Is Painting Laminate Countertops An Option?
Painting laminate counter-tops can provide a quick fix and freshen up a tired looking kitchen. It is definitely an option for you should you be considering remodeling possibilities.
Painting your laminate counter-top will be considerably less expensive than replacing the whole surface. However, the melamine paint you need is not cheap, and you will also need to purchase trisodium phosphate to clean the surface in addition to other necessary materials like sandpaper, primer and topcoat.
If you weigh up the cost of painting versus replacing the counter-top, painting is a good method of extending the life of the work surface until you can afford to replace it.
If you paint your laminate counter-top you will have to be very careful with the finished surface afterwards. It must not be used as a chopping board and will chip and scratch more easily than a new laminate. You can increase the durability of the painted counter-top by applying a protective top coat, but it will still be more vulnerable than the original laminate.
Be prepared to spend a long time painting your laminate counter-top. First you will need to clean the counter-top with trisodium phosphate, and follow up with an alcohol wash to remove all traces of oil. The surface then needs to be sanded by hand, as automatic sanders will be too vigorous and might mark the hardboard underneath the laminate layer. Next you must wash it again with an alcohol wash, and apply a primer.
When the primer is completely dry, the counter-top will need at least three coats of good quality melamine paint applied with a roller, and you will need to wait until each coat has dried completely before the next one can be applied. After all of the coats of paint dry, you can add the topcoat. You can see from this timescale that the job will span over the whole day, although the do-it-yourself enthusiast can get on with other jobs in between coats of paint.
This is not a difficult do-it-yourself task, but if you make a mistake with a paint run or a scratch, it will be more time consuming as you will need to sand it down and start again.
The finished painted counter-top will look good, but it will need to be handled carefully to stay looking good as it chips easily.
You could try your hand at a granite effect by using a couple of other colors and applying them with a sponge after the final layer of the base color. This is an effective but time consuming technique, but will look indistinguishable from a professionally prepared laminate.