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How to Paint Countertops: A Complete Guide

Are you wondering how to paint countertops? If so, you’re in the right place. I’m going to walk you through the process step-by-step.

Replacing your countertops is not just expensive. It’s also a lot of work. Beyond that, you also risk damaging your cabinets when you remove the countertops.

The good news is that if you know how to paint laminate countertops, you can skip all of the headaches and start enjoying gorgeous new countertops with this inexpensive solution. Let’s dive in and learn all about painting countertops.

How to paint countertops

Can You Paint Laminate Countertops?

If you’re wondering if you can paint laminate counters, you’ll be happy to learn that you absolutely can. In fact, painting your laminate countertops is the perfect solution for giving give your kitchen or bathroom counters a fresh new look.

A kitchen countertop or bathroom countertop goes through a lot of abuse and use from heat, water, constant cleaning, and spills. However, the key to successfully painting laminate countertops is to do solid research, make sure you prep carefully, and ensure that you have the right materials and tools ready for the job.

Tools and Supplies Needed to Paint Laminate Countertops

We have compiled a list of all of the supplies and materials you need to paint your laminate countertops. Fortunately, most of these supplies are affordable and you may already have many of them in your workshop.

Prep Materials and Supplies

  • To paint laminate countertops you need medium-grit (150 grit sandpaper or 220 grit sandpaper) sandpaper and/or an orbital sander. You will also need a sanding block for sanding corners and edges.
  • You may also need some contact cement to repair any areas where the laminate is coming loose from the underlying particleboard.

Drop Cloth and Painters Tape

  • To protect your floor, backsplash, appliances, and cabinets, use a drop cloth or plastic sheeting and blue painter’s tape.

Safety Supplies

  • We recommend doing any project that involves chemicals and sanding while wearing protective goggles. It’s also helpful to have some latex or nitrile gloves.
  • One more thing we recommend that you use in any painting project is a mask that will protect you from the fumes of the paint.

Cleaning Supplies

You’ll need a few different things to clean your countertops before you prime and paint them. Also, you need supplies to clean up the area after you’re finished painting your laminate countertops.

  • Rags
  • Paper towels
  • Mineral spirits (use this after you sand to remove all of the sanding dust)

Paint Sprayer

  • If you’re going to spraypaint your countertops (yes, it can be done), you need a high-quality paint sprayer that’s designed for working in small or enclosed spaces. Note that the method we’re detailing in this article is how to paint countertops with paintbrushes.

Painting Supplies

Having high-quality paintbrushes and paint rollers is key to your success in painting your laminate countertops.

  • High-quality trim paintbrush
  • Rollers
  • Foam rollers (optional)
  • Small paint roller
  • Medium paint roller
  • Foam paint roller

You also need a high-quality sturdy paint tray and paint tray liners.

Primer, Paint, and Topcoat Sealer

To paint your laminate countertops, you need three products:

  • Latex-based primer
  • Lates-based paint
  • Topcoat sealer or pour-on high-gloss finish

You can opt for oil-based paints if you prefer the durability that comes with oil-based products.

When choosing your topcoat sealer, be sure you get one that specifically says that it doesn’t dry with a yellow color.

One popular and effective way to seal your countertops after you paint them is by using a pour-on sealer that has a glossy finish. If you want to seal your laminate countertops this way, you need a product similar to this one.


It’s helpful to have a blowtorch for zapping air bubbles that form in your resin or topcoat.

Optional Supplies

If you want to do a decorative look such as faux marble or faux stone countertops, you can use supplies such as a sea sponge or a feather.

How to paint countertops

Step-by-Step Guide to Painting Laminate Countertops

Are you ready to get started learning how to paint countertops? Let’s do this.

Step 1: Gather Supplies

  • Gather all of your supplies before you ever get started painting your countertops. Once you get your flow going, you don’t want to have to stop and run to the store for more supplies. If you’re ordering products online, make sure you measure your area carefully so that you can order the correct amount of paint, primer, and topcoat sealer.
  • When it comes to paint brushes, paint tray liners, and paint rollers, it’s better to have more than you need than to find yourself running short.
  • Keep in mind that you’ll need two coats of paint and two coats of topcoat, so be sure you buy enough.

Step 2: Prep the Countertop’s Surface

When they are installed right out of the factory, laminate countertops are perfectly smooth. Because of this, they’re not ideal for painting without some prep work. To get your laminate countertops ready for painting, you need to lightly sand them after cleaning them. Then, you need to clean them with mineral spirits to remove all of the dust from the sanding.

  1. Before you get started, open the windows if possible and operate fans in the area so that there is plenty of proper ventilation.
  2. First of all, you need to make sure your kitchen countertops or bathroom counters are free of debris. Things like dirt, grease, or food will ruin your paint job.
  3. Once your countertops are clean, you need to give your countertops a light sanding so that the primer and paint have something to adhere to. You can use sandpaper for this process, but if you have an orbital sander, this part of the job will go much more quickly. Make sure you have a sanding block handy so that you can get the backsplashes and corners.
  4. When sanding, don’t sand all the way through the laminate. Your goal is to just scratch it up enough that your primer will properly adhere.
  5. Once your countertops are sanded, grab a rag and the mineral spirits and use those to clean all of the dust from the laminate surface. Run your hand over the entire surface of the countertops to ensure that they are clean and smooth.

During the preparation process, make note of any sections that are separating from the underlying particleboard. You can repair these problem areas with your contact cement.

Step 3: Apply Painter’s Tape and Drop Cloth

  • When the mineral spirits you used to clean the dust from your sanded countertops have dried, it’s time to begin to apply the painter’s tape along the edges of your countertops. At this time, you’ll also put down any drop cloths you want to use to protect your floor from spills or drips.
  • For best results, you need to ensure that you’re protecting anything that may come into contact with the paint or sealer, including your walls, cabinets, sink, stove, and refrigerator.

Step 4: Prime the Countertops

Once you have everything taped and protected, you can get ready to prime your countertops. Follow the steps outlined below for perfectly primed countertops.

  1. Pour your primer into a sturdy paint tray.
  2. Use your paint roller to capture the primer.
  3. Using a back-and-forth motion, apply the roller to the countertop, overlapping each prior pass by a couple of inches to make sure your edges are wet.
  4. For the edges and corners of your countertops, switch to the trim paintbrush. When you brush the primer onto the countertop, do so while the rolled primer is still slightly wet so that the dried primer will be a flatter and more consistent texture.
  5. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to allow the primer to fully dry. In most cases, it’s a good idea to allow your primer 24 hours of dry time to dry and completely cure.

Once your primer is dry, you’re ready to prepare to start painting.

Step 5: Prepare for Painting

You’ll have some time while your primer is drying. Use this time to get ready for the fun part: the painting.

  1. Pour your leftover primer back into the primer’s original can.
  2. Toss out the paint tray liner you used for the primer.
  3. Place a new paint tray liner into your paint tray.
  4. Throw away the follower cover that you used for the primer.
  5. Clean your paintbrushes thoroughly with mineral spirits or soap and water.

Ready to start painting? Let’s go!

Step 6: Start Painting

As soon as the primer on your countertops is completely dry, you can start painting.

  1. Mix your paint if needed and pour it into your sturdy paint tray.
  2. Using a fresh paint roller, apply the paint to the primed laminate countertops.
  3. Make sure you’re overlapping each stroke to maintain a wet edge.
  4. When you get to the kitchen backsplash, corners, and edges, switch to your small paintbrush.
  5. Use your paintbrush to reach any hard-to-reach spots.
  6. Allow the first coat to dry completely.
  7. Paint your laminate countertops with a second coat of paint.
  8. Once you are done painting your countertops, replace the paint tray liner with a new liner, apply a clean roller to your paint roller, and clean your paintbrushes.

Step 7: Apply the Correct Topcoat

Believe it or not, the most important step to painting laminate countertops is the effectiveness of your topcoat or sealer (sometimes called a clear coat). Kitchen countertops are hard-working surfaces, and a good topcoat is essential to protecting your gorgeous new paint job. A good sealing topcoat will protect your painted laminate countertops from many types of damage, including excess water damage.

  1. To apply your topcoat, follow the same process you followed for priming and painting your countertops. Keep in mind that because your topcoat is clear, you won’t be able to see it as clearly, so be sure you take your time as you apply it to your countertops.
  2. As with the painting and priming, overlap your roller strokes so that you can be sure you have a wet edge.
  3. Don’t forget to use your small paintbrush to seal the edges, corners, and other hard-to-reach areas.
  4. As drips form along the edges, wipe them immediately with a damp rag.
  5. If bubbles form during this process, use your blowtorch to pop them. If you don’t have a blowtorch, you can try blowing at them through a plastic or metal drinking straw.
  6. You will also need a second coat of your sealer. Fortunately, latex-based topcoat sealer has a quick dry time, and it’s usually dry within a couple of hours.
  7. Once your countertops are completely dry, you can remove your painter’s tape.

Caring for Your Painted Countertops

To keep your beautiful new countertop with paint looking like new, avoid scrubbing tools, steel wool, and abrasive cleaners. Instead, clean your countertops every day with a soft sponge or a rag using mild dishwashing liquid.

About once a month, you can use mineral oil on a soft damp cloth to wipe the kitchen counters down.

how to paint countertops

Wrapping Up the Beginners Guide for How to Paint Countertops

Do you feel confident painting your laminate countertops? Maybe you’ll be ready to tackle painting your kitchen cabinets next. When you’re ready to give your kitchen a gorgeous face-lift, be sure to check out our article on that topic.

Check out all our resources on Painting Kitchen Cabinets here.