How to Paint OSB Particle Board Flooring

Updated February 21, 2017

If you have recently pulled up some old flooring such as carpeting or linoleum and found sound OSB particle board subflooring underneath, consider painting the wood as a way to refinish the floor. Painting particle board is economical and easy, and it can produce impeccable results, even for the novice do-it-yourself enthusiast. Particle board already has a distinctive, mottled texture, but for further embellishment or decorative styling you can also paint patterns or faux textures.

Remove any old nails from the particle board with a hammer. Pry up staples with a flathead screwdriver.

Coat remaining bits of stuck-on adhesive with spray-on adhesive remover. Allow the adhesive remover to soften the adhesive, then scrape it away with a putty knife. Wipe away the residual adhesive remover with a sponge dipped in a solution of hot water and dish soap.

Sweep and vacuum all dirt, dust and loose debris from the surface of the particle board.

Fill any cracks or holes with plastic-based wood filler, smoothing it at the surface of the particle board with a putty knife. Allow the wood filler to cure.

Protect surrounding surfaces using painter's tape and masking paper.

Paint the particle board with a coat of primer, using a roller with a long brush. Allow the primer to dry.

Paint the particle board with two coats of paint. For a single colour, use the roller. When making painted patterns or effects, use paintbrushes, stencils, sticks, sponges and other implements. Let the paint dry.

Coat the painted surface with three coats of non-yellowing urethane to provide a durable finish that is resistant to foot traffic. Sand lightly between each coat, using a buffer with a 180-grit sandpaper.


Apply a single fresh coat of urethane every two years.


Ventilate the space by opening windows and using fans when working with paint and urethane.

Things You'll Need

  • Hammer
  • Staples
  • Adhesive remover
  • Putty knife
  • Sponge
  • Dish soap
  • Broom
  • Vacuum
  • Plastic wood filler
  • Primer
  • Paint roller with long handle
  • Paint
  • Urethane
  • Buffer with 180-grit sanding pad
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About the Author

Mason Howard is an artist and writer in Minneapolis. Howard's work has been published in the "Creative Quarterly Journal of Art & Design" and "New American Paintings." He has also written for art exhibition catalogs and publications. Howard's recent writing includes covering popular culture, home improvement, cooking, health and fitness. He received his Master of Fine Arts from the University of Minnesota.