How to Paint Laminate Kitchen Cabinets

Laminate kitchen cabinets can take on a dull and drabby look after many years of use but they are also very easy to paint. Paint is one of the fastest ways to give you an entire kitchen a makeover without spending a fortune. New kitchen cabinets can cost in excess of $10,000-$15,000 depending on the size of a kitchen but laminate cabinets can be painted to add a completely new feel and design to an outdated kitchen.

The Following Supplies will be Needed:

  • Palm Sander and light grade sandpaper
  • Primer
  • Paint
  • Screwdriver
  • Painters tape or masking tape
  • Final sealer

The Step-by-Step Process for Painting Laminate Kitchen Cabinets:

Step 1 – Remove all of the Hardware

The first step is to remove all of the hardware from the cabinets. This includes any knobs, handles, and hinges that may be on drawers or cabinet doors. The surface of the laminate cabinets must be clean and free from obstacles before painting. Place all hardware in a safe place so that you can re-install the hardware once the laminate kitchen cabinet painting project is complete.

Step 2 – Clean the Surface

The next step to painting the laminate kitchen cabinets is to thoroughly clean the surface to be painted. Use a damp cloth to remove dirt and debris or greasy build-up from the kitchen cabinets. The kitchen cabinets do not have to be 100% spotless but it is important to remove all major dirt and grime before painting the laminate kitchen cabinets.

Step 3 – Sand the Cabinets

The third step is to use the hand or palm sander with medium-grit sandpaper to sand the laminate cabinets. Lightly sand all surfaces of the laminate before painting. This will assure that the laminate cabinets will have a smooth finish and that the primer will stick to the surface. After sanding the cabinets use a damp cloth to clean any dust or debris that may remain on the surface.

Step 4 – Apply Primer

The primer must be applied to all of the laminate kitchen cabinets before a final paint coat can be applied. There are many one-coat primers on the market but because of the location of the laminate cabinets being in the kitchen, it is recommended that 2 coats of primer be applied to the kitchen cabinets before applying paint. Make sure that each coat of primer dries for at least 4 hours in between in order to allow for time for the paint to begin to cure.

Step 5 – Apply Paint

Apply paint to the laminate kitchen cabinets in a smooth and steady one-way motion. Laminate can be painted with a brush or a trim-type foam roller. Foam rollers will give a smooth texture to the laminate. Be sure to apply paint to the entire surface of the cabinets in an even manner without any drips, runs, or build-up.

Allow the coat of paint to dry completely before applying a second coat. Cabinets should dry for 24-48 hours before the second coat of paint is applied. This process may be repeated 1-2 times depending on the desired coat, finish, and color. Some paints will have a one-coat finish while others may take 2-3 coats over the primer in order to obtain the ideal color on the finished product.

Read: The 6 Best Paint Sprayer for Cabinets

Step 6 – Apply Sealer

Sealing the laminate cabinets will a high gloss or semi-gloss sealer will assure that the kitchen cabinets will be durable and washable. Apply the sealer 24-48 hours after the final coat of paint has dried. There are various types of sealers on the market that can be used when painting laminate kitchen cabinets. Spray sealer works best for a smooth finish but a brush on sealer will also work.

Step 7 – Replace the Hardware

Once the sealer has been applied to the laminate kitchen cabinets and it has dried for at least 24 hours you may replace the hardware such as knobs, handles and hinges to the laminate cabinets. If the knobs and handles of your cabinets are old and outdated, new ones may be purchased relatively inexpensively from a home store such as Home Depot or Lowes. New knobs and handles for cabinets will run about $3-$4 each depending on the style that you choose but they can add a modern look to the newly painted laminate kitchen cabinets.


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