Laminate flooring can be painted but there are several challenges to achieving a strong and beautiful finish. As is the case with all painting projects, particularly those that finish floors, thorough surface preparation and strict adherence to specific paint line instructions are absolutely necessary. This fact is especially evident with laminate flooring, which is both a walking surface subject to frequent marring and scuffing and a smooth surface, which is difficult to coat.
To address the first challenge of the necessity of durability you must use a product that is both explicitly suited for walking traffic purposes and of a greater strength than mediocre brands. Most paints are formulated for use with low-to-moderate amounts of friction wear whereas floor paints are designed to receive substantial wear. Enamels, paints that dry very hard and brittle, are good choices while epoxies, paints that chemically cross-link for maximum durability, are the best choice.
Painting Smooth Surfaces
The second greatest challenge in painting laminate flooring is the substrate itself. Paints do not adhere well to substrates which lack profile, or an amount of roughness to which the paint can chemically “cling”. Laminate flooring is often designed to have a bright sheen and as such is a very smooth surface. A common preparatory step for painting smooth surfaces includes scuff sanding, or using a fine grit (150-220) sandpaper to lightly abrade the surface. You are not attempting to remove the protective coating; simply abrade the surface until it becomes dull and slightly rough to the touch.
As a side note, primers may or may not be effective in promoting adhesion of paint to laminate flooring. Be certain to read the instructions of the particular brand of paint you choose to determine if a primer is necessary. Also, be certain that the primer itself is suited for walking traffic.
“Painting Over Plastic Laminate | Kitchen Cabinets | Kitchens | This Old House.” Home Improvement and Remodeling: This Old House. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Nov. 2011. <http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/asktoh/
“How to Paint Laminate Floors.” UK Flooring Direct. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Sept. 2010. <www.ukflooringdirect.co.uk/info/How_to_Paint_Laminate_Surfaces.html>.