Painting old formica counter tops

Hughesville, MO(Zone 5a)

I am so sick of my old formica counter tops. I am painting the backsplash but am not sure what to do about the flat surface part. I cannot afford to replace it so please don't tell me to do that. I have a can of the bonding paint that I used on the back splash and there is enough for the surface. Does anyone have experience with this or any good suggestions? I do not want dark colors. Only white or light/bright pastel colors. Of course it will have to be heat resistant and very cleanable. Thanks for any help you can give me.

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

All I can tell you is that on a surface like countertops, painting is at best a temporary fix--if you don't use your kitchen much then it may stay looking nice for a while, but if you use it on a regular basis I don't think it'll last too long. Google "painting Formica" and you'll come across some sites that give instructions in terms of surface prep, etc but it really is not a long term solution for your counters.

In terms of your other requirements...Formica itself is not heat resistant so the only way you're going to make it heat resistant is if you tile over it. Paint's not going to change anything.

Hughesville, MO(Zone 5a)

Thanks, I'll do the googling. Didn't even think of that. I have had to use hot plates, etc. anyway. But now that I have painted the back splash it detracts from the flat surface enough to maybe make it tolerable for a few more years.

Wimauma, FL(Zone 9b)


You said you can't afford to replace it - but could you possibly tile it? It's not a "no money" redo but it can be a relatively low money redo.

There are lots of sites if you google. My husband and I recently tiled our old formica countertops and I love the way they came out. It cost several hundred dollars BUT it was over 50 square feet of countertop and I wasn't watching my pennies closely when I chose the tile and trim tiles.

Hughesville, MO(Zone 5a)

I ended up just painting the backsplash & will likely put some good heavy plastic from the upholstery rolls in WalMart over the parts that tend to get the worse wear and tear. I have thought about new sheets of formica maybe in the not so distant future afterall. I'll have to check out prices. I really dislike tile. I have it in the main bathroom for counter top and half way up the walls. Use to have it on floors. I much prefer solid smooth surfaces. But thank for the suggestion. I was watch an informercial on TV this morning from a club called Direct Buys or something like that. I might look into one of them some time when I'm really ready to finish this kitche up right. I have other issues to deal with right now that have to take precidence.

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

Before you go to Direct Buy, there's a thread on them somewhere around here that would be worth reading. Unfortunately I can't remember what forum it was in, but it was one of the home-related ones, maybe Home Decorating? Or maybe it was even in this forum. I think the general consensus on that thread was that if you are doing over your whole house it may be worthwhile, but if you're just doing one or two rooms it's not. And their prices aren't super cheap--you may be saving money over what it would cost to buy the same type of things that they have from somewhere else, but they aren't selling bargain-basement stuff, it's on the more expensive side.

Hughesville, MO(Zone 5a)

Thank for that tip. I'll keep it in mind. I remember our oldest DD working for one of those type companies and she was a dedicated saleperson for them. lol.

Conroe, TX(Zone 9a)

I realize this is an old thread but I just found it and wanted to add my two cents worth!:o)
I bought my house when I got divorced and I couldn't afford new kitchen cabinets or countertops either. My dear friend helped me paint and glaze my cabinets. I found some neat drawer pulls at the Pier 1 clearance center and took cheap brass knobs and glued earth toned rocks I found in my yard to them. It sounds cheezy but it looks cool and I love them! I painted my blue formica countertops. I put a base coat of kilz on them after a light sanding and then used a piece of natural sponge and different colors of earth -toned paint to creat a granite look. The paints were the small bottles of latex paint from a craft store. The colors had to be put on in layers, different colors at a time to get the look I wanted. It took days letting the paint dry between layers. I then added about 5 coats of the water based semi-gloss polyurethane from HD.
I just replaced those countertops with granite and they held up great for 8 years! The cabinets I am keeping as they are because I still like them.
Enclosed is a picture. It looked better than this shows too.

Thumbnail by bobyrd
Trumansburg, NY

I agree Bonnie! We did ours this way, and although it took about a week to do the whole thing right, we loved it. It has lasted us 8 years and is still good to for for many more. We are ready to completely remodel our kitchen though so they will be gone soon. Ours were a black/silver granite look and I have really been pleased with it. We did use tempered glass cutting boards in a couple of spots to protect it, but they have held up really well. Other than the amount of time to do it, I would recommend this as a completely doable option for a thrifty makeover.


Post a Reply to this Thread

Please or sign up to post.