need recoating or sanding. Sanding should be done to lighten spots heavily painted with whitewash.

6. Seal the Floor Using Water-based Varnish

After the whitewash has dried completely, it is now time to apply varnish. Use only water-based varnish or water-based polyurethane lacquer to seal the whitewashed laminate floor. Sealing helps bring out the beauty of the whitewash paint. It also protects the whitewash from scratches, stains, and moisture. 

You may apply one layer of varnish, but a second coat will provide better protection. Do not use the floor for 24 hours or until the varnish is dry.

Pros and Cons of Whitewashing Vinyl Laminate Flooring

Whitewashing is a cheap way of enhancing the physical appearance of laminate floors by adding subtle lightness to them. It makes a room look wider and brighter. Giving your laminate floor the Scandinavian feel can be achieved easily with a well-done whitewash job.

While the whole process of whitewashing is fairly straightforward to do, maintenance requires a bit more effort. It fades in time, and scratch marks on whitewash appear to be very obvious.

This might not be a good choice for homes with pets and kids as you would have to recoat more often to maintain a nice-looking finish. Alternatively, whitewash only those areas that receive low foot traffic. 

It is worth saying that well-maintained whitewash can last 20 years or more.

Do You Sand After Whitewashing?

Sanding and smoothing wood with black sandpaper

Sanding after whitewashing is not required, but you may in some situations. You may sand areas that seem to have thicker coverage using fine-grit sandpaper. However, remember to do this only once the whitewash has dried completely.

Additionally, sanding should be done before applying varnish to your vinyl laminate floor. Remember to clean all sanding dirt first before applying a sealer.

Do You Need to Apply Deglosser Before Whitewash?

Using a deglosser before applying whitewash is optional. A deglosser removes the gloss and other elements on a vinyl laminate which would otherwise reduce paint adhesion.

Some people use a deglosser instead of sanding the vinyl laminate, while others do both. If you feel confident with your sanding skills, then you may proceed with a whitewash job without using a deglosser.

Do You Apply Primer Before Whitewashing Vinyl Laminate Flooring?

hand holding a brush applying varnish paint on a wooden surface

There is no need to apply primer on vinyl laminate flooring before a whitewash. You may use a primer if you are going to paint instead of whitewash.

The thick consistency and high level of whiteness of a primer might cover the original design of your vinyl laminate flooring, especially those in lighter shades. This runs the goal of whitewashing. You need to lighten the existing look of the vinyl laminate after a whitewash but not cover it up.

Final Thoughts

Herringbone PVC flooring with decoration in the living room with beautiful set up of sofa

We told you it's possible to whitewash a vinyl laminate floor but following the correct procedure is key. You can make a whitewash mixture yourself and even do the process on your own. When properly done and maintained, it can give you many years of subtle lightness and an airy feel.

Did you find our post helpful? We've got more in store for you! Read our other posts for more useful information on laminates:

Can You Paint Laminate Furniture?

How To Paint Laminate Bathroom Cabinets In 8 Simple Steps