Ever wondered about painting laminate countertops? Is it possible? Should I try it? How will painted kitchen cabinets and countertops hold up over time? I’ve got all of the answers for you today with our experience.
I can’t believe it’s been a whole year since Corey and I painted our cabinets and laminate kitchen countertops. It made a world of difference in how the entire room looks, and I think it’s ridiculous that we waited so long to do this little makeover!
A few months back I shared an update on how our vinyl flooring is doing after two years and it quickly rocketed to being one of the most viewed posts of all time on the blog. Holy cow! Since you guys clearly love updates on how things are working out in our home, I figured I would start sharing how we’re feeling about some of the decisions we made in the past…starting with the kitchen!
We decided to paint our kitchen cabinets and counters kind of on a whim last September – we dove in and tackled it in just a couple of days, we didn’t do a ton of planning or research, and we just sort of…did it. We roll like that sometimes. So, let’s chat about how they’re holding up one year later in a house with two (clumsy, occasionally messy) adults, one (clumsy, always messy) toddler, and two dogs.
Painting Laminate Countertops
If you’ll remember, we painted our (horribly ugly) laminate countertops at the same time we painted the cabinets. They were a faux wood grain before and it was just about the worst laminate pattern I’ve ever seen in my life. I knew there was absolutely no way I could possibly make them look worse with paint, so I decided to give it a shot.
The project itself was incredibly easy. It was a little annoying to have to keep things off of the counters for a few days while everything dried, but that was honestly the worst part of the whole thing.
How do we feel about them now?
We have mixed feelings.
The pros are that it looks undeniably better than it did before. While it might not look like actual granite, it looks significantly better than the faux wood grain from before. It flows with the rest of our house so much more seamlessly. It doesn’t really look painted unless you get up close to it. From far away I think it really just looks like a faux granite laminate. We’ve even had a few people who have a hard time believing us when we tell them that we painted it! I’m so pleased with the difference it made in the room. The painted cabinets wouldn’t have looked half as good if I had left the countertops as they were.
And now, the cons. These countertops are not intended to be a long-term solution. There are several small areas where the paint has chipped or developed scratches. It’s not noticeable unless you’re really looking for it, but if you work on the counters every day it’s impossible to miss. The paint also doesn’t hold up very well behind the sink at all. Because it’s such a wet area, there are some areas where the paint has started to peel a bit and it’s looking not so hot. Again, it’s not something that guests are noticing or that you’d really even see if you weren’t paying attention. But these are the things that I definitely notice.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Did You Paint Them?
But, here’s a brief rundown of the process I used:
- Use painter’s tape to tape off any areas you don’t want painted.
- Use a lint-free rag to deeply clean the countertops. It’s essential that they’re fully dust, dirt, and grease free!
- Use some 120-grit sandpaper (or a sanding block) to lightly scuff up the laminate surface.
- Apply a high-quality primer (I recommend this one) using a foam roller.
- Time to move on to paint. I used plain latex paint. Would I recommend it? Nope! If I were painting laminate cabinets again, I’d probably use a floor paint instead. It’s meant to be a little more durable! Use a brush to apply it to the backsplash if necessary.
- Now, use a paint roller to apply your base coat of white paint. A second coat is recommended here too for full coverage.
- Once it’s dry, use sponges of varying sizes to create the granite look with acrylic paint. I just layered them in one color at a time, and added some white accents at the end. The first coat will look wild, but just keep going. It’ll get there!
- Finally, once it’s all dry, use a water-based sealer to add a topcoat.
How Do You Clean Painted Countertops?
I clean these exactly the same way I cleaned our countertops before. Just plain old countertop cleaner spray and a microfiber cloth. I haven’t had a single issue with keeping them clean, and the spray doesn’t seem to affect the paint or sealer in any way.
What Do They Feel Like?
They feel just like any other painted surface. When you touch them, it’s pretty clear that they’re painted. They’re pretty smooth thanks to several layers of sealer and they don’t really feel like laminate anymore to me.
How Careful Are You With Them?
This one is hard to answer because I feel like it really depends on how you use your kitchen. We have a butcher block kitchen island, and basically all meal prep happens there. We’ve always used that space as the primary area to chop, mix, and put meals together. So, our counters don’t see a ton of heavy-duty action on a regular basis. We do, however, use our countertops on the regular and we aren’t necessarily careful about what we do on them. Basically, I’m just aware of the fact that they’re painted and try not to do anything that could obviously damage them.
Would You Do It Again?
I would absolutely try painting laminate countertops again – just not with this method!
In fact, I’ve spent a lot of time painting laminate countertops since this project. In our current home, I use a countertop paint kit to get a whole new look on two sets of bathroom counters in our home. Instead of a granite countertop look, I went with a marble look. I’m a huge fan of how it turned out, and it’s an epoxy finish. So, it’s way more durable than this was. It doesn’t require priming, it’s really simple, and it works on almost any countertop material.
If this is a project you’re considering, I highly (highly!) recommend checking out this tutorial for painting laminate counters with a countertop painting kit. It can take your old countertops from dated to practically brand new!
In the end, I absolutely 100% recommend this. It’s one of my favorite DIY projects. But, I’d recommend doing the other method I linked above. This is an okay method if your counters are awful (like ours were!) and you don’t have the $200 for the kit. It’s practically free if you have paint laying around! So, if you plan to eventually replace your counters and want to give it a shot, I give you my blessing. Just go into it with realistic expectations (this isn’t a long-term solution, it won’t look perfect), and you’ll be super pleased!
Would you ever consider painting your cabinets or counters?