Yes, you can paint Formica countertops – our experts explain how

Extend the lifespan of your Formica countertops by giving them a fresh coat of paint

A general interior view of a domestic dove grey kitchen, with painted white walls, island with quartz worktop, chrome tap, grey crushed velvet bar stools, stainless steel range cooker oven, chrome tap, skylight, vertical radiator, potted plant and patio doors into the back garden within a home
(Image credit: John Keeble via Getty Images)

Formica countertops – also known as laminate countertops – are always a great option for those looking to update their kitchen on a budget.  

Formica, unlike other materials such as granite or quartz, can still provide a sleek and modern look for your kitchen while being cost-effective. Other benefits include its durability, affordability, and easy maintenance.

In short, yes, painting Formica countertops is possible, but it requires careful preparation and the right materials to ensure a durable and attractive finish.

Below our experts share how you can paint your Formica countertops in 3 easy steps:

Step 1: Preparation & Priming

Kitchen countertop in laminate

(Image credit: Future / Robert Sanderson)

‘Start by thoroughly cleaning and preparing the surface of your Formica countertop,’ suggests Karina Toner, Operations Manager at Spekless Cleaning. ‘This includes removing any dirt, grime, or grease that may have accumulated over time. A mild cleaner and sandpaper can help with this process.’

Once the surface is clean and dry, sand the surface lightly with a fine-grit sandpaper block from Amazon to scuff it up; this helps the primer adhere better. Apply a good-quality bonding primer designed for glossy surfaces to seal the raw particle board. The Clear Zinsser, Gardz Water-Based Problem Surface Sealer from Amazon works well in particular for Formica countertops, providing a solid foundation for the topcoat.

It’s important that you invest time in prepping your Formica countertops for painting. If not done correctly, water may seep under the sink edge, causing swelling and rot, which can lead to the whole unit needing replacing.

Karina Toner
Karina Toner

Karina is the Operations Manager at Spekless Cleaning, a trusted maid service based in Washington D.C. The team has over five years of experience providing top-quality cleaning services for both residential and commercial clients. Karina oversees every aspect of the business, ensuring that every client gets the same top-notch service and a spotless clean every time. 

Step 2: Painting

For the paint, select a specialty acrylic or enamel paint that can adhere to laminate and withstand regular kitchen wear and tear. The All Surface Enamel paint from Sherwin-Williams and Benjamin Moore ADVANCE Waterborne Alkyd Enamel from Southern Paint & Supply both offer ranges suitable for this job as their enamel options are particularly durable. However one point to know is that enamel-based paint also needs to fully cure before you can use it, which can take 1-2 weeks.

Apply the paint in multiple thin layers using a foam roller or brush. Don't forget to allow each layer to dry completely before adding the next one. While the process may take some time and patience, the end result will be well worth the effort. 

Latex-based paint can also be an option if you prefer that finish. However, it tends not to hold up to heavy use, so may not be suitable for kitchen countertops

You can also use a paint sprayer, such as the VONFORN Paint Sprayer from Amazon for a smooth and even finish when painting kitchen countertops

Step 3: Seal the Deal

After the final paint coat is completely dry, Kriss Swint, Design Lead at Westlake Royal Building Products, recommends applying a clear acrylic sealer such as Rust-Oleum 284470 Varathane Triple Thick Polyurethane from Amazon. ‘This step is vital as it protects painted surfaces from moisture, stains, and scratches,’ says Kriss. ‘Alternatively using a water-based sealer adds durability without yellowing over time.’ 

This practice can extend the life of your countertops significantly, demonstrating up to 70% more durability compared to unsealed surfaces.

Kriss Swint
Kriss Swint

Kriss Swint is the director of marketing communications and design lead at Westlake Royal Building Products and the Managing Editor of She serves as a creative visionary and design lead at Westlake Royal, naming and branding new colors.


 What Are The benefits of Formica countertops?

The benefits of painting Formica instead of opting for materials like granite or quartz include cost efficiency and customization. Paint allows for a variety of color choices, matching any design theme without the need for extensive kitchen modifications. Plus, painting can be a rewarding DIY project or a quick update handled by professionals, saving substantial remodeling time and expense while still rejuvenating the space. 

Are Formica and laminate the same thing?

Formica is essentially a common brand name for laminate, as laminate is the substance itself. Both terms are widely used to describe certain kitchen countertops, vanity units and bar counters coming in a variety of colors and designs. 

While painting Formica countertops can be a practical and budget-friendly solution, it's essential to use high-quality materials and follow proper preparation and application techniques to ensure a successful and long-lasting result. 

Seraphina Di Mizzurati
Contributing Editor

Seraphina is a contributing editor at Homes & Gardens, writing Solved features on organizing and storage. She loves to decorate and also grow her own produce from her home in London. Her previous experience includes working at Women's Health and Fabulous Magazine.