Laminate floors are popular in modern homes because they’re easy to clean and don’t need much maintenance, but sometimes homeowners can be too rough with them.
Emulsion paint, for example, isn’t ideal for use on laminate because it tends to bleed through to the other side of the floor over time and stain it. To help you avoid this problem, follow these 10 steps when removing emulsion paint from laminate floors.
Step 1 – Protect the Area
No matter what you do, you’re going to have some amount of paint left on your floor after you remove it. Cover up any areas that are particularly attractive or valuable with plastic or wood—anything that will catch drips and spatters.
Use tape or masking paper if you don’t want to cover such a large area. However, if at all possible, avoid using tape in particular; it may pull some of your laminate off with it when you take it off. It’s better just to cover up those areas so they can’t be seen than risk damaging them further with tape.
Step 2 – Remove the Glue
While emulsion paint is soft when first applied, it dries hard and strong. You can’t just wipe or scrape off a dried layer of emulsion paint with a normal house-cleaning product. To remove it, you have to use something stronger like mineral spirits, paint thinner or an adhesive remover.
First, test on an inconspicuous area of your flooring with these cleaning products and then apply them to a larger area only if you don’t see any visible damage. If you do notice some damage after using one of these cleaners, there are additional steps below that will help bring your floors back to normal.
Step 3 – Wet Sand the Surface
After you’ve used your chemical stripper to remove a majority of paint and finish, it’s time to remove what remains. To wet sand a floor, use a combination of coarse and fine grit sandpaper. Sand in one direction with medium pressure.
Don’t move back and forth or you’ll end up creating more scratches than necessary. When you’re done, wipe off your floor with clean water and/or mineral spirits until all debris is gone.
Wipe dry as quickly as possible; once emulsion paint dries on laminate floors, there’s no removing it! The sooner you can act after coating your floor in paint stripper (by getting it wet), the easier your job will be later on when you need to strip paint residue off of flooring that’s already dried.
Step 4 – Use a Polishing Agent to Smooth the Surface
Just like with wax, you’ll need to use a polishing agent in order to smooth out your floor once it has been cleaned. You could purchase a specialized polish for cleaning floors, but using an all-purpose household product may be just as effective.
Just make sure that you don’t spread any cleaners on your floor—even if they’re designed for laminate floors—as these chemicals can damage your newly cleaned floor. Dampen a clean cloth or sponge with warm water and wring it out so that it is not dripping wet. Then, apply some of your chosen polish onto your dampened cloth or sponge and start applying it onto your floor in small circles or lines.
Step 5 – Apply an Anti-Marking Sealer
For your last step, apply an anti-marking sealer over a few strips of emulsion paint. The sealer will form a smooth, glossy surface that doesn’t allow paint to stick and will protect your floor for years to come. And you can use it on other flat surfaces around your home, too! (Such as laminate countertops.)
Once everything dries, give your floor one final once over with a mop or soft bristle brush just to be sure there are no remaining dust bunnies lurking under or behind things.
Take off any stains or splotches with a sponge dipped in some hot water and then cleaned off. You should now have an incredibly clean, shiny floor with no sign of old paint anywhere.
Step 6 – Wax Your Floor
Once you’ve completed steps 1 through 5, it’s time to wax your floor. It can be helpful to first clean your floor with water and vinegar before waxing (this will help any residual paint stick). You can then apply a coat of clear shellac or clear polish over all areas of your floor that were painted.
Make sure that you use a product specifically designed for floors; sometimes furniture polishes or varnishes will leave a sticky residue on tile.
Step 7 – Mop the Floor Thoroughly
Damp mops work best. After all of your rinsing, wringing and wringing, you’ll be thrilled with a thoroughly damp mop that will help get rid of every last trace of paint.
First start at one corner and mop across in one direction, turning as you go so you don’t end up with a big smear on your floor; after you’ve mopped across once, turn over your mop and do it again. You want all that paint soaked up into the pad before moving on to another area of the floor.
Do not skimp! In some areas of my new home I had to go over things 4 or 5 times to get them clean; elsewhere I went once and got lucky (dodged a bullet).
Step 8 – Vacuum Every Other Day for Two Weeks
Now that you’ve done all of your hard work and stripped down your laminate flooring, it’s time to put a fresh coat of polish on. You should start by vacuuming every other day for two weeks. After a week or so, you can move on to polishing on non-consecutive days in order for better coverage.
This will help ensure that you don’t miss any spots, but still get good coverage overall. Make sure that each section gets at least five minutes worth of attention; if you want your floors to look their best, don’t hurry through it!
Step 9 – Wait Four Weeks and Mop Again
When you’ve followed all ten steps, you’ll want to wait for about four weeks before mopping with water again. This will help ensure that any leftover paint residue is firmly bonded to your floor, so it’s not easy to scratch off later. But if something slips or slides on your floor during those four weeks, don’t be afraid of a little moisture: You can try lightly wetting a cloth and wiping away any unwanted marks while they’re still fresh.
Step 10 – Inspect The Floor Regularly For Future Marks
We had to put our vacuum cleaner away in a closet while we worked on removing emulsion paint from laminate floors.
We also used tack cloths and then disinfected everything before bringing our cleaning supplies back out into our kitchen. In an ideal world, no one will accidentally mark up your floor, but if they do it’s important that you quickly clean up any spills right away so they don’t have time to seep into your floors. Inspection is key!
If at first, you don’t succeed, try, try again. Removing laminate flooring can be a complicated process and mistakes will happen along the way; when it does, don’t panic!
Take a step back and review your work; if it’s really that bad, there are professionals who can help repair or refinish your floor. For now though, good luck with your new DIY skills! And remember: don’t forget to share your progress on social media using #DIYwithGFG!