How to Paint Laminate Walls in a Bathroom

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Once prepped, your color options are limitless for laminate walls.
Image Credit: John Keeble/Moment/GettyImages

Many bathrooms come with laminate walls, and it's not hard to see why. The material is water-resistant, easy to clean, and long-wearing, making them perfect for the wear and tear a bathroom can experience. But many older laminate walls tend to look rather retro and old fashioned and can detract from the look of a more modern bathroom. It is possible to paint over laminate bathroom walls at home, provided you prep fully and follow the right steps.

Why You'd Paint Laminate Walls

Many older bathrooms come complete with laminate walling — but sadly, this aesthetic may not be to everyone's taste. Laminate designs can quickly start to look dated and give a tired, untrendy bathroom look. The problem is, replacing laminate walls can be prohibitively expensive. Laminate walls also tend to have quite a long lifespan, even after their appearance falls out of fashion.

Therefore, repainting older laminate can be the perfect solution. It offers your bathroom a fresh, new look, while keeping the same longevity and durability you'd expect from laminate. And the best part? It's a far more affordable way to give your bathroom an update.

Prepping Laminate Bathroom Walls

The key to achieving a satisfactory result when painting your bathroom laminate walls is all in the prep work. As with any paint job, the first step should always be to thoroughly clean your walls. Regular dish soap is a great option, as it successfully tackles any oils and grease without causing any harm to the laminate beneath it. Once you've cleaned your laminate walls, ensure they're thoroughly dry before continuing.

You'll next want to make sure the rest of your bathroom is properly protected. Bunnings Warehouse recommends using plastic sheeting to cover any appliances. It's also a good idea to cover the edges of your walls with construction tape in order to achieve a clean line around the edges.

Laminate has a notoriously smooth and glossy finish, so it doesn't make the best surface for applying paint to. The key to ensuring paint sticks to laminate walls is to use the correct primer, as the Penny Drawer explains. Apply your bonding primer to the entirety of the wall using a roller or brush. Make sure you leave adequate time to dry before going in with your paint.

How to Paint Laminate Walls

If you use the right primer for your laminate walls, you have more options in terms of the paint you can use. However, for a bathroom, it's probably better to choose an oil-based paint. This will have more water resistance and generally hold up better to the wear and tear of a bathroom.

Use a roller to apply a thin layer of your paint of choice across the entire bathroom wall. Leave it to dry for the recommended time. Once it's fully dry, you can inspect the wall fully to see if it needs a second coat. Mobile Home Living claims several thinner coats are always preferable to one thicker coat of paint. Once you're happy with your coverage, you can remove your construction tape and plastic to reveal the edges of your newly painted walls.

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Annie Walton Doyle is a freelance writer based in Manchester, UK. Her work has appeared in The Huffington Post, The Daily Telegraph, Professional Photography Magazine, Bustle, Ravishly and more. When not writing, she enjoys pubs, knitting, nature and mysteries.

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