Can You Stain Laminate Flooring?

by Charlie
Stain Laminate Flooring

Have you ever wondered if you could stain a laminate floor? If you have a floor that has seen better days and is starting to look shabby and worn out, you might be wondering whether you can add some stain to refresh it.

It’s frustrating when a floor no longer looks good but is still perfectly serviceable. Laminate can wear well, but it may start to appear shabby and faded after a few years, especially if it gets a lot of sunlight. One popular solution to fading is adding a stain – but can you stain a laminate floor?

Can you stain laminate flooring? You can’t add normal wood stain to a laminate floor because it is non-porous and the stain will sit on top. However, you can use a finish that has been specifically designed for laminate flooring and this will help you to change the appearance of your laminate floors and make them look bright and new again.

Can You Use Stain on Laminate Floors?

Normal wood stain will not work well on laminate flooring, so you will need to buy a finish that is intended for use on laminate. Unfortunately, because laminate flooring is not porous, most stains will simply sit on top of the surface, rather than soaking in and changing the hue of the floor itself.

Paints and stains usually work by getting into the grain of the wood and bonding to it. Stains in particular soak in, and this provides excellent adhesion and a surface that is resistant to scratches. However, with a non-porous surface, they cannot soak in, so they simply form a layer on top of the laminate.

This layer is very vulnerable to scratches and will not retain its appearance for long. It will not take long for the surface to start wearing off, revealing the floor underneath. Often, using an unsuitable stain on your laminate flooring will make it look worse overall within just a few months, and all your work will have been wasted.

However, if you purchase a suitable stain that is intended for use on laminate flooring, it should work well and give you a lasting finish that will make your floors look great for years.

How Do You Stain A Laminate Floor?

Once you have your suitable stain, you will need to prepare the floor. Start by washing and cleaning the floor as thoroughly as you can, using a mop and some soapy water. Clean the corners and repair any damage to the floor using a suitable filler. Sand the filled areas once they have dried and then wipe them clean.

Next, you need to sand the whole floor to provide a key for the stain. Use 220 grit sandpaper and rub it across the surface of the floor in circular patterns to smooth it out. When you’ve finished, wipe the floor with a damp cloth to remove the dust.

Now, you can apply the laminate floor finish. Choose a color you like and then take a clean washcloth and dip it into the stain. From there, start at the back corner of the room, applying it across the floor in smooth, even strokes, working in sections. Cover around 2 feet per section, and then allow it to dry for 30 minutes before moving on to the next area.

Keep working across the floor. Whenever you finish a section, stop to inspect it and make sure there are no visible lines or pools of the finish. If there are, go back over them with your cloth and smooth them out. Allow that area to dry for 30 minutes, and then start on the next section.

Do not walk on sections you have completed, even after 30 minutes. They will not be fully dry and you should not put weight on them until they are. Once you have finished the whole floor, leave it to dry for a minimum of 2 hours, and then repeat the process with another coat.

Once you have finished adding the stain, leave the floor to dry for around 3 days (72 hours), and try not to walk on or touch the floor while it is drying. Too much foot traffic could cause smudging and patchiness.

How Many Coats of Stain Do You Need For a Laminate Floor?

It is best to add at least 2 coats of stain to your floor. This will give you a richer appearance, a better finish, and much more longevity. It will get rid of any unevenness in your first coat, and make the whole floor look better. You can do more coats if you choose to, but don’t do less than 2.

You can add more coats of stain later if you want to further enhance the look of the flooring, but bear in mind that you will have to re-prepare the floor and make sure it is clean and smooth before you can add the stain.

How Long Does Stain Last?

This depends heavily on the kind of wear that it gets. In a room with a lot of sunlight, foot traffic, and constant cleaning, laminate floor stain will probably start to fade after a few years. The number of coats you apply will also make a difference in how long the stain last.

You should get at least a few years out of your stain, provided you have applied it correctly and you maintain it. However, you may see the color start to lose its richness after a while, and you might need to apply some new stain to keep the floor looking nice.

Laminate flooring can last for 30 years in the right conditions, so it’s worth adding a stain if the floor is still good but has lost its color.

Final Thoughts

You can stain laminate flooring, but you must use a stain that has been specifically designed for use on laminate. Traditional wood stain will not cling properly to the non-porous surface and is very likely to chip straight off. This will make the floor look worse, rather than better.

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