What Clear Coats are Good for Formica Countertops?

Written by cheryl munson
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What Clear Coats are Good for Formica Countertops?
Keep Formica countertops durable and vibrant by applying a protective sealant. (Beautiful and new kitchen furniture on modern kitchen image by terex from Fotolia.com)

Formica countertops have been installed in many homes across America. They are most commonly installed in kitchen and bathroom areas because of their durability and easy maintenance qualities. Some homeowners opt for new Formica designs to mimic the trendier looks of granite and marble. Whether the Formica is old or new, applying a clear protective coating will enhance the look and extend the countertop lifetime.

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Clear Acrylic Paint Sealant

If you are painting the Formica countertop with a colour, use an acrylic paint as the base. Follow with at least one coat of a clear acrylic paint to serve as the sealant, which will protect the countertop from chipping and flaking.


A polyurethane coating is a common choice that helps extend the life of the countertop and serves as a protective sealant. Prior to applying polyurethane as a clear coat sealant, apply at least one coat of a primer followed by multiple coats of paint. Give the countertop a clear sealant coat of polyurethane. Follow the directions to allow for adequate drying time between the primer and paint before applying the polyurethane clear coat as a sealant.


Varnish is a medium to give a Formica countertop an "established" protective clear coat base. After applying a coat of varnish, it will "cure" relatively rapidly and create a hard and smooth protective coating. Once it is totally dried and cured, you can maintain the countertop by using mineral oil or Tung oil on a monthly basis.

Tung Oil

Tung Oil is easy to apply and is highly durable. It is a natural product and transforms into an effective finish when it is exposed to oxygen. Selecting a Tung oil product, whether pure of a derivative or not, is not as much of a concern when applying it to a Formica countertop as applying to a natural surface like wood. Most Tung oil products --- whether pure or a derivative -- will suffice for application to Formica countertops whether they are new or old. The Tung oil will add lustre, sheen, revitalise and protect the Formica countertop surface and can be used for ongoing maintenance.

Mineral Oil

Mineral oil is another coating option if you are concerned about using natural products. It is also an economical and easy-to-find choice for providing a clear coat to Formica countertops. Use a lint-free cloth to apply the mineral oil to the countertop, allow it to absorb into the surface and reapply as a part of your countertop maintenance regime on polyurethane or varnish coating.

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