There has been a large increase in the number of home owners interested in updating their laminate coutnertops with paint. The problem is that many of these home owners take short cuts in their paint job and find themselves dissatisfied with the results and replacing the counter anyway. The truth is that you must take the time to paint your laminate countertops correctly if you want great results. It is hard work, but it can save you hundreds of dollars in the long run. So take the extra time to follow these steps and you will be glad you did in the end.
Before you do anything to your laminate countertops, you need to get all of the dirt and grease build-up off. All of that excess build-up will make it hard for the primer and paint to stick to the surface of your counter so do not skip this step. Get some TSP and a rag and thoroughly clean every part of the laminate. Then wipe down with a wet washcloth and let it dry.
While your countertop is drying, start protecting your kitchen or bathroom from runaway paint. Paint has a funny little way of getting on everything you do not want it on, so if it is anywhere near where the paint will be, cover it. Cover the floor, sink, appliances, cabinets and backsplash with plastic and secure it around the edges with painters tape. As much as a pain as this is, you will be glad you did when you look at all the paint that made it's way on the plastic.
Once the countertop is dry and the area around it is protected, it is time to get out some fine grit sandpaper. Lightly sand the surface of the laminate to rough it up and give the paint a little more to grip to. You do not want to change the shape of the countertop though, just take off the shine that makes it hard for paint to stick to it. After it has been sanded, wipe off the countertop with a towel to get any of what is leftover from sanding off. You do not want these small particles in your paint job.
Next comes the primer. Using a primer that has been designed for non-porous surfaces, apply a light coat with a roller. Let that coat dry and then apply the next coat of primer in the same manner. Avoid heavy coats at all costs, as thick coats will make chipping easier and can cause dripping on the edges of the countertop.
After the final coat of primer has dried, it is time to apply some paint. Melamine paint is one of the best paint options for laminate countertops and it can come in any color you see fit. Just apply with a paint roller in light coats the way you did the primer. Let the final base coat dry completely before continuing.
If you desire is for granite looking countertops, you are going to need to do a little more work. Get a piece of paper to test on, apply your base coat and get out some sponges and other colors. Try different techniques with your sponges and different color combinations until you find your perfect look. Then repeat that same technique and color combination on top of your base coat on your countertop. If you mess up, apply your base color over top and try again.
Protect the Finish
Once your countertop is the perfect color, you are going to want to protect it with polyurethane. This clear coating should be applied in several light coats with a fresh paint roller. Most people who have had success painting their laminate countertops apply between 6 and 8 coats of polyurethane. This take quite a bit of time because of the time these coats take to dry, but it is well worth it for a long-lasting finish. You can use either a matte or high-gloss finish for this top coat depending on the look you want.
When the final top coat has dried, you can remove the tape and plastic to admire your work. However, it is best to give your new finish a day or two to sit untouched to let the paint cure. Though this painting process is time consuming and even a little tedious, doing it properly the first time will ensure a finish that will last you for years and will receive numerous complements. More importantly it will save you the significant cost of completely replacing your laminate countertop.