Painting a Formica Countertop

Category Kitchen
Painting your old, outdated Formica countertops is a great way to update your kitchen. This is a page about painting a Formica countertop.


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August 13, 2012

My home was a mecca of ugly and strangely colored laminate countertops; hunter green, brown, navy blue, beige, etc.. I set out to paint them to improve their look, thinking "they can't get any worse, can they?" Paint was my frugal friend.

First I studied granite samples online and did my homework. Then I set out to buy, or in some cases, shop in my own basement for existing paint and supplies. All I needed was a good primer (2 coats), some natural sea sponges, and as many colors of acrylic craft paint (little bottles) as I wanted, at about $1 a bottle, with some on sale for as little as $0.27 cents!


Next, I wanted some glitz, so I bought Martha Stewart glitter. The crowning glory of my supplies that would pull of this look together successfully, was Envirotex Lite. It's a coating that spreads on like corn syrup, and is equal to 50-60 coats of shiny poly. That, along with some inexpensive foam brushes, and tape and drape for cabinets, I was ready to go.

I started with my powder room. It turned out so lovely, that I moved to my master bath. Which was amazing. Moving along, I did my entire kitchen, followed by my upstairs guest bath, and my mother's house too. I'm an addict!

Once you get a good stash of primer, paint bottles, and your glitter, the only new stuff you're buying are the foam brushes (thrown away after each use), and your Envirotex Lite. Total cost for my bathrooms, on average: $25-50. Total cost for my kitchen: $125.


Now, I'm going to share the look with you. Please know that however "nice" they appear online in photographs, the photos just do not do them justice. They are amazing! I swear, while they may not be natural stone, they are prettier than any granite. I encourage you to get out there, use your thriftiness, and cover-up your ugly laminate countertops America! You will not be sorry you did.

By Suz Jab from Belleville, MI

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

February 26, 2011

Help, I have ugly kitchen counter tops. Is there a way to refinish them to look like granite?

By kyazgal from Sun Lakes, AZ


February 26, 20110 found this helpful

There is a special paint buy I don't know what it is. I also know there are several steps to the process. Ask at your home improvement store.

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February 27, 20110 found this helpful

There are oodles of suggestions if you scroll down to the ThriftyFun archives below and then also go to this link:


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June 5, 20120 found this helpful

Check out WWW.DAICHCOATINGS.COM for a very cool product. We used it on our old laminate ( formica ) kitchen counters and were thrilled with the results.

It's called the SpreadStone Countertop Refinishing Kit. It's a real stone countertop you Roll on!

Gives you a brand new surface that rolls on like paint. Incredibly tough, no mixing anything together, very easy to work with. It's the closest you are going to get to the real thing for less than $150 bucks.

Everything is in one box and covers about 60 sq.ft. of surface area. We're going to do our bathroom vanity and bar top this time around. The one kit will cover both.

Have fun! - John.

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July 2, 20170 found this helpful

My Formica countertop is ugle. Is there a simple & cheap alternative that I can see

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December 5, 2010

How can I easily refurbish an old Formica desk, step by step easy to do, by painting?

By Renee from Perth, WA


December 5, 20100 found this helpful

I have heard that there is special paints for use on counter tops. Check with your home improvement store. They usually have employees that advise you on things like this.

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December 6, 20100 found this helpful

Here are step by step instructions at this link:

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December 6, 20100 found this helpful

There are excellent instructions right here at ThriftyFun. Even though the instructions are for counter tops it's the same concept for what you're requesting. :-)


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December 2, 2008

I have been reading all the posts and I am very excited to tackle my countertops, but I need step by step instructions and maybe a shopping list. Does anyone know where I can print one or can give me an idea on how to get started?


December 2, 20080 found this helpful

Hey Trina This is Gail from Detroit. Put in painting Laminate Counters or Transforming Old formica Counters and you will see all the lovely painted counters. Where are you in Detroit?
I am in Novi. Howdy Neighbor. Gail

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December 31, 20080 found this helpful

Start with a clean counter and Gripper paint

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By Cathy from Townsville, QLD (Guest Post)
January 14, 20090 found this helpful

I subscribe to an organizing blog.


If you go through this site, there are free home forms, including a master shopping list.

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August 27, 2008

If I can paint the back splash of my Formica counter tops with a semi gloss, will I have to prepare them by sanding? The space all total might be 6'x6'. I just want a change, without getting new ones. Thanks for all the help.


August 28, 20080 found this helpful

I've done this to my daughter's backsplash. It turned out great! You do need to lightly sand the surface. Then, coat it with an adhesive primer, Zin Primer. I used a foam brush to apply several coats of paint. Then, I put on a clear oil- based satin gloss. The oil-base does yellow, which was okay with the color I used. But, oil-base holds up much better around areas exposed to water or food splashes.

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August 28, 20080 found this helpful

I did not need to sand. I bought a small can of Zinsser B-I-N primer (Home Depot). This stuff sticks to ANYTHING. It is the same product that I used to prime and paint the 1950s pink tile in my bathroom (now a high-gloss white) and the horrid tile backsplash that was in my kitchen when I moved in (now a copper metallic...also from HD)

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August 28, 20080 found this helpful

I think I would use an oil base paint for the backsplash. Also use a primer. Make sure u tell the sales person that u are using an oil base paint so they can give u the correct primer. An oil base paint will give u better results. ~Janette~

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January 24, 2011

What is the best way to paint or recondition a 20+ year old Formica kitchen counter top?

By dan from Honeoye Falls, NY


January 25, 20110 found this helpful

Scroll down to the archives on this page for some information and also go to the following two links for oodles of sublinks to check out for information and ideas:

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January 31, 20120 found this helpful

Unfortunately painting them will not solve your problem. It would only add to them. Being that it is in a kitchen it will get allot of use, moisture. things sliding across them. The paint won't stick and will be starting to peel before a months end if not sooner. Formica is very slick and paint will not stick to that.

You would have to sand the surface which would expose the particleboard under. Those spots would soak up way too much of the paint and start to swell and warp. You would never get a nice finished look to those areas. I'm real sorry but the facts are real and I don't like to see folks upset and disappointing over their projects when they should have been told before hand.

They do make a conditioning wax/oil that will bring back some of the color and looks to it. It is called Butcher Block wood conditioner and wax. It penetrates into the surface. You can also do a Lemon Oil treatment to it once in a while and that will also bring it back. I have worked in a Hardware/tool/paint department for thirty five years and have seen and tried many things to do what you are attempting to do and the oils work the best out of all of them.

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December 29, 2006

How do I care for painted Formica countertops? It has three coats of oil-based polyurethane.

Beth from Jacksonville, Florida


April 5, 20080 found this helpful

Hi Beth,

Did you ever get a response to this? If so, can you please let me know how you clean your countertops. I just posted the same question and then came across your posting. Any suggestions would be great. Thanks,

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March 1, 20090 found this helpful

Hi: I'm janitor at my church and also have countertops at home. Not sure what you mean about 'care' of formica, as just washing with your favorite cleaner usually is enough. You can buy a gloss coat for formica at a hardware store if you like. I tried it and found it to be much like car wax. I found turtle wax best on formica high use tables at home. The white formica at church, I have had to bleach lightly and also scrub off permanant magic marker.... and countertop is over 45 years old. So care of formica is pretty simple really. Hope this helped!

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What tool did you use to get the realistic veining in your marble/granite look?


March 2, 20170 found this helpful

You can get a special tool to do that with at Lowe's. Some people use feathers to create that look

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March 9, 2016

I used the sponge paint technique to create a faux granite look on my counter top. The paint process turned out great and I let it dry for a couple days before I began to apply the top coat.

I am using Minwax polyacrylic for the top coat and when I started applying it the paint started smearing. I watched several videos and thought I was doing everything right. Guess not! Does anyone have any suggestions that might help me?


September 13, 20170 found this helpful

There are special paints that need to be used in order to paint a laminate counter top. One such paints that does the trick is made by Giani. The kit comes with all you will need to do your project. You can cover around 35 square feet with this kit. You will need to follow these instructions.

Step 1
Clean the counter top and remove all grease. Use a scouring pad and rise well with water.

Step 2
Use the primer that is supplied in the kit with a paint roller. Paint over the top of all your countertops. You will need to complete this in one day. You can not come back later and do the other countertops because the color will come out differently each time.

Step 3
Let the primer dry completely. The primer needs 8 hours to dry completely.

Step 4
Apply the mineral color using a sponge. I would practice first on a sheet of construction paper so that you can get the hang of making the random patterns. You want this to not have stripes or streaks. You want a design that flows and has waves of color.

Step 5
The layer needs to dry for 4 hours.

Step 6
After the second layer has dried you will need to do a light sanding.

Step 7
The final layer is your top coat. Apply your top coat using a clean paint roller. Make even strokes and roll the top coat out evenly on the counter top.

Step 8
Allow 4 hours for the top coat to dry. You will need to wait another 2 to 3 hours before you place anything heavy on your countertops.

Step 9
For the first two week keep your countertops dry and be careful how you use them. You will need this time for the top coat to fully cure.

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

January 24, 2011

How do I paint old Formica counter tops?

By Brenda from Jackson, AL


Painting Formica Counter Tops

Use a product called Prime Eze, sand lightly, and paint on. Let dry, apply another coat, and then paint the desired color. Don't forget to use a sealant on the finished product! The product is sold at home improvement stores that carry paint and supplies.

Another option (I used this one) is to buy the cans of spray that give a stone or hammered metal texture to lamps, ceramics, picture frames, etc., makes for a great color, gives texture and looks brand new! Good luck. (09/13/2009)

By Beau

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September 8, 2009

Can I paint my formica countertop?

Jan from Doyle, TN


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April 14, 2009

I am wanting to paint my old white Formica Countertops. What do I need to do to prepare it for painting and what steps can I take to have a smooth and shiny finished product? Thank you.

Jennifer from Pensacola, Florida


Painting Countertops

We painted our bathroom countertop that was ceramic tile several years ago in our first home. It looked great compared to the outdated color that was there, however, after a year or two standing water made it start to peel and it was very prone to scratching. We did use a special product made especially for painting over this type of material yet it didn't hold up in the long run like we had hoped. It is worth a try, be sure to not leave standing water on it if it is near a sink and you could always try to touch it up in the mean time until you are ready to replace it. Best Wishes! (10/17/2005)

By Sharon from Merton, WI

Painting Countertops

Here's a previous article that may help: (05/16/2006)

By ThriftyFun

Painting Countertops

Use a really good primer and then a coat of melamine paint. (05/17/2006)


Painting Countertops

I painted our countertops and they look great. First, use a good ammonia based cleaner on the counters. Then roughly sand the countertops and wash them again. Let dry.

I then applied one coat of KILZ. After that dried, I painted them with black satin paint. When that finally dried, I used craft paints to marbleize the counters with greens, aquas, white and a touch of pink. Minwax acrylic topcoat was applied after paint was dry and I applied at least three coats.

Countertops are shiny, as I used gloss clear acrylic. Have had them for over two years now. No chips, no cracks or blemishes and we throw all sorts of stuff on the counters and kitchen desk counter :-) Hope this helps.

By lj

Painting Countertops

Has anyone tried painting their countertops with crackle paint? (11/29/2007)

By Cindy

Painting Countertops

I have used the rustoleum paints for my bathroom countertops and kitchen. I used the hammered paints which turned our great, it gives them a metal look, then seal them with one to two coats of poly. If only doing a small area I would use the spray paint, it is more efficient but a little messy so don't forget about over spray. (12/13/2007)

By Ashley T

Painting Countertops

Has anyone used the spray paint that looks likes stone? I am in the process of painting my counter tops in the bath and have 2 coats of the bonding primer on so far. If anyone has used the spray paint method how did you do it? (02/28/2008)

By stacey

Painting Countertops

I painted my kitchen laminated counter top and I did the back splash also. For more info contact lordlady210 AT yahoo.Com (09/03/2008)


RE: Painting Countertops

Painting Countertops

I painted my kitchen countertops four years ago, and just finished giving it a fresh coat of spar urethane. We added spray glitter to our countertops, and has a soft sparkle just like granite stone. We absolutely love it, and it is very durable! I would recommend it to anyone, but also recommend you getting specific instructions before attempting such a project. (02/12/2009)

By Laura

Painting Countertops

I painted my countertops a few months ago and sealed with several coats of a water based poly. The counters look great, however, I get white spots whenever something wet sits on it. As soon as it is dry, the spots go away. Any suggestions? (02/19/2009)

By Tonya

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March 10, 2009
Click to read more ideas from older posts on ThriftyFun.
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