How To Update Formica Cabinets With Paint

You may notice your cabinets have faded, or it no longer blends with the room, but it doesn't mean you have to replace them. Formica cabinets can be made over with a fresh coat of paint. However, you won't be able to just slap a coat of paint on it since it is slippery and porous.  

It is possible to paint the cabinets, but you need a careful hand. Make over your Formica cabinets by following these tips:

Prepare to Work

To paint the cabinets, gather:

  • work gloves
  • pencil
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • dish soap
  • denatured alcohol
  • rags
  • towels
  • drop cloths
  • tack cloth
  • orbital sander or 120-grit sandpaper
  • paint brushes and paint roller 
  • shellac primer and paint formulated for slick surfaces

Snap a photo, or label hardware as you remove it to help recall the position. Detach the hardware using the screwdriver, set the hardware on towels, and lay the doors on a flat surface. If you prefer to leave the doors on or you can't remove the hardware, place painter's tape over the hardware.

Clean and Sand the Cabinets

Give the cabinet surface and doors a good cleaning with a rag and several drops of dish soap mixed with warm water, then let all surfaces dry. For stubborn grease and stains, use trisodium phosphate.

Lay drop cloths around the work area, and under doorways, then raise a window to ventilate. Sand each door and all cabinet surfaces with the orbital sander or by hand. You only need to remove enough of the finish to roughen it. Clean sand dust with a tack cloth. 

Prime and Paint

A shellac primer works well on Formica because it dries faster than water-based or oil-based primers. However, you will need to clean your tools with denatured alcohol to remove paint. Shellac primer will also give a slight alcohol smell until it dries.

Roll the primer on all surfaces, and use a paint brush to reach tight spaces; cleaning drips with the rag. Let the first coat dry, and brush on a second coat, if needed. If the primer smears, it means you need to wipe the primer and sand the area again.

After the primer has dried completely, roll the paint on all areas in the same manner as you did the primer. Let the first coat dry, and apply a second and third cost as needed, when the previous layer feels sticky to the touch and stays on your finger. Remove the tape, and reinstall the doors.

Contact a company like Plastic Line Mfg Inc for more information and assistance. 


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