How to Whitewash Laminate Floors

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how to whitewash laminate floors

Whitewashing is a great way to get a rustic, country-style look in your home. It is an easy technique to learn and a stylish option that is becoming more and more popular. 

While it is more common on hardwood floors, laminate can also be whitewashed. If you don’t have expensive hardwood, you can still benefit from this simple, elegant look. 

If your laminate flooring has started to lose its luster, whitewashing might be just what you need. 

In this article, we have laid out everything you need to know to whitewash laminate floors. By following these step-by-step instructions, you can revitalize your home quickly and easily. 

Whitewashing Laminate Floors: Basic Idea

Whitewashing is a relatively easy process. Simply follow these steps for a new look on your budget flooring: 

  • Clean the floors
  • Prime the floors 
  • Make the whitewash
  • Apply the whitewash
  • Seal the floor

Whitewashing vs. Painting 

whitewashed laminate flooring in beautiful room

Many people wonder what the difference is between whitewashing and painting. 

The truth is while they may have a similar result, they are actually quite different. Both of these methods change the color of the surface, but they each have their own distinct characteristics. 

In general, whitewashing will last a lot longer than paint. This is due to the fact that whitewash will not chip or crack. 

Paint covers the surface completely and dries to create a relatively thick layer. Whitewash, on the other hand, has a thinner constitution and is much more breathable. 

This means that whitewashing is less likely to seal in moisture in your laminate floor. This allows the floor to vent moisture, which stops the growth of mold and mildew. 

Whitewash is also free from toxic fumes and volatile organic compounds. This makes it much safer to use in your home and much more pleasant to work with. 

Thoroughly Clean the Floors

whitewashed laminate flooring in stylish room

Before you begin whitewashing, you will want to completely clean your laminate flooring. 

Put 3 or 4 drops of dish soap in a bucket with some water and mix it thoroughly. Clean the floors with a scrub brush and washcloth. 

After you have cleaned the floors, sand them with a fine-grit sandpaper. This will remove any small pieces of debris that have been stuck to the laminate. 

Vacuum up any leftover dust from sanding and clean the floors with the dish soap solution again. 

Let the floors dry completely before applying any of the whitewash. 

Apply a Primer

After the floors have completely dried, you will want to prime them. Primer will help the whitewash stick to the flooring and give it more longevity. 

If you are planning on having the pattern of your laminate show through, dilute the primer with water. The pattern in whitewashing is one of its best features, so this is highly recommended. 

Mix the primer in a 50/50 solution with water and stir vigorously. Then, apply one coat of the primer to your laminate flooring. 

Let the primer cure for a full 24 hours before moving on to the next step. 

Prepare the Whitewash 

You can make your own traditional whitewash for your laminate floors if you want the classic look. 

Simply mix 2 cups of salt with a gallon of warm water and let the salt dissolve completely. 

Then, mix in 8 cups of hydrated lime. Mix this solution together vigorously until it is fully dissolved. 

This will get you a whitewash that is quite a bit thinner than standard paint. 

This consistency is what gives whitewash its transparent qualities. You will be able to see the pattern of your laminate through this solution once it dries. 

Roll on the Whitewash 

Use a roller to apply the whitewash to your flooring. Work in deliberate, overlapping strokes to make sure you are getting every inch of the floor. 

Always work in a backwards direction towards the door of a room. This will give you an exit strategy once you have painted your way around the entire area. 

The whitewash will give your flooring a chalky, semi-transparent finish. This is exactly what you are going for with this technique. 

Let the whitewash dry completely for at least 24 hours.

Seal the Floor 

Once the whitewash has dried, you can add a top coat to protect it. 

You can use a polyurethane varnish to give the floor a smooth, soft feel. This will also help protect the floors from scratches and gouges. 

Apply the varnish with a brush and try to get it down in smooth, even strokes. Let the first coat of varnish dry for 24 hours and then add a second coat.

Let the second coat completely cure for up to 48 hours before moving furniture back in or walking on it. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can you stain laminate flooring lighter?

For the most part, you can not stain laminate flooring a lighter color. 

Stain seeps into the pores of the flooring and generally can only darken it. If you want a lighter color, paint will be your best option. 

  • Why does my laminate floor look cloudy?

If your laminate floor looks cloudy, this could be from overcleaning. 

Clean your laminate flooring only as needed. Make sure that any excess cleaning product is completely removed. 

  • Is vinegar safe for laminate floors?

Vinegar is safe to use on laminate flooring. However, always make sure that any cleaning solution is completely dried. 

If you leave moisture on a laminate floor, you could end up with mold or mildew underneath it. 


Whitewashing your laminate floors is a great way to get a classic, rustic look. Since you can make your own whitewash, it is also generally cheaper to do than painting. 

By following our step-by-step guide, you can be sure to get a whitewash job that will last for years. 

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Michael J. O’Connor is a writer and marketing specialist from the Bay Area of California. A graduate of Sonoma State’s Creative Writing program, he spent many years as a contractor and carpet layer, learning the ins and outs of flooring and general contracting. When he’s not typing away at his desk, he enjoys hiking with his dogs, woodworking and collecting rare books. See full biography here.

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