Monday , October 26 2020

Do Your Laminate Countertops Need a Change? Try Painting Them!

Your Guide to Painting Laminate Countertops

While new kitchen countertops can be a pricey upgrade, it’s possible to give your kitchen a lift without breaking the bank by painting your current laminate countertops. We’ll tell you how!

What You’ll Need:

220-grit sandpaper

Water-based acrylic paint for countertops

Painter’s tape

High-gloss acrylic topcoat paint

9-inch paint roller

Mineral spirits (for cleanup)

9-inch foam roller cover

Latex or nitrile gloves

Paint tray

High-quality trim brush

Primer for glossy surfaces

Orbital sander (optional)

Choosing Your Supplies

Not sure what type of paint is best to use on laminate countertops? Your local paint store can help. But for the most part, water-based acrylic primer, paint and a top coat is recommended. Acrylic paint dries to create the hard surface necessary for heavily-used areas like countertops, and being water-based makes the paint low on odors and easier to clean up. Regardless, it’s still important to have proper ventilation while painting — use a fan or open a window.

As far as primer goes, if your intended countertop color is dark, you might want to tint the primer. Ask your local paint store employee to see if it’s necessary. Just explain your project and color choice and allow them to decide. Also, be sure your primer and paint are well mixed before applying. The store can do this for you, or you can do it yourself using a stirring stick at home.

A good rule of thumb is to keep more roller covers on hand than you think you’ll need. Buy more than enough — you can always return what you don’t use to the store afterward. For surfaces that are smooth, like countertops, choose a foam roller cover specifically for smooth finishes.

Sand the Surface

It’s generally a smart idea to sand any surface before you paint it. Using a fine-grit sandpaper (200 to 220) will remove any rough spots on the countertop. While an electric sander can make the job go much faster than doing it by hand, a sanding block may be required to get the edges of the counter. Once you have the entire area sanded, take a lint-free cloth and pour some mineral spirits on it to remove the dust. Let the mineral spirits dry completely before running your hands over the surface to check for any rough or unclean spots. Be thorough, as any dust left on the counter will be visible and rough to the touch once it’s painted over.

Prep Area for Painting

Now that the countertop is clean and sanded, it’s time to go around and protect the surrounding areas that won’t be primed and painted. Use painter’s tape to shield the sink and walls, making sure the tape adheres fully to the surface so that paint has no chance of seeping through. You may also want to cover walls, floors and cabinets with plastic or newsprint to protect them from any splatters or mishaps.

Prime Countertops

As you begin priming and painting the countertops, keep in mind you want to maintain a “wet edge” to your application. Avoid interrupting the project in the middle and allowing the painted or primed area to dry. Your newest roller strokes should overlap the previous strokes by about an inch, and should be evenly applied, covering the whole surface with full roller strokes from front to back. As you start getting closer to the area around the sink or the short backsplash surface, be prepared to use a trim brush to apply the primer or paint. Move systematically from one edge of the counter to the other. When finished, let the primer dry for at least six hours.

Paint Countertops

Follow the same process as above to apply the paint. Keep that wet edge as you proceed from one end of the counter to the other — don’t let it dry! Overlap the paint strokes by about an inch. When done, let the paint dry for four hours minimum and apply the second coat using the same technique.

Apply Glossy Top Coat

After the last coat of paint is dry, it’s time to apply the final high-gloss top coat so that the counter has a bit of shine and extra protection. Using a water-based acrylic top coat intended for countertops, roll on the top coat in the same way as described above, keeping a wet edge. Apply two coats, allowing the entire surface to dry for four hours between coats. The two coats should be enough to produce an attractive countertop surface that is well protected. Give your countertop at least 24 hours after the final top coat is applied to harden before using it. The full cure time is around 14 days for a water-based acrylic top coat, so use your countertops gently during this period.

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