How to Paint Formica (laminated surfaces)

You can transform and modernized your old, tired countertops by painting them a new color. The key to painting a laminate surface is properly preparing it so the paint adheres well. It's not a difficult project, but it takes some time. Set aside a weekend and revive your countertops.

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Use a box fan on exhaust to help ventilate the room you're painting in.

Step 1

Open doors and windows, and set a window fan to exhaust. All steps of this project need to be done in a well-ventilated area.

Step 2

Clean the entire countertop with a mix of 1 part ammonia and four parts warm water, to remove dirt, grease, hard water marks, etc. Wipe dry.

Step 3

"Sand" the surface with the a Scotch-Brite heavy-duty scouring pad, using moderate pressure in circular motion. This step is the key to getting the paint to stick to the countertop. Wipe with a tack cloth to pick up all the dust.

Step 4

Wipe the surface thoroughly with denatured alcohol, also called methylated spirits, which is available at your local paint or home improvement store.

Step 5

Remove hardware, if possible. Mask off any hardware you can't remove and adjacent areas you don't want to paint with blue painters tape.

Step 6

Apply a coat of alcohol-based primer with good-quality brush, such as a China bristle brush. Allow to dry for 1 to 2 hours. Clean the brush with the denatured alcohol.

Step 7

Scrub the entire surface again with the Scotch-Brite pad.

Step 8

Clean the surface one last time with a tack cloth, which is used to pick up every last bit of dust from a surface. Purchase a tack cloth at your local paint or home improvement store.

Step 9

Thin the oil-based enamel with a bit of paint thinner at a ratio of 8 to 1.

Step 10

Apply a coat of thinner oil-based enamel and allow to dry overnight. Paint the enamel on by making crossed strokes, or large Xs, and finishing with long, even strokes in one direction.

Step 11

Scrub with the pad, wipe with the tack cloth and apply another coat of enamel. Use paint thinner to clean the brush again.

Step 12

Carefully remove masking tape, pulling the tape slowly down toward and away from the painted surface. Removing it in an upward motion can peel the finish from your newly painted counter, especially if the paint is heavy on the tape. If you see this starting to happen, score the seam with a craft knife and carefully pull the tape off.