Laminate cabinet surfaces are slick, shiny and difficult to paint. However, painting laminate cabinets comes at a fraction of the cost of expensive kitchen cabinet replacements, and can be done rather easily and quickly with the right set of tools. Freshly painted kitchen cabinets can spruce up the look and feel of any kitchen, and can make it feel like an entirely new room.
Remove all of the cabinet doors, drawers and hardware. Place all of the cabinets and drawers on a dust sheet to be cleaned and prepared for painting. Put all hardware elements in a closable plastic bag for retrieval at a later point.
Clean the surface of the cabinets and drawers with water and a detergent such as dish soap. You do not want to use an abrasive or all-surface cleaner. For stubborn stains, consider using a degreaser such as TSP. Once cleaned, allow the cabinets to dry completely before sanding.
Sand the surfaces by hand using 120-grit sandpaper. This can be completed quite easily and quickly by hand or with the assistance of a power hand-sanding tool. Once sanded, clean up and remove debris by wiping down the sanded surface with a damp cloth and vacuuming or sweeping up any sanding dust that fell on the floor.
Prime the surface using a primer. Sprayed-on primer adheres to the slick surface better than brushed-on primers, according to experts at This Old House. Once the primer is applied, re-sand the surface and repeat the steps for cleaning up sanded areas as outlined in Step 3.
Paint the surface using an acrylic-based paint. Since laminate cabinets are slick, even after sanding, paint is best applied with a paint roller. This will help the paint adhere evenly to the surface area without clumping or showing imperfections from a brush. Allow paint to dry for several hours before remounting cabinet doors and reinstalling drawers. Once all cabinets are back in place, you can reattach the hardware.