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

Wood floors are versatile and beautiful but can also become worn and dated after years of use. One way to refresh the look of your wood floors is by painting them. But what type of paint and primer is best?

Use water-based acrylic paint when painting wood floors for a more eco-friendly option. This type of paint has fewer fumes and dries quickly. It can also be cleaned with soap and water. A stain-blocking primer should be used before painting to ensure the paint will adhere properly and last longer.

In this article, you will learn:

  • The 5 factors to consider when choosing paint for wood floors
  • What type of paint to use
  • What finish is best
  • My top picks for the best paint and primer for wood floors

The 5 Factors to Consider When Choosing Paint for Wood Floors

1. Durability

One indispensable factor you must consider when choosing paint for your wooden floor is durability. Your flooring will experience heavy pedestrian traffic, as well as scratches and marks from furniture or equipment, so you must pick a paint that will withstand all this wear and tear.

Epoxy-based and oil-based paints are the best options for durability. They offer an excellent surface finish and last longer than other paint types.

2. Type of Wood

Different types of wood require different types of paint. For example, hardwood floors may require a different type of coating from softwood floors, as they have different grain patterns and densities.

Various paint types work best with specific wood types, and using the wrong paint can cause the wood to swell, warp, or crack. Consider the wood type before choosing a paint type.

3. Paint Finish

The paint finish can also affect your floor’s overall look and feel. Choosing the right finish can transmute the appearance of your floor from glossy and reflective to completely matte.

Satin, semi-gloss, and high-gloss finishes have unique advantages and disadvantages, and you should choose the finish that best suits your needs.

4. Paint quality

The paint quality you use is likely the most critical factor to consider. You’ll want to choose high-quality paint that will provide a seamless finish and last for years.

Don’t skimp on the quality of your paint to save money. Poor-quality paints can cost you more in the long run since you must replace them sooner.

5. Finishing Techniques

Finally, you must consider the application technique when painting your wood floor. Options include brushing, rolling, or spraying.

Brushing offers the most control and precision and is suitable for intricate designs but can leave brush marks. Rolling and spraying are faster and can finish larger areas more evenly, but they can be difficult to control.

What Type of Paint Is Best?

Water-based Paint (Acrylic)

Water-based paint, referred to as latex or acrylic paint, utilizes water to dissolve pigments and binders. Its ingredients include pigment, binder, and water as the solvent.


  • Fast drying time
  • Low odor
  • Easy cleanup
  • Lower levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
  • Resistant to yellowing


  • Not as durable as oil-based paints
  • Sensitive to temperature and humidity
  • Requires more layers to achieve the desired coverage
  • Does not provide the same level of protection against wear and tear

Oil-based Paint

Oil-based paint is a kind of paint that uses oil-based solvents as its medium. It includes pigment, binder, and solvent. It gives a polished look that can be washed easily and is stronger than water-based paint.


  • Durable
  • Smooth and glossy finish
  • Resistant to wear and tear
  • Excellent adhesion properties
  • Long-lasting protection


  • Slow drying time
  • Strong odor
  • Cleanup requires solvents
  • Can yellow over time
  • Contains higher levels of volatile organic compounds

What Paint Finish Is Best?

When considering painting your wood floors, choosing the right paint finish is crucial to ensure an optimal look and long-term durability.

Semi-gloss is undoubtedly the top choice for wood floors. The reason is due to its perfect combination of aesthetic appeal and practicality.

A semi-gloss finish will give your wood floors a subtle shine without looking overly glossy or plastic-like, which can be problematic with high-gloss paint finishes. A semi-gloss finish will also reflect more light, making your floors appear brighter and more radiant.

Moreover, semi-gloss finishes are much easier to clean and maintain than matte finishes. Matte finishes, such as flat and eggshell, tend to attract dirt, dust, and other debris, making your floors look dingy and dirty.

In contrast, a semi-gloss finish will repel dirt much better, ensuring that your floors maintain their vibrancy for longer.

The Best Paint and Primer for Wood Floors

Best Paint

Benjamin Moore’s INSL-X Tough Shield Acrylic Floor/Patio Coating is the best paint for wood floors due to its exceptional durability and resistance to abrasion, detergents, oils, and greases.

This acrylic enamel has been specifically designed to provide a rugged, durable finish that withstands wear and tear, making it ideal for interior and exterior floor coatings, porch and patio floor paints, and even light commercial floor applications.

One of the standout features of this coating is its ability to resist water, ensuring that surfaces retain their strength and longevity in damp conditions.

The durable finish adds an extra layer of protection, providing weather resistance and an attractive sheen that holds up even in high-traffic areas.

Additionally, this paint offers excellent coverage with a range of 350-450 square feet per gallon (8-11m² per liter), making it a cost-effective option for large-scale projects.

And with its easy application process, it’s simple to achieve a professional-looking finish on wood surfaces, masonry, and concrete.

Best Primer

Zinsser B-I-N Shellac-Based Primer has been widely recognized as the top primer for wood floors due to its exceptional stain-blocking and sealing properties.

This highly effective primer has a drying time, allowing for quick recoating times of just 45 minutes, making it a popular choice for professionals and DIY enthusiasts.

One of the most distinctive qualities of this primer is its high-hiding formula, which effectively blocks stubborn and persistent stains such as smoke damage, water stains, and even graffiti. This makes it an ideal choice for wood floors that have suffered from staining or discoloration.

Moreover, this primer seals porous surfaces with excellent enamel holdout, ensuring that the topcoat adheres properly and doesn’t result in any peeling or chipping.

Another significant advantage of Zinsser B-I-N Shellac-Based Primer is that it can be applied in freezing temperatures, making it an ideal choice in colder climates.

In addition to its stain-blocking and sealing properties, this primer also permanently blocks almost every odor, making it perfect for wood floors that have suffered from pet urine or smoke odor.

Additionally, this primer seals bleeding knots and sap streaks, preventing further damage to the wood and ensuring a smooth and consistent finish.

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.

Recent Posts