Good evening godac and thank you for the question.
I have been fortunate enough to paint a linoleum floor myself with
success and my experience should give you the steps you need in
painting your floor with little problem.
Many years ago, I bought a house that was over 75 years old. Needless
to say, there were several layers of linoleum in the kitchen and
instead of removing every layer and picking a new style to match the
house, I opted to paint my floor. I received great instruction from a
gentleman at the Lowes store in the area and was able to paint my
floor on my own. Take it from me, though - it is a lot of manual
labor and not something that can be done in a day.
If the floors are old and worn, you really don?t have to ?stip? the
wax with chemical strippers (unless wax has been applied throughout
the years), however, you do need to rough up the surface a bit for the
paint to adhere. Completing this step is in essence stripping the wax.
If you have pretty new floors, it is highly recommended that you
completely strip the wax off the floor before you sand.
My kitchen was quite big, being an old house, but I found it easy to
use an electric sander (you can use a hand sander if you don?t have an
electric sander, however, electric sanders are not very expensive and
can be purchased through a local hardware store for approximately
$35.00) with medium grit sandpaper and sand the entire floor surface.
Make sure to get all the way to the edges at the base of the walls. I
know this seems like a lot of work but it does two very important
1. It smoothes out any rough spots and
2. It roughens the surface slightly for better paint adhesion.
Be sure to vacuum and mop the floor thoroughly afterwards or the dust
will cause the paint to not stick. If there are any pits, holes,
cracks, tears etc, you can fill them with standard wood filler. Sand
down any of the high spots. Vacuum the floor again and wipe it down
with a damp sponge.
After the floor is thoroughly clean and dry, apply a coat of oil-based
primer with a roller. You need to apply a primer before paint in
order to make the topcoat of paint adhere better. The next step is to
apply the top coat. Much like painting a wall, if you are using a
dark color, a second coat is recommended after the first coat dries
thoroughly. After you let the top coat dry, sand it VERY lightly and
vacuum once again.
After letting the topcoat dry for several days (I believe I let mine
sit for approximately 5 days), apply a urethane finish to the floor.
Make sure that you use tough FLOOR urethane, not furniture urethane.
If your room is large, the simplest application would be to pour the
urethane on the floor and spread it evenly with a applicator on an
extended pole for minimum bending. I am unsure of the best type of
material used for the roller, so please consult with a local
do-it-yourself store to find out if one material is better than
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In my honest opinion, since it is a community playhouse and the
flooring is likely to get quite a bit of use, I would recommend tiling
over the old linoleum with a slip-resistant vinyl or tile. My guess
is linoleum that has a high traffic volume will need to be re-painted
every couple of years to maintain a fresh look.
You can choose a vinyl or tile to suit your amount of traffic suing
one of the classifications alone.
Group II - Medium Traffic: home interiors where little abrasion
occurs. Don't use in kitchens or entries.
Group III - Medium-Heavy Traffic: any home interior.
Group IV - Heavy Traffic: homes or light to medium commercial areas.
I know the thought of laying a new floor sounds like a lot of work,
but being a community theatre, you may be able to obtain a few
volunteers to help with the project instead of hiring a company to do
it for you. And though I have never laid a new floor myself, I would
imagine that there is just as much work involved in painting linoleum
as these is in placing a new floor.
I am sure anyone at a local do-it-yourself store would be glad to help
answer any questions you may have concerning either project, whichever
one you choose to do. Lowes and Home Depot both have a store locator
on their main websites.
( http://www.lowes.com )
I hope this answers your question. If you would like clarification
before rating my answer, please do not hesitate to ask!