How to Paint Laminate Cabinets

Lead Image
What You'll Need
cleaning solution
fine grit sandpaper
laminate primer
paint brush
roller and tray
laminate paint
painter's tape

If you’re looking to spruce up your kitchen, an idea that may come to mind could be getting new cabinets, particularly if yours are older or if you’re just interested in a fresh look. However, installing new cabinets will likely prove to be extremely costly and laborious. A more cost-effective way to achieve the same goal of brightening up your kitchen is to paint your laminate cabinets. This offers a fresh look for a fraction of the price, and it’s a simple process at that. Below, learn how to paint your laminate cabinets to give your kitchen a whole new feel.

What Exactly Are Laminate Cabinets?

You may have laminate cabinets and not even know it. Laminate cabinets are made of a thin film of material that has been bonded to the exterior surfaces of the cabinet door. The door interior is composed of less expensive wood materials. These cabinets come in a wide variety of styles and some are even made with slightly different materials. Some of the benefits associated with this type of cabinet are that they are stain-resistant, easy to care for, affordable, come in a range of styles and colors, and are durable.

Painting Your Laminate Cabinets

As mentioned above, planting your laminate cabinets is easy to do! Simply follow these steps and you’ll have cabinets that look completely new in no time.

Step 1 - Clean the Cabinets

Before painting, you’ll want to clean your cabinets thoroughly. Wipe them down with a cloth and laminate cleaner. Allow the cabinets to dry completely and then lightly sand them. This will enable the paint to bond more securely to the cabinets. Failing to clean and lightly sand your cabinets at the beginning of this process will result in visble dirt and spots underneath the paint; any imperfections will not be concealed well. It will also prevent laminate paint from adhering nicely to the cabinets. Thus, this is not a step to be skipped.

Step 2 - Prime the Cabinets

A woman using a paint roller on a wood cabinet.

Next, use a laminate primer on your cabinets. Use a paint brush along areas that are close to the wall and on the edges. Once this is done, paint larger surfaces with a roller brush. It’s important to leave all cabinets open during painting and drying to ensure that they don’t get stuck closed as the paint dries.

Step 3 - Sand the Cabinets

Now, you’ll lightly sand your cabinets again. This should occur after the primer has dried. Use a fine grit sandpaper to smooth over the entirety of the surface, doing this by hand. Then, using your paint brush, dust off the surface and wipe it down with a wet cloth so that it’s completely clean. As you sand, keep in mind that many laminate cabinets are made of rather thin materials. Thus, you don’t want to sand too aggressively. Sand lightly by hand with great care to attain the best possible results.

Step 4 - Apply a Topcoat

Someone dipping a paint brush in a paint tray.

Stir your laminate paint and pour approximately half of it into your paint tray. Again, use your paint brush to cut in along the walls and edges of your cabinets, carefully painting the detailed areas. Your roller brush should then be used for larger surfaces.

When choosing a paint, consider the overall condition of your cabinets. If they are more worn and show knocks or dings, perhaps opt for a satin finish instead of something glossy. This will better conceal any rough areas. You should avoid using an old can of primer or paint, as using those formulated specifically for laminate is a must. Look for a primer designated for use on laminate and an oil- or latex-based laminate paint.

Step 5 - Allow Your Cabinets to Dry

Allow your cabinets adequate time to completely dry, preferably overnight. Again, remember to leave cabinet doors ajar to prevent sticking as drying occurs. Once dry, your work is complete and you are free to enjoy your refreshed cabinets!