What Kind of Paint and Primer Is Best for Linoleum Floors?

Nowadays, linoleum flooring is available in various colors and patterns, making it the perfect choice for homeowners who want a stylish and durable flooring option. However, if your linoleum floors have seen better days or you just want to give them a fresh look, you might wonder what kind of paint and primer is best for the job. 

For painting linoleum floors, enamel floor paint is your best choice. Enamel paint has a glossy finish that holds up to everyday wear and tear. A multiple-surface primer is also recommended. This type of primer ensures that the paint adheres to the surface, resulting in a longer-lasting finish.

In this article, you will learn:

  • The 4 factors to consider when choosing paint for linoleum floors
  • What type of paint to use
  • What finish is best
  • My top picks for the best paint and primer for linoleum floors

The 4 Factors to Consider When Choosing Paint for Linoleum Floors

1. Type of Paint

Various paint types are available on the market today, but not all are suited for painting linoleum floors. You’ll want to select a paint specifically designed for use on floors. These paints are durable and will adhere well to the linoleum surface.

2. Durability of Paint 

Linoleum floors are subjected to a lot of foot traffic, so you need to choose a durable paint to withstand wear and tear.

The ideal paint for linoleum floors should have a hard finish that resists scratches, chipping, and fading. Epoxy paint is an excellent option for linoleum floors as it is incredibly durable and resistant to stains and chemicals.

3. Color

When choosing the right color for your linoleum floors, you’ll want to consider both the look you’re going for and the level of foot traffic your floors will see.

Lighter colors can show dirt and stains more easily, so a darker color might be a better choice if your floors see a lot of foot traffic. On the other hand, if you’re going for a bright and airy look, a lighter color may suit your space best.

4. Budget

Your budget will ultimately determine the type of paint you can afford for your linoleum floors. While oil-based paints are more expensive, they are also more durable, so it might be worth investing in them if you can afford them. Alternatively, you can opt for a lower-cost option, such as water-based paints, which still offer good value for money.

What Type of Paint Is Best?

Enamel Paint

Enamel paint is a solvent-based paint that dries to a hard, vitreous (glass-like) shell. Traditionally, enamel paint is oil-based, which is known for its hardiness and glossy finish.

However, today you can also find water-based or latex enamel paints, which are easier to work with and dry faster but may not be as durable as their oil-based counterparts.


  • Durability: It is known for its durability, making it suitable for high-traffic areas like floors.
  • Smooth Finish: It provides a smooth finish with fewer visible brush strokes.
  • Easy to Clean: Once dried, enamel paint surfaces are easy to clean, which is beneficial for floors.
  • Scratch Resistance: It is more resistant to scratching and wear, prolonging the life of the painted floor.


  • Long Drying Time: It can take longer to dry than other paint types.
  • Strong Odor: It has a strong smell that some people might find unpleasant.
  • Requires Thinner: Oil-based enamel paint requires a thinner for application, adding an extra step to the painting process.
  • Potential for Yellowing: White or light-colored oil-based enamel paint can turn yellow over time, especially under limited light exposure.

Acrylic Paint

Acrylics are water-based paints, meaning they use water as a solvent. They are known for their durability and easy application, making them an excellent choice for linoleum floors.


  • Versatility: Adheres well to various surfaces, including linoleum.
  • Quick Drying: It dries quickly, speeding up the painting process.
  • Easy Clean-up: It is water-based, making clean-up with soap and water easy.
  • Color Retention: It retains its color over time, resisting yellowing.
  • Flexibility: Unlike oil-based paint, acrylic paint’s flexible nature doesn’t crack over time.


  • Durability Issues: It may not be as durable as other types of paint, like epoxy or enamel, especially in high-traffic areas.
  • Surface Preparation: Proper surface preparation is necessary for good adhesion. This might involve cleaning, sanding, and priming the linoleum floor.
  • Multiple Coats Needed: Depending on the color and quality of the acrylic paint, multiple coats may be needed for full coverage.

What Paint Finish Is Best?

The ideal paint finish for linoleum is a high-gloss one, as it creates a hard and resilient surface that can resist heavy traffic and spills.

High-gloss finishes have a distinctive sheen that is perfect for linoleum flooring as it can withstand moisture, stains, scratches, and scuffs. Plus, it is easy to clean, and the finish can 

look great for a considerable period.

A satin finish is another option, but it may not provide the same level of durability as high-gloss. It has a less shiny look than high-gloss, but it can still create a hard surface ideal for high-traffic areas.

The Best Paint and Primer for Linoleum Floors

Best Paint

Sherwin-Williams Porch & Floor Enamel is an excellent choice for painting indoor and outdoor linoleum surfaces. Its high-traffic and high-washability features are ideal for high-use areas such as porches, patios, laundry rooms, workshops, and storage.

One of the significant benefits of using this enamel is its exceptional washability, which maximizes the life cycle of the coating. This feature is especially important for linoleum surfaces as they are prone to wear and tear due to frequent foot traffic.

Additionally, it is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act’s low-slip rating required, ensuring a safe walking surface for everyone.

Another noteworthy feature of this product is its ability to withstand even the toughest household chemicals.

This is especially useful in areas like laundry rooms where harsh cleaning chemicals are frequently used. It has been tested and proven resistant to the most stringent household chemicals.

Furthermore, Sherwin-Williams Porch & Floor Enamel meets the most stringent VOC (volatile organic compounds) regulations, making it an environmentally friendly choice for your linoleum painting needs.

It is available in a satin sheen finish and can be completely tinted in many colors, including today’s popular bold accent shades.

Best Primer

KILZ General Purpose Primer is the top choice for priming linoleum floors. This fast-drying water-based primer works on interior and exterior surfaces, including properly prepared glossy surfaces such as linoleum. 

It boasts excellent adhesion, mildew resistance, and sealing properties, which are crucial when painting linoleum. It effectively blocks medium stains like grease, ink, rust, and water, making it an ideal primer for linoleum floors.

The enhanced hiding ability of this primer ensures that it covers up the existing color and helps to lessen the number of paint coats required.

Using this primer on linoleum floors can help to create a durable and long-lasting finish. Since it is a water-based primer, it can be used under or over water-based or oil-based paints.

Joshua Milton

Joshua Milton is a passionate DIY and home improvement enthusiast. With his expertise in various projects, he provides practical tips, step-by-step guides, and creative ideas for transforming your living space.

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