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alicemagooey 06-25-2006 12:13 PM

can i paint a formica countertop
mine formica countertop is badly discolored and the finish has come off because i used harsh cleansers, i guess :( .

so i would like to paint it if possible, to make it look nice, bright, and clean.
i guess there will be limitations to the final product.
i will not be able to use harsh cleansers, for sure.

i wish i could get a semi gloss result which is easy to clean and maintain.

i have read about two methods. i have tried method #1, and i am not particularly pleased with the result..
( I only did one small detached section of the counter, so nothing is lost, really.)

i used a paint called Graham Paints, which they recommend for formica
"Graham aqua borne ceramic paint."

there is a base coat, which seems to cover well.
and a second coat which is mat .

i have had troubles with making 'lines' when i paint.
i have posted another post at this forum as to overcome that problem.
but the counter looks very mat and very user-unfriendly in a kitchen setting.

does anyone have a recommendation of a system to paint or renew formica countertops?
and make them semi gloss.

would marine paint be a possiblitiy.

One of the paints i used from the Graham line was a primer, i have done the first coat..I think this paint as a good adhering primer may work.
i hope so.

my question: need a top coat for painting formica, or an alternate way to redo a formica countertop without re laminating the whole thing.

glennjanie 06-25-2006 01:32 PM

Hello Al:
I was not aware of the finish you have found which reads like it is pretty good, saying it has ceramic in it. Here's my experience on the subject. A counter top is usually a wet place or frequently gets wet; not even considering the strong cleaners wet locations break down latex and acrylics. I think you would be disappointed with that finish. You mentioned protecting the finish with polyurethane; I can't get good wear out of that (especially if its the water clean-up kind).
I have used a 2 part epoxy paint in the past that cured after about 7 days to look and wear like glass. I used it in a school where the wear is merciless and it stood up very well. Perhaps you could top coat the finish you have with epoxy, however, I don't remember ever seeing it in a semi-gloss finish--only high gloss.

asbestos 06-25-2006 03:07 PM

I would look into re-laminating it. Replacing the formica® top would not be that expensive or labor intensive. as putting on several coats of paint may be. Also there is the food contact issue. This paint may not be acceptable for use in a food preperation area. at least take a look at replacing the 'skin' on top it may be worthwhile and give you results which could last for a long time.

glennjanie 06-25-2006 05:28 PM

I wish I had said that.

alicemagooey 06-25-2006 05:59 PM

Thank you so much Glenn and Asbestsos..

ok.. i am just a person who knows nothing about such things as replacing laminate skins.

i do not like to trouble anyone unnecessarily..I very much appreciate your assistance.what i am going to do now is go and do a google of 'replacing laminate skin' and see what i find.

if you think that i will NEVER find all the information i need that way, would you, may i ask you , please (help!)(feeling very inadequate to the task) tell me, direct me as to where i may learn how to do that process of laminate skin replacement.

i still think the super duper gloss epoxy finish may serve my purpose well, for the piece i have painted as an experiment..and maybe the whole job.

but replacing laminate skin may be best, should i be able to do it..without too much trouble.( this is important, as i am not a skilled person)

thank you again

could you refer me.?

glennjanie 06-25-2006 09:45 PM

Hi Al:
Ya know what Home Depot says, "You can do it, we can help". Check 'em out I'll bet they have a brochure or booklet on it. It is an awful lot of work though. If you are more comfortable with the paint brush, go for that. Its your property; you're in charge. If it doesn't work out after a while maybe you could hire a professional. We painted our kitchen floor with porch and floor enamel once and used it for 12 years, then we came up with enough to hire a pro to lay a vinyl floor. Ya do what ya gotta do.

alicemagooey 06-26-2006 08:00 AM

ok.. thanks again to all.

very helpful..

will see what we can do..

thanks again.!

tooltime 06-27-2006 03:30 PM

Ooh, sounds like a fun project... one I may be doing myself soon enough.
You will not be able to re-laminate it if it has a bull nose edge, or anything fancy like that unless you plan on cutting that off to make a straight edge.
Not knowing the layout you have, I will imagine it has a lazy Suzan cabinet in some corner. Mine does and I hate it :p
To recover it with a new laminate, you will need to sand the old laminate top. Nothing too mine, 80/60 grit should work. Sand all the Formica, a random orbit sander would work well, but you will still need to hand-sand some of it I'm sure.
Once it is all sanded, you need to remove any dust./other residue.
Next would be to rough cut your pieces of new laminate.
Once that is done, spread your contact cement (not the little bottle of glue found in school supplies :D), lay down some dowels so that when you lay your new Formica up top, you do not contact the glue-prepped counter. Once it's down, it’s pretty much down so being very careful on this. Once you have things lined up properly, start pulling out the dowels, apply pressure by hand and use a roller to get out any remaining air bubbles. Depending on what edge type you want, if doing Formica, start with the front edge first. You will then need a router with a flush cut bit (straight bit/guide roller) and trim the Formica flush with the bottom and top. Then do your top, when you flush cut it, the top sheet will overlap the front edge, helping reduce that black edge on the counter from use. Then doing the back splash use the same principle. Finally cut out your openings for the sink etc with the router(having predrilled a start point first).Another option on the edge trim is to use a piece of wood edging rather than Formica.
While IMHO this isn't a terribly hard project to do, it is time consuming, and does take some elbow grease. Once done though it should give you years of service.

An option to consider would be replacing the countertop in its entirety. If you have a lazy suzan cabinet, a deep counter, odd angles you might just stick with redoing the Formica laminate. But, if you have a simple "L" layout, or straight counters even, the countertop form Home Depot/Lowe’s isn't that terrible, and I think it might be less work overall.
Hope that all made sense, if not I will try to clarify that which does not :)

Worlock 01-30-2008 04:39 PM

Mr. fix it is what I though I would grow up to be as a kid
Family owned Apartments, trailer parks, single family homes, Father is a General Contractor and architech.

Been fixin things for a long time
I know my limits, and if I have not done something, I would never say I had, and advise someone else.

Does not mean I would not try something on my own property for a first time.

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