Paint it white.
January 5, 2013 11:03 AM   Subscribe

Advice on painting a room white from top to bottom.

We just bought a home and the downstairs living room is pink. Walls ceilings and trim are all pink and there are purplish/pink vinyl tiles on the floor. We blew most of our money on the upstairs so we don't have money to put in a new floor downstairs so we want to paint the whole thing white. Advice on floor painting? I was thinking of putting down an exterior paint on the floors to make sure it'll stick to the vinyl (after lightly sanding and washing) then covering it with a water based polyurethane to protect it. I've seen other products like armorpoxy but not sure they'll be cheaper or are necessary. I'm assuming we should start at the top and work our way down with the painting process. Sound reasonable? Suggestions? Mistakes to avoid? Stories from people who've done this?
posted by no bueno to Home & Garden (19 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
It doesn't seem to be a very good idea. How about pulling off the vinyl and painting whatever is under it with a industrial grade epoxy-based paint? And yes, start from the top. I'd go for ceiling and walls as matt as possible, medium gloss for all the woodwork and panelling, and then high gloss for the floor. High gloss paint is easier to maintain and more durable. Matt is gentle on your eyes. The combination will give your space a richness of light and (reflected) color, even though it is all white.
posted by mumimor at 11:41 AM on January 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

Oh, and congratulations with the new home
posted by mumimor at 11:42 AM on January 5, 2013

My parents bought a home that had ceramic floor tiles in the baths... All in great condition but UGLY! Early 80's ugly. Their painter painted over them with a paint normally used for ship's hulls and the result was great. Looked very good and lasted for as long as they lived there. Not sure that same paint would work on vinyl but there may be options out there.
posted by pearlybob at 11:48 AM on January 5, 2013

No, it won't work the same way on vinyl as on ceramics
posted by mumimor at 11:51 AM on January 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

Sanding and painting vinyl just seems like a non-starter. Do you have a pro suggesting this?

My only tip is, since you're doing a whole room, rent a sprayer and prime everything (you'll need to cover the windows) then spray the flat white on the ceiling, too.
posted by amanda at 11:58 AM on January 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

Vinyl floor really does not take or hold paint well at all. I would rip up the vinyl floor and paint the subfloor. Check a corner first to make sure that there are not layers of flooring below the purple that have been glued on making it very difficult to remove. Otherwise consider replacing the vinyl floor. It is pretty cheap ($1 sq ft or so for some basic styles).

For the rest: Start at the ceilings and work your way down. The exception being to sand/strip or prep the floors first then wash the walls before painting. Also you can prep, patch and sand all the surfaces to fix nail holes etc at the same time before doing any painting.

Remember to use a decent quality primer on everything then flat ceiling paint, eggshell walls and semi gloss trim. I suggest Cloud White from Benjamin Moore for a warm white, Oxford White for a cool effect or White Down for a very natural off white that looks great in most spaces.

Good luck. I know that the floor must be a nightmare to work with!
posted by saradarlin at 12:10 PM on January 5, 2013 [3 favorites]

Here's a tutorial on how to paint and stencil vinyl flooring. It seems like a lot of work for a larger room, and not just a small bathroom.

I'd do a bit of math first on your materials to see if new stick on vinyl (while I have no love for it) wouldn't be cheaper.

Also white floors is kind of asking to show off dirt. I'd go with a light grey at least, and maybe a simple pattern or texture.
posted by fontophilic at 12:18 PM on January 5, 2013

I don't know why everyone is saying not to do this. People do this all the time. Wash, TPS, prime, paint with floor paint.
posted by DarlingBri at 12:24 PM on January 5, 2013

Possible solution: paint over the pink on the walls, pick up remnants (some might be room size) from carpet stores to cover up the floor until you can focus your attention and funds on a better treatment. Furniture and rugs might hide the pink.
I am really curious about the former owners who carried 'think pink' to this extreme...
posted by Cranberry at 12:46 PM on January 5, 2013

Seconding removing the tiles (which you'll do at some point anyway, right?) and dealing with what's underneath. If there's a concrete slab, you may find yourself looking at it with all kinds of ideas to make it way more interesting than most other flooring. Paint it solid, add designs, marbleize it, go nuts. If it's wood, patch and paint. And if whatever is under there is in bad shape, that's something you'll want to know sooner than later, so you can be ready for whatever covering you decide on down the road.
posted by sageleaf at 12:51 PM on January 5, 2013

Pulling up the tiles is almost guaranteed to create more hassle than painting over them. I'd paint them and hope for the best. In a year or two if the paint starts to fade, you'll have saved enough money to do the project the way you want to.

I would use exterior deck floor paint.
posted by gjc at 12:56 PM on January 5, 2013

I'm somewhat worried about tearing them up because the house was built in 1970 so there's a chance of asbestos, which is just another reason to paint over it. The paint solution doesn't need to last more than a few years when we'll have enough money for a real floor.
posted by no bueno at 12:59 PM on January 5, 2013

I would wash it with TSP, perhaps lightly scuff it, then prime with a bonding primer like Stix. If you get a good, even coat of Stix on their, you'll be fine. Stix adheres to anything, and paint adheres great to Stix. Then, if I had the time and determination, I might seal it with two coats of something like SamaN Hybrid.

Clean, bonding primer that will stick to vinyl, then paint that will stick to a bonding primer, then a durable, easy-to-use sealing layer. I don't understand why everyone is being so negative in this thread. This will be slightly more of a pain that painting walls, but by no means impossible.
posted by jeb at 1:38 PM on January 5, 2013

Huh. Learn something new everyday. I'm still not loving the idea of vinyl particulate in the air plus the fact that the flooring has flex in it which seems like it would cause the paint to flake off sooner rather than later. Who knows, maybe it'll last a couple years. Best of luck! Let us know how it goes!
posted by amanda at 2:01 PM on January 5, 2013

Actually there's no flex. It's just glued straight to concrete if I had to guess. Thanks for the tips jeb. I'll report back in a few weeks once we're done.
posted by no bueno at 3:23 PM on January 5, 2013

Alternate idea, if you can afford 45 cents / sf and some time, you could overlay some thin plywood "planking" painted white. (I'm a bit dubious about the $0.45 estimate, but it probably depends on what plywood costs in your area.)

There are tutorials for making it look like rustic wood as well. It's probably more work than you want to do, but I just thought I'd throw the idea out there.
posted by slidell at 5:30 PM on January 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

^huh. That's actually a really cool idea. We've done the house more modern and less rustic though so I don't think it would work here. Plus we don't have a wood subfloor to nail into and would have to glue it down. After peeling up glued down particle board upstairs during our remodel I would never EVER do that. :)
posted by no bueno at 6:42 AM on January 6, 2013

Floor paint will only set you back about $30, you may as well try it. Get the floor paint mixed to the same shade of white that you use for the room.

I once had an apartment with a white wood painted floor, it held up well.
posted by yohko at 10:22 PM on January 6, 2013

Yes, agreed on the glue issue -- doubly so if you've already had to peel up glued-down board once! Plus, would you somehow fake the nails? Painting is nice and simple.
posted by slidell at 6:14 PM on January 8, 2013

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