How to Paint Laminate Kitchen Cabinets

Laminate is referred to as any furniture or product that is made by attaching a thin layer of plastic to plywood or particleboard. The plastic typically has a print of something that looks like wood or some other texture. This is an efficient and inexpensive way to prepare furniture without needing a lot of wood.

The plastic provides a great replica of natural wood grains and is also available in a variety of colors and hues. But what happens when you become tired of the laminate? Does one simply strip it out or replace the cabinets altogether? Stripping laminate is not all that easy, but what one can do is paint over the laminate. But, how to paint laminate kitchen cabinets? The following sections will simplify the process of painting over laminate kitchen cabinets:

Why Is Laminate Harder to Paint Over?

When you paint over a piece of wood, the paint will seep through the wood as the material is porous. This ensures that the paint bonds better with the wood and stays on, allowing it to stick to the surface well.

However, as has been explained about laminates above, it can be difficult to paint over laminate because it is not actually wood even though it may look like natural wood. This is a thin layer of plastic over which a wooden look is printed. This means that the surface of the laminate is not porous, which means that the paint cannot stick on it, making it difficult for one to paint over laminate.

Do You Need to Sand It?

Often what people do to paint over laminate is to sand it. This creates friction on the surface and makes it slightly rougher, which will allow the paint to stick on the surface of the laminate.

However, sanding the laminate is not as straightforward as it sounds. This is an extremely messy process and you can also end up damaging the surface altogether, so you cannot even paint over it.

If the laminate has chipped or if there are splinters coming off the surface, merely painting over the laminate will not cover up the imperfections. In fact, the paint may draw more attention to the imperfections on the laminate.

So if sanding is not something you are comfortable with, there are ways to sidestep the process, if only you use the right kind of paint.

What Kind of Paint Should You Use?

Chalk paint is the best kind of paint to use over a laminate so you can prepare the surface for the final coat of enamel paint. Chalk paint is water-based paint that requires very little preparation before applying. It can be applied to almost any surface, including fabric.

When you use chalk paint for your laminates, you do not have to worry about the paint sticking to the laminate. Since it has a thicker consistency, it can be tricky at times to roll it out smoothly, but this also means that the paint will not drip and that it will stick to the surface without any problems.

Chalk paint has been designed specially so it can wipe off easily to give an aged effect to the surface. This means that you will need to use wax or sealant to ensure the paint does not wipe off. However, instead of wax, you can simply use an enamel color of your choosing. In a way, the chalk paint is being applied in preparation for using enamel paint.

How to Paint the Cabinets?

When you set about painting your laminate kitchen cabinets, the first thing is to ensure that the laminate does not have any pieces chipped and that nothing is peeling. If you need to carry out any repair work, you should do that before you use the chalk paint. You also want to ensure that your kitchen cabinets are clean of any grease or food bits before painting.

Then, while the cabinet doors are still attached to the hinge, paint the easier surfaces with a roller. If there are nooks that you cannot get to with the roller, use a smaller paintbrush.

If the chalk paint is lumping in parts, make sure to run the roller over it. Additionally, if you paint along with the grain, you will get a better look when you finally touch it up with enamel.

Once you have painted over the outer surfaces, label all your cabinet doors and bring them down from the hinges. It is now time to paint the cabinet frames. Use the brush and roller both to apply the paint. The idea is to leave no surface unpainted.

Once the chalk paint has dried, you can apply at least two coats of enamel paint. When you are satisfied that the coats are even, allow the paint to dry off completely before handling the cabinets. When the paint has dried off, you can reattach the doors based on their labels.

Leave the doors open for a few days so that the smell of enamel paint can be aired out. After a few days, you can begin to restock the newly painted cabinets! This is certainly a process that will take a couple of days to complete, but at the end of it, you will have a kitchen that looks brand new!

Final Thoughts

When you pick out one type of laminate, it usually means that you have to commit to that design. It is not easy to strip the plastic out and create a new laminate. Often, people simply replace the whole laminate fitting. Or, as the above sections have described, one can find ways to paint over the laminate for a cohesive and fresh look.

It can at times be tricky to work with laminate. If you use the wrong kind of paint or sand the laminate incorrectly, you are looking at permanent damage. Then the only way out is to spend more money and replace the laminate. But with the right preparation and paint, you can easily paint over the laminate and enjoy a completely revamped kitchen!