Can you Paint Formica? – Find Out Here

Randy Charles
Professional Painter

Randy Charles is the owner of, a website dedicated to providing information, tips, tricks, and news about all things paint. With over 10 years...Read more

Have you been thinking about giving your kitchen or bathroom a facelift, but are held back by the cost? Painting Formica surfaces can be an affordable way to transform outdated countertops and cabinets.

This article serves as your guide on how to paint Formica, allowing you to bring a fresh new look without breaking the bank. Ready for a revamp? Let’s dive in!

Steps to Paint Formica Countertops and Cabinets

Prep your space with drop cloths and painter’s tape to protect surrounding surfaces.

Prep your space with drop cloths and painter’s tape

We start by getting your space ready for painting. First, take drop cloths and put them down on the floor.

They will keep paint off the floor. Next, use painter’s tape to cover parts you don’t want to paint. These include the wall edges, the backsplash, and sink.

It keeps these areas clean when we start to paint our Formica countertops or cabinets later on. Make sure all things are out of your way before you start painting.

  1. Lay down drop cloths.
  2. Put painter’s tape on the wall edges.
  3. Use more tape on the backsplash and sink.
  4. Move all things that could get in your way.

Related Article: Can you paint stainless steel?

Remove all dirt and grease from the Formica

Start with a clean surface to paint Formica countertops and cabinets. Use these steps:

  1. First, clear off all items from your Formica surface.
  2. Next, get a cleaner that cuts grease.
  3. Spray or pour the cleaner onto a soft cloth.
  4. Wipe down all parts of the Formica with the damp cloth.
  5. Make sure to scrub well on areas with stains or spills.
  6. Let it dry before you move to the next task.

Sand the Formica for better paint adhesion

Getting paint to stick to Formica means you need to rough up the surface. This is where sanding comes in.

  1. Start with a clean, dry piece of Formica.
  2. Get a piece of 150 – grit sandpaper.
  3. Rub it over all parts of the Formica.
  4. Make sure you cover every inch.
  5. Create tiny scratches on the surface.
  6. These scratches help the paint stick better.
  7. Wipe down with a damp cloth when you finish sanding.
  8. This removes any dust or debris from the surface.
  9. Once it’s dry, your Formica is ready for painting.

Repair any dings that would show through a coat of paint

If you see any little dents or scratches on the Formica countertops or cabinets, it’s important to fix them before you paint. Here’s what you can do:

  • Fill in the dings with wood filler or putty.
  • Smooth out the filled areas with sandpaper so they’re even with the rest of the surface.
  • Wipe away any dust from sanding with a damp cloth.
  • Let the repairs dry completely before moving on to the next step.

Apply a coat of bonding primer

To ensure that the paint sticks well to Formica countertops and cabinets, it’s important to apply a coat of bonding primer.

This helps the paint adhere properly and gives you a smooth and durable finish. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Clean the surface: Use a mild detergent and water to remove any dirt or grease from the Formica surfaces. Make sure they are completely dry before moving on.
  2. Sand the Formica: Lightly sand the entire surface with a fine-grit sandpaper. This roughens up the Formica and improves paint adhesion. Be sure to wipe away any dust afterward.
  3. Apply bonding primer: Using a paintbrush or roller, apply an even coat of bonding primer to the Formica surfaces. Be sure to cover all areas thoroughly, including edges and corners.
  4. Let it dry: Allow the bonding primer to dry completely before applying your chosen paint color. Follow the instructions on the primer’s packaging for drying times.
  5. Paint with your choice of paint: Once the bonding primer is dry, you can start painting with either oil-based or water-based paint, depending on your preference. Apply thin coats, allowing each one to dry before applying another layer.
  6. Top with a sealer: After you have finished painting, protect your newly painted surfaces by applying a clear sealer specifically designed for countertops or cabinets.

Paint Formica with your choice of paint and color

After properly prepping your Formica countertops or cabinets, it’s time to paint them with your desired color and type of paint. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Choose the right paint: When painting Formica, it’s important to select a paint that is suitable for this type of surface. Water-based paints, oil-based paints, chalk paints, or epoxy-based paints can work well on Formica. Consider factors like durability and the finish you want to achieve.
  2. Start with a bonding primer: Before applying the paint, it is recommended to use a bonding primer specifically designed for laminates or smooth surfaces like Formica. This primer will ensure proper adhesion of the paint and help it last longer.
  3. Apply the first coat of paint: Once the primer has dried completely according to the manufacturer’s instructions, you can start applying your chosen paint color. Use a high-quality brush or roller for even coverage. Begin by painting along the edges and corners before moving on to larger areas.
  4. Let it dry and apply additional coats if needed: Allow the first coat of paint to dry thoroughly before determining if additional coats are necessary. Some colors may require two or more coats for full coverage.
  5. Seal with a protective topcoat: To protect your newly painted Formica surface from scratches and stains, consider applying a clear topcoat or sealant specifically made for painted surfaces. This will provide an extra layer of protection and extend the lifespan of your painted Formica.

Top with a sealer to protect your paint job

To protect your newly painted Formica countertops and cabinets, it is important to apply a sealer. Here’s why using a sealer is crucial:

  • Sealing the paint job helps to prevent stains and damage from everyday use.
  • It creates a protective barrier that guards against moisture, heat, and scratches.
  • A sealer will make your painted Formica surfaces easier to clean and maintain.
  • It enhances the durability and longevity of your paint finish.

Caring for Painted Formica

To keep your painted Formica surfaces looking their best, regular cleaning and maintenance are key.

Read on to learn some helpful tips for preserving the beauty of your newly painted countertops and cabinets.

Cleaning and maintenance tips for painted Formica surfaces

To keep your painted Formica surfaces looking their best, regular cleaning and proper maintenance are key. Start by wiping down the surface with a soft cloth or sponge and mild soap mixed with warm water.

Avoid using abrasive cleaners or scrub brushes as they can damage the paint. For tough stains, you can use a non-abrasive cleaner specifically designed for painted surfaces.

Be sure to dry the surface thoroughly after cleaning to prevent any water spots or streaks from forming.

To maintain the longevity of your painted Formica, it’s important to avoid placing hot pots or pans directly on the surface and using cutting boards instead of cutting directly on the countertop.

Frequently Asked Questions about Painting Formica

What is the difference between painting Formica and laminate countertops?

Difference between painting Formica and laminate countertops

Painting Formica and laminate countertops are similar processes because Formica is actually a type of laminate material.

The main difference lies in the brand name. So when we talk about painting Formica, we are essentially talking about the same thing as painting laminate countertops.

Therefore, the techniques and steps to paint both types of surfaces are going to be very similar.

Just remember that whether you’re dealing with Formica or another brand of laminate, you can follow the same instructions to achieve great results with your paint job!

Options for achieving a marble countertop look

If you want to give your Formica countertops a marble-like appearance, there are a few options available. One option is using countertop paint kits specifically designed to mimic the look of marble.

These kits come with multiple colors and tools to create realistic veining patterns. Another option is using specialty paints that are formulated to imitate the texture and color variations found in natural marble.

These paints can be applied in layers and blended together for a more authentic look. Additionally, you can also consider applying adhesive vinyl wraps or contact paper that has a marble design.

Suitable paint types for painting laminate countertops

To ensure a successful paint job on your laminate countertops, it’s important to choose the right type of paint.

When painting laminate surfaces like countertops, cabinets, or furniture, it’s best to use a high-quality bonding primer and either an oil-based or water-based paint.

Oil-based paints provide a durable finish and are more resistant to stains and moisture. Water-based paints are easier to clean up and have a lower odor.

Both types of paint can adhere well to laminate surfaces when paired with a bonding primer.

So whether you prefer the durability of oil-based paint or the convenience of water-based paint, make sure to use a bonding primer for better adhesion and long-lasting results.


Painting Formica countertops and cabinets is a great way to give your kitchen a fresh new look without breaking the bank. With the right preparation and materials, you can achieve beautiful results that will last for years.

So go ahead and unleash your creativity by transforming your Formica surfaces with paint!


Can you paint Formica countertops?

Yes, it is possible to paint Formica countertops to give them a fresh look.

What steps are involved in painting Formica?

The steps for painting Formica countertops include cleaning the surface, lightly sanding it, applying a primer, and then using a special countertop paint for durability.

Will the painted finish on Formica be durable?

With proper preparation and the use of a high-quality countertop paint or sealer, the painted finish on Formica can be quite durable and long-lasting.

Can I change the color of my existing Formica cabinets?

Yes, you can change the color of your existing Formica cabinets by following similar steps as painting countertops – cleaning, sanding, priming, and then applying a suitable paint or sealer.

Are there any precautions I need to take when painting Formica surfaces?

It is important to ensure proper ventilation during the painting process and allow adequate drying time between coats to achieve a smooth finish on Formica surfaces.

Randy CharlesProfessional Painter

Randy Charles is the owner of, a website dedicated to providing information, tips, tricks, and news about all things paint. With over 10 years of experience in the painting industry, Randy has become an expert in the field and is passionate about helping others learn more about painting. He has written numerous articles on the subject and is committed to providing accurate and up-to-date information to his readers.

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