You might find your self with a brush in your hand, looking at a piece of furniture covered with plastic laminate and asking yourself: can I paint this thing? The answer is yes, but don’t touch that heirloom beauty with that brush just yet! Painting plastic laminate is not the same as painting wood veneer. First, you need to get the proper primer and get the prep work done right, and only then you can give that splash of paint you intended.
So, let’s talk now about the primer you need to get, and how to do the prep work properly.
When it comes to painting plastic laminate, selecting a proper bonding primer is absolutely crucial. You must make sure that you get a primer that is specially formulated to adhere to glossy surfaces, or otherwise, you risk having your job ruined by paint bubbling and/or peeling.
There are several products on the market that will ensure proper bonding to laminate. Below, there are a couple of good primers listed for your convenience, but you may also want to talk to your hardware store representative from the paint section, or to a paint store salesperson and see what choices they offer.
The highly recommended primers for plastic laminate are:
• Zinsser – Primer-Sealer Stain Killer COVER STAIN (Oil-Based Interior Exterior PRIMER Stain Blocker.
• Sherwin-Williams – Extreme Bond™ Bonding Primer.
If you have decided on using a darker colour for your cabinets, then you may want to tint your primer. Matching its colour tone to the colour of the paint you will use may save you from needlessly using to much paint on touch ups.
Step 1: CLEAN SURFACE
First remove the handles, knobs or other hardware from your furniture. Next, clean all the surfaces you will be painting with Tri Sodium Phosphate or mineral spirits. Make sure you do a good job because your paint won't stick well in the areas that are dirty or greasy. Let it all dry completely.
Step 2: SAND SURFACE
Once all the surfaces are clean and dry sand them lightly with 150 grit sandpaper. It will promote a better grip between the surface and the primer. Remove dust with a vacuum cleaner and the tack cloth. Make sure you wear a dust mask while sanding.
Step 3: FILL UP DENTS, GROOVES, AND SEEMS
If there are any dents, slashes, or holes on your cabinet surface that you want to fix, use laminate putty or a fine auto body filler to fill them up. Wait for it to cure and sand the affected area (you might have to repeat this procedure a few times in order to make the surface nice and flat).
Step 4: APPLY THE PRIMER
Apply your primer using clean mohair mini roller on the flat surfaces of the cabinets, and using a brush, in the corners and other hard-to-get places. Let it harden, then sand it lightly again with 220-grit sandpaper. Remove dust with a vacuum cleaner and the tack cloth.
Step 5: APPLY THE PAINT
For the paint, choose a product with higher durability, such as Semi-gloss Acrylic Latex Enamel. It will ensure longer life and provide a smooth easy to clean finish.
In a similar fashion, as with applying the primer in a previous step, using clean mohair mini roller, apply the paint on the flat surfaces of your cabinets. Then, using a quality nylon-polyester brush, paint the corners and other hard-to-get places. Always work your way from top to bottom.