How to Paint Countertops That Are Laminated

Are you tired of those worn-looking countertops but the budget just cannot take the strain of replacing them? Before you go on a bean-and-wiener diet in order to save up for the granite, slate, or marble countertops of your dreams, consider painting the laminated counters you now have. Painting them is a viable and far less expensive solution that can conclude with excellent results if you follow these step-by-step instructions.

How to Clean & Prime

The first thing you need to do is to thoroughly clean all surfaces of your countertops. Wear gloves because the best thing to use for this job is plain old sudsing ammonia, which can be hard on the skin. Your goal is to get every bit of dirt, grease, and grime off of them so your paint will adhere properly. You don't want peeling countertops sometime in the not-so-distance future!

Because laminate is non-porous, and there is nothing for paint to grab onto in order to make a successful adhesion, you will next need to apply a bonding primer to ensure the paint you put on sticks to the surface of your countertops.

Behr, Pratt & Lambert, and Scuffmaster all make excellent bonding primers or you can try PrepRite Bonding Primer by Sherwin Williams that has also gotten very good review from the pros.

Sherwin Williams also makes ProClean Professional® Prep Wash Concentrated Cleaner if you want to bypass the ammonia in the previous step and use this instead to clean your countertops. After you apply the bonding primer, you need to wait 24 hours to allow it to thoroughly set before you begin painting.

Base Coat & Decorative Coat

Applying the base coat of paint comes next. You want to do this in three or four thin applications of paint allowing time for each layer to dry thoroughly before applying the next. Choose a light color for your base coat so that it won't show through your final coat of paint.

Now comes the fun part! Here are couple of ideas to get you started. Experiment if you have time on newspaper to create other effects.

    Idea No. 1: Use masking tape or painter's tape to create a tone-on-tone striped effect. Lay the tape horizontally, pressing the edges down firmly to ensure paint doesn't bleed under it.

    Apply another one or two layers of paint (remember to allow to dry between layers!) and after drying, remove tape.

    Idea No. 2: Use a dampened sponge (natural sponges work best because they are much more textured than manmade sponges) to dip into paint, wiping excess onto old newspaper. Make random prints with the sponged paint. You can do this one color or try two different coordinating/complementary colors for a real dash of decorative splash.

Applying Sealer

This is the final step to picture-perfect countertops and one that must not be overlooked. Use a high-quality, latex, water-based polyurethane sealer to finish off your masterpiece with a shiny surface that not only makes for the final aesthetic touch, but also provides protection against scratches, scrapes, and dings.

One word of caution, however: Don't shake or stir the sealer before you apply it. This can create bubbles, which may be transferred to your nice, new, smoothly shining surface. After your sealer dries thoroughly, you are DONE! And now you have a terrific, new-looking countertop, and all without having to eat a single meal of beans and wieners!

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