What Types of Paint to Use on Formica Tops

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If you have Formica countertops and are looking to paint them, there are several types of paint that you can use. Depending on your preference, you may prefer to use either oil- or water-based paints. As long as you have properly prepared and primed the countertop, either type of paint will work equally well.


Painting Formica Countertops

Many Formica countertops were installed many years or even decades ago and have a dated appearance that you may wish to change. Since replacing countertops can be expensive, some homeowners may want to paint their counters.

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Formica is made of several layers of paper that are soaked in resin, then coated in melamine. The melamine is not porous, however, so as long as you properly treat the exterior surface of the counters, you can get paint to adhere to it.


To prep this project, you should lay drop cloths on the floor and tape off the edges of your counters, just as you would do for any other painting project. Then, you'll want to wipe down the counters to ensure they are free of debris.

Prepping the Countertops

Once you have prepared the area for painting, you should use a 120-grit sandpaper to rough the surface of the countertops. This is essential to ensure proper adhesion. Be sure that you get corners and edges as well. Wipe down the counters as you go to remove excess dust and allow you to see your progress.


Once you've finished sanding the countertops, clean them thoroughly so that no dust remains. If there are any areas on the Formica that need repair, such as dings or scratches, you can fix those with putty. Allow the putty to dry completely according to the manufacturer's instructions before proceeding.

Priming the Formica

Then, you can begin priming the Formica. Choose a bonding primer that is designed for glossy surfaces to ensure adequate adhesion and coverage. Ideally, you should use a paint roller to apply this primer. Let it dry for the amount of time specified on the can, which may be as long as 24 hours.


Formica Paint on Countertops

You may wish to check countertop paint reviews before deciding what you wish to use in your kitchen. Some brands, such as Rustoleum countertop paint, may be good choices. Generally speaking, you can pick either oil- or water-based paints, provided you have sanded and primed the countertops adequately.


You may want to use water-based paints if you are concerned about VOCs, or volatile organic compounds, which are compounds released by paint into the air over time. As Real Milk Paint explains, water-based paints contain fewer of these harmful chemicals and may be a better choice in general. Particularly in a kitchen, where your paint will come directly into contact with food, you might prefer something that contains as few chemicals as possible.


Use a roller to apply a thin coat of paint to your countertops. Once you have coated them evenly, allow the paint to dry completely. You may find that you need another coat of paint later, depending on the coverage the first coat offers. Follow the same procedure for a second coat, then remove the tape and drop cloths. Be sure to clean the entire kitchen thoroughly before you use it for cooking once more.




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