How to Paint Laminate Countertops for a Budget-Friendly Update

Laminate countertops are a cost-effective and durable option for kitchens and bathrooms. However, their design might not always match your personal aesthetic or the changing trends in home decor. If you find yourself wanting to update your laminate countertops without breaking the bank, painting them can be a great solution. In this article, we will explore the process of painting laminate countertops, including the necessary materials, preparation steps, application techniques, and maintenance tips.

Materials You Will Need

Before diving into the process, gather the following materials to ensure a successful painting project:

  1. Large drop cloths or plastic sheets
  2. Painter’s tape
  3. Sandpaper (200-400 grit)
  4. Tack cloth or microfiber cloth
  5. Primer suitable for laminate surfaces
  6. Acrylic or latex-based paint
  7. Paint roller or paintbrush
  8. Synthetic bristle brush for trim and edges
  9. Clear topcoat (optional)
  10. Screwdriver or putty knife (if removing caulking)

Preparation Steps

Proper preparation is crucial for a flawless and long-lasting paint job on your laminate countertops. Follow these steps to ensure good adhesion and a smooth finish:

  1. Clear the countertops: Remove any items, appliances, or hardware from your countertops to give yourself a clean and clutter-free workspace.

  2. Protect surrounding areas: Cover your flooring and cabinets with large drop cloths or plastic sheets to avoid accidental spills or splatters.

  3. Remove caulking (if applicable): Use a screwdriver or putty knife to carefully remove any caulking around the edges of the countertops.

  4. Clean the countertops: Thoroughly clean the laminate countertops using a mild detergent and warm water. Remove any grease, grime, or stains that might interfere with the paint’s adhesion. Rinse well and allow the countertops to dry completely.

  5. Sand the surface: Use sandpaper with a grit of 200-400 to gently sand the laminate surface. This will create a rough texture, allowing the primer to adhere better. Be sure to sand in a circular motion to avoid visible scratches. After sanding, wipe away any dust with a tack cloth or microfiber cloth.

  6. Apply painter’s tape: Protect the surrounding walls, backsplash, or appliances by applying painter’s tape along the edges of the countertops.

  7. Prime the countertops: Apply an even coat of primer suitable for laminate surfaces using a paint roller or paintbrush. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding drying time between coats. Allow the primer to dry completely before moving on to the next step.

Applying the Paint

Now that your laminate countertops are prepped and primed, it’s time to add some color! Follow these steps for a successful paint application:

  1. Choose the right paint: Select acrylic or latex-based paint designed for countertops. These types of paint provide durability, are available in various colors and finishes, and offer easy clean-up.

  2. Start with the trim and edges: Use a synthetic bristle brush to carefully paint the trim and edges of the countertops. Pay close attention to achieving a smooth finish without visible brush strokes.

  3. Roll on the paint: Once the edges are painted, use a paint roller to apply an even coat of paint to the rest of the countertop surface. Work in small sections, using overlapping strokes to avoid streaks or uneven coverage.

  4. Allow the first coat to dry: Follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding drying time. It is essential to allow the paint to dry completely before applying additional coats.

  5. Apply additional coats (if needed): If the first coat appears thin or uneven, apply additional coats of paint, allowing sufficient drying time between each layer. Be patient and avoid rushing the process to ensure a professional-looking result.

  6. Consider a clear topcoat: For added durability and protection, consider applying a clear topcoat specifically designed for countertops. This will help prolong the life of the painted surface and make it easier to clean.

Maintenance Tips

To keep your painted laminate countertops looking their best, follow these maintenance tips:

  1. Clean gently: Use a soft cloth or sponge and a mild detergent to clean your countertops. Avoid abrasive cleaners or scrub brushes that could damage the painted surface.

  2. Avoid heat and sharp objects: Although your painted countertops are more durable than before, it’s essential to still treat them with care. Avoid placing hot pans, cutting directly on the surface, or using abrasive tools that could scratch or chip the paint.

  3. Use trivets and cutting boards: Protect your countertops by using trivets or hot pads when placing hot pans or dishes on them. Use cutting boards to prevent knife marks on the painted surface.

  4. Touch up when needed: Keep a small amount of the paint or clear topcoat on hand for touch-ups in case of accidental scratches or chips. This will help prolong the life of your painted countertops and keep them looking fresh.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Can I paint over laminate countertops without sanding them?
A: While sanding is highly recommended for better adhesion, some specialty paints claim to adhere to laminate surfaces without sanding. However, sanding is still encouraged for the best results.

Q: How long does the paint on laminate countertops last?
A: With proper preparation, application, and maintenance, painted laminate countertops can last for several years. However, high-traffic areas or heavy use might result in faster wear and require occasional touch-ups.

Q: Can I paint over a laminate countertop with other materials?
A: While painting is a popular and cost-effective option, there are alternative options such as adhesive films or countertop overlays available in the market. These options allow you to change the appearance of your laminate countertops without paint.


Painting laminate countertops is a practical way to update the look of your kitchen or bathroom without the expense of replacing them altogether. By following the proper steps, from preparation to paint application, you can achieve a beautiful, long-lasting result. Remember to choose the right materials, take your time during the process, and maintain your painted countertops with care. Enjoy the transformation and the satisfaction of a job well done!

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