How I Came to Love Construction

How To Paint Laminate Countertops

by Wade Black

Laminate custom countertops are often installed as an inexpensive alternative to real wood. Laminate commonly lasts a long time, but, you may notice they look faded or don't match the new color scheme in your kitchen. However, you have no room in your budget to replace them.

Consider giving them a paint job to update without the hassle and cost of replacement. Paint the countertops by following these instructions.

Prepare to Paint the Countertops

To paint the countertops, gather:

  • work gloves
  • eye goggles
  • drop cloths or plastic
  • painter's tape
  • rags
  • sponge or scrub pad
  • degreaser 
  • 150-grit sandpaper 
  • portable vacuum 
  • epoxy resin or wood filler
  • low-nap foam paint rollers and angled paint brush
  • paint tray polyurethane sealer 
  • blowtorch (optional) or drinking straw
  • bonding primer
  • laminate paint

Open a window to ventilate the area, or run a fan. Clear the countertops, and seal off window trim and outlets with painter's tape.

Tape plastic or drop cloths to the walls, the floor, and the space under the counter, if you don't plan to paint it. Be prepared to not use the area for one week.

Check the surface for holes and cracks, and fill them with resin or wood filler When using resin, you may need a blowtorch to pop bubbles, or pop them by blowing through a drinking straw. Only use a blowtorch if you feel comfortable operating it. After the repair material dries, lightly sand the repair area, and clean dust.

Sand and Clean

Wipe the surface with a degreaser and sponge, rinse, then let the counter dry. Some suggested degreasers include denatured alcohol, trisodium phosphate, or ammonia. Use caution with TSP and ammonia, since they can cause skin irritation.

The shiny surface of laminate has to be sanded, so it will accept paint. Sand the entire surface use even pressure, and vacuum sanding dust.

Prime and Paint

Add primer to the paint tray, and roll a thin coat of bonding primer on the surface  Follow the grain, and use an angled brush for tight spaces, and wipe drips. Let the first coat dry, and brush an additional primer layer on the surface.

A semi-gloss or high-gloss paint makes the surface easier to clean. Apply paint, in the same manner, cutting into the corners with a paint brush. Let the first layer dry before adding another layer. 

To completely change the look, make the countertop look like stone, marble, or granite, following the directions to mix the paint. After the paint dries, add a polyurethane sealer to protect the surface.