What Types of Paint to Use on Formica Tops

Formica is durable and cost-effective, which is why this material is so often used for kitchen countertops. After a while, however, Formica can become worn or scratched, or you may simply wish to change the color palette of your kitchen. Painting your Formica tops can solve this problem, and there are a number of paint alternatives available that will work well on Formica.

Several types of paints will cover Formica tops nicely.

Epoxy Paint

Epoxy paint provides the most durable, scratch-resistant finish to your Formica countertops. This type of paint, however, is usually more expensive and often requires better ventilation, making it less suitable for smaller kitchens with no or few windows.

Oil-Based Enamels

The most popular choice for painting Formica is oil-based enamel paints. While these paints may require two coats and take slightly longer to dry than other types, they are affordably priced and offer a large color selection. Be aware, however, that the oils in these paints can sometimes cause the paint to leech into foods, so it is important to apply a good water-based sealant over oil-based enamels.

Melamine Paints

Melamine paint is essentially a liquid form of melamine plastic, but what makes it useful for painting Formica is it's sturdy finish and self-leveling quality that can help if you have scratches or chips in your Formica countertops. Because it is somewhat thicker and stickier than other paints, you must take care to properly apply the paint.

Latex Paints

Of course, you can use water-based latex paints to cover your Formica countertops as well. While these are chemically the safest paints for use on a kitchen surface, they are not very durable and so chips occur often unless you apply a quality sealant. Since you must apply a sealant with other paints anyway, you may prefer the smoother, more durable finish offered by oil-based enamels or melamine.

Carolyn Kay Neeley

Carolyn Kay Neeley has been a professional writer and editor since 2003, with experience in medical and academic writing, resume writing and advertising. She has also authored craft and homemaking articles for various online publications. Neeley holds a Bachelor of Science in religion from Liberty University, as well as a practical nursing license.