How to Paint Formica

Updated February 21, 2017

Do you cringe every time you walk into your kitchen and see those old, battered Formica countertops? Sure, new countertops would be nice, but if you've got limited to no budget, then you might be looking at that '70s gold and green for a while. A cheap way to give old Formica a new look is to paint the Formica countertops with an updated colour. Painting Formica is a fairly simple process with the right instructions.

Sand the countertops until the surface is slightly roughened or scuffed. The most efficient way to sand the countertops is using a palm sander with fine-grit sandpaper.

Wipe the countertops with a damp rag to remove the sandpaper dust. Allow to dry completely.

Tape the walls and cabinets to protect them from the paint.

Paint the countertops with a primer specifically designed to stick to Formica. Your local home improvement store will be able to recommend the best brand for the job.

Fill holes and cracks in the countertop with latex caulk. Try to apply the caulk only into the crack or hole and immediately wipe away any excess.

Sand the countertops with a fine sandpaper to level the surface. Be careful not to sand through the layer of primer. Wipe the countertops with a damp rag to remove the dust.

Apply another coat of primer and sand the countertops again. Wipe the dust away and touch up any areas where you sanded through the primer.

Paint the countertops with two to three coats of your selected paint, sanding in between each application. Make sure you choose a paint suitable for countertops. Allow the final coat to dry completely before placing objects on top.


If you have access to a paint sprayer, painting with an epoxy-based finish will yield high-quality results. Wear a mask and safety glasses while sanding the countertops.

Things You'll Need

  • Palm sander
  • Fine-grit sandpaper
  • Rag
  • Masking tape
  • Primer designed for Formica
  • Latex caulk
  • Paint suitable for countertops
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About the Author

Kaye Morris has over four years of technical writing experience as a curriculum design specialist and is a published fiction author. She has over 20 years of real estate development experience and received her Bachelor of Science in accounting from McNeese State University along with minors in programming and English.