How to Whitewash Laminate Flooring?

Whitewashing is a great way to add a rustic vibe to stone and brick surfaces. Many homeowners prefer using whitewash in outdoor areas such as stone patios and brick hardscapes to add that beachfront, laid-back vibe to their curb appeal. However, its chalky look also enhances the appearance of laminate floorboards just like staining the laminate floor and can be used to transform indoor spaces as well.

To effectively whitewash laminate flooring, clean with dishwashing soap, grit with fine sandpaper, and vacuum clean the dust. Apply a light coat of primer, allow it to dry before applying your whitewash with a paint roller or a painting brush. Ensure you seal the whitewash solution coat onto your laminate floorboards with a water-based latex varnish and allow it to dry.

In this blog post, we answer most of the questions homeowners often have about whitewashing laminate surfaces. We go through how to do this properly and also explain the differences between whitewashing and painting.

Can you whitewash laminate flooring?

Can you whitewash laminate flooring?

Another name for laminate, vinyl, and foam flooring is faux wood; and just like solid hardwood floors, faux wood floors can also be whitewashed. In fact, many manufacturers of laminate floorboards these days stock planks that are already whitewashed. All you have to do is install them and voila- you have a beautiful, rustic laminate surface.

However, if you want to give your current laminate floor that classical look, you’ll have to whitewash it yourself. Fortunately, this is an easy process which we detail in the next section. With a whitewashed laminate surface, you’ll bring a relaxed vibe into your space and can make woven furniture more noticeable.

How to whitewash laminate flooring

To properly whitewash a laminate surface, follow the procedure detailed below:

How to Whitewash Laminate Flooring? Can you whitewash laminate flooring?
  1. Prep the laminate floor by cleaning it using mild dishwashing soap and water. You’ll get better results when you whitewash a clean laminate surface- as compared to a dirty one.
  2. Since this procedure involves the use of a primer, lightly sand the affected surface with medium-grit sandpaper for a coarser surface texture. Primers stick better to rougher surfaces.
  3.  Clean off the sanding dust with a lint-free piece of cloth.
  4. Apply a light primer coating and let it dry for the duration recommended by the manufacturer.
  5. Make some whitewash by mixing masonry lime with table salt and warm water. Alternatively, you can use off-white latex paint and mix it with water until you get a viscosity that’s much like heavy cream. Remember, off-white latex paint isn’t the same as a lie-based whitewash but will give you the same chalky appearance when applied on laminate surfaces.
  6. Using a paint roller or a painting brush, apply your whitewash solution onto your laminate floorboards.
  7. Once the whitewash has dried up on the floor, typically after 24 hours, proceed to seal the surface by applying a water-based latex varnish. The varnish should be applied using a paintbrush and the initial coating should be left to dry.
  8. After the first coat of varnish dries up, you can apply the second coating and then let the laminate floor cure for a full day.

Difference between painting and whitewashing?

The table below offers a summary of the differences between whitewash and paint that we’ve discussed here:

WhitewashPaint
Made using masonry lime, salt, and waterMade using resin, solvent, pigment, and additives
Has a plain white colorPigment ingredients means paint is available in many different colors
Minimal maintenance requirements: easily peels and chipsMore maintenance requirements: peels and chips easily
Has no toxic ingredientsContains toxic ingredients
Doesn’t seal in moistureSeals in moisture

Many people often confuse whitewash for paint. While both serve similar functions, they couldn’t be more different. Whitewash has a basic ingredient list comprising lime, salt, and warm water. Paint- on the other hand- is made using more ingredients, including resin, pigment, solvent, and additives.

Also, whitewash has a plain white color that gives a rustic look to any surface that it’s applied on- especially stone and brick surfaces. Therefore, if you want to color whitewash to your personal preferences, you must apply dye separately. Paint, meanwhile, is made using different-colored pigments and you can simply choose the shade you prefer.

Another difference between whitewash and paint is that the former requires less maintenance than the latter. Unlike paint which is typically vulnerable to peeling, chipping, and fading; you won’t have to do much to maintain your whitewashed surfaces, as they don’t peel or chip.

Moving on, most paint products contain toxic ingredients that pose a threat to the environment. This is not the case with whitewash, which is made from simple ingredients that are readily available at home. It’s also worth noting that paint seals in moisture, which isn’t the case with whitewash. When moisture gets trapped inside your stonework, it freezes, resulting in fractures.

Other ways to lighten laminate flooring

Unfortunately, if you don’t fancy the dark shade of your laminate flooring and don’t want to whitewash it either, you’ll be left with no options for brightening up the surface. This is because laminate surfaces comprise a photograph of wood printed onto an HDF core. This material doesn’t absorb paints and stains as well as solid hardwood. As such, it’ll be difficult to lighten your laminate surface by staining or painting it.

See Also: Eco-Friendly Flooring, Is Laminate Flooring Waterproof?, Can Laminate Floors Be Painted?.

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