So you’ve been wondering about ways to liven up your aging laminate cabinet doors and give yourself an affordable kitchen makeover.
Your current kitchen cabinet doors paint job could be dreary, or your kitchen appears antiquated.
Perhaps you want to change the color pallet of your kitchen cabinets and try something new, and can a kitchen makeover make a huge difference?
The good news is, you can paint laminate cabinets, and it can be easier than you think.
In our guide, you can find out how to paint laminate cabinets. You’ll get all the tips and tricks on how to paint laminate cabinets safely, quickly, and economically.
By the end, you’ll see how you can have a smooth, streak-free finish and how the whole process can be much easier than you expected. All you need are the right tools and, most of all, a high-quality primer.
Before longs, you’ll be itching to cover every cupboard door around your home rather than settling for real wood and stain. (Find the Best Paint Sprayer For Cabinets)
Can You Successfully Paint Laminate Cabinets?
Yes, You Can Paint Laminate, yet it isn’t as easy as painting regular wooden surfaces. Laminate doesn’t possess a porous surface, so it’s harder to get paint to stick to it.
Here are the first steps to painting laminate kitchen cabinets.
Don’t paint damaged laminate
Damaged laminate prevents the paint from sticking to the cabinet. Before painting kitchen cabinets, repair laminate damage.
Remove cabinet hardware
Remove any visible cabinet hardware before painting laminate cabinets for a smooth paint finish. If hinges are visible and removable, remove the doors from the cabinets and paint them flat on a workbench or sawhorse. (Read Enamel vs Acrylic Paint)
Don’t leave any dust
Even if you think your ready-to-be-painted cabinets are clean, they probably aren’t clean enough. The paint will not adhere to the laminate and can eventually peel. Use trisodium phosphate to remove grease and grime from your laminate cabinets. Following this, wipe over with clean water and a lint-free cloth. Thoroughly dry before moving on to painting.
When painting cabinets, you need to roughen up the glossy laminate surface with fine-grit sandpaper.
Sand lightly over the laminate surfaces on the kitchen cabinet doors using 120-grit sandpaper, but remember to lightly sand, so you don’t break through the laminate surface.
Clean any dust using a handheld vacuum and a tack cloth. Painting without sanding in most cases can lead to a poor finish and other issues. (Find the Best Belt Sander)
Use the right primer and paint
Only a properly designed primer coat will get your top coat of paint to stick to laminate cabinets. Once you have a suitable primer on your laminate kitchen cabinets, you need to be certain you paint over using oil or latex-based paint.
You can skip using any primer so long as you use oil-based paint designed to paint laminate kitchen cabinets.
Can You Paint Over Laminate?
If you’re wondering if you can paint laminate cabinets, you’ll be happy to know that you can sand, prime, and paint laminate in the same way you would solid wood furniture.
Because it’s usually gleaming, it’s critical to sand it down until the finish is quite dull before priming.
Here is the full step-by-step guide to painting laminate kitchen cabinets using a sanding method.
1. Prep cabinet doors
When looking at a can, you paint over laminate cabinets; you’ll find preparation is the first step to a new kitchen. Sanding is vital when painting laminate since the paint needs to penetrate to stick. Laminate is a smooth synthetic finish without the inherent grooves and pores like wood. This makes painting harder. Sanding it smooths it out and provides the grooves it needs.
240-grit sandpaper is ideal, to begin with and can be done by hand or machine.
Don’t sand too much, and just enough to improve the finish. Also, sanding helps remove grime or grease sticking to the laminate cabinets’ surface.
2. Clean cabinet doors
Because kitchen cabinets are exposed to dirt and grease, and moisture, they need a thorough clean before painting to get a smooth finish.
A local hardware store would have tile and laminate cleaner in a one-gallon container for general cleaning.
Leave the dirty cabinet spray to sit for 30 seconds before wiping it off with a damp sponge or cloth. Re-repeat if necessary.
Older laminate kitchen cabinets could suffer from spots of mold. To fix, mix 1 part bleach to 3 parts water and wash down the cabinets using a damp cloth.
3. Remove cabinet doors if possible
Unhinge your cabinet and remove then remove any non-paintable fittings like the door handles and hinges. Place your cabinet door on a work surface that you have protected against paint or primer splatters. Any areas you don’t want to be painted, you can protect with painter’s tape.
4. Apply primer
Some people skip this, but it makes a vast difference, and it is better to prime before painting cabinets. Two coats give you plenty of protection and the best surface to get your smooth finish.
5. Apply your first coat of paint
Apply your first coat of paint evenly using a paintbrush, roller, or even a paint sprayer if you want to paint cabinets professionally.
Many people start at the edges and work inward, but every painting’s technique is unique.
If you’re working with a flat laminate cabinet surface rollers can help speed up the process, yet they aren’t as fast as a spray gun.
In terms of paint, the best paint for laminate cabinets is specially formulated. If you have prepped properly, there isn’t any reason you can’t use high-quality wood paint. Besides this, you have the finish you desire, be it a flat finish, a glossy finish, or a satin finish, or you could choose chalk paint.
6. Feather your first coat
If you used a paintbrush for your first coat, you’ll need to “feather” the paint so your laminate kitchen cabinets have an even finish and no streaks or marks. Holding your paintbrush at a 90-degree angle, lightly distribute the color to mask streaks.
Many people like to follow the finish’s “grain” or “design.”
If you used a roller to apply your initial coat, carefully glide the roller from top to bottom to smooth out any streaks. Repaint the cupboard door until all the streaks are evened out. The goal is a smooth finish!
Let this dry for 4-6 hours before moving on.
7. Apply a second coat
S second coat of paint is recommended; laminate cabinets can take a few bangs. The first coat should have dried for 4 hours and be dry to the touch.
Paint for laminate cabinets takes longer than paint for natural wood because it is on a smooth surface and not porous.
Sand the first coat using 240-grit sandpaper before applying the second. Repeat the above steps 5 and 6 when applying your second coat and allowing it to dry for 4-6 hours.
8. Sand and lacquer
Once your final coat is dry, a lacquer can offer a great finish and more protection. This step is optional, although the best-painted laminate surfaces are mostly primed and lacquered.
The final coats of high-quality paint should be lightly sanded with 400-grit sandpaper to achieve an even, streak-free finish. Sand lightly, or you could risk removing too much paint from the surface. Please make sure you use polyurethane after you apply the paint on white cabinets as they can yellow using other coatings.
9. Let painted laminate cabinet doors dry
Your kitchen remodel nearly finished, and you wouldn’t believe they are the same cabinets. Wait 8 hours for the painted laminate doors to dry of their lacquer. While the paint appears dry, it can take a few more days up to a week to harden and fully cure.
If you need to reattach to the cabinet frames, protect the finish for 1 week, although it’s better to go without doors or risk all your prep work on your kitchen cabinets.
10. Fix handles and cupboard doors
After drying, reattach fittings and door handles to finish the look! You may wish to consider replacing old door handles and fittings that don’t match, and new fittings are far less than buying new cabinet doors.
Are Laminate Cabinets Worth Painting?
You might wonder, can you paint laminate cabinets to change your kitchen’s look and find out how much new cabinets cost.
When you paint laminate kitchen cabinets, it is a cost-effective and quick way to update your kitchen’s look. (Read How Many Coats Of Polyurethane)
With minimal financial outlay, a bit of work, effort, and time. You can have painted kitchen cabinets with a semi-gloss finish that makes a massive difference to a quick DIY project.
Once you know the paint color you want, you’ll have a good idea of how the laminate finish will turn out.
It is better to use thin coats, as this can affect how much paint you require. Using a spray gun helps avoid wastage and means you can complete the job far quicker and better than using your paintbrush.
If using a sprayer, search for a suitable paint, and follow the preparation steps above before spray. If anything, you’ll quickly see the lack of paintbrush strokes there are in the paint.