Advice and Questions forum: Painting Formica

 
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woodyarn
Mar 14, 2010 9:18 PM CST
I have some old Formica counter tops that that I'm playing with.
I have an idea of painting them with a thin paint and use some plastic wrap to give them a marble look. Then cover with a hard clear coat. I'm not sure which paint would be good to use,
either water based or oil.
Has anyone ever done something like this
Imagedarius
Mar 19, 2010 3:01 PM CST
Name: darius
SW VA Blue Ridge Mountains
Paint doesn't stick very well to formica-type materials. If you sand them first to rough up the surface, it helps... some. Some of the Krylon spray paints are made specifically to adhere to plastics, but I don't know if those come in anything but a spray can.

Your technique would work fine to get the look you want, though.

Good Luck!
~darius
Do Not Meddle in the Affairs of Dragons, for You are Crunchy and Good with Ketchup

ComeVisit my Blog!
Imagemollyd1953
Mar 20, 2010 5:15 AM CST
Name: Molly Denza
Columbia, TN
Years ago that Christopher something decorating guy on tv did something like this. He used stuff that stops stains as the base coat. Killz I think was the name. Several coats of that followed by paint. Only saw it on tv so I can't swear how nice it looked in real life. If I remember right he sanded lightly with a sanding sponge between all the coats.

MollyD
RainDog Farm,Columbia,Tn
Goats




Imagedarius
Mar 20, 2010 9:39 AM CST
Name: darius
SW VA Blue Ridge Mountains
Kilz is a decent product, but I have switched to BIN instead because in my experience it works better at sealing. It's a quick drying orange shellac with a white pigment added.

Having said that, I have used both and had both peel off with even slight abrading...
Do Not Meddle in the Affairs of Dragons, for You are Crunchy and Good with Ketchup

ComeVisit my Blog!
Imagemollyd1953
Mar 20, 2010 3:55 PM CST
Name: Molly Denza
Columbia, TN
I've also used both but only on walls and ceilings so no experience with them on anything else. I had used pine beadboard on a ceiling and all the knots kept leaking. No matter how often I used these products eventually the stain returned. That's how I came to use both brands.

MollyD
RainDog Farm,Columbia,Tn
Goats




Imagedarius
Mar 20, 2010 5:41 PM CST
Name: darius
SW VA Blue Ridge Mountains
LOL, that's almost how I came by their use too. Mine was redwood trim around 8' x 8' Pella sliders, and the redwood kept bleeding through, especially the knots!
Do Not Meddle in the Affairs of Dragons, for You are Crunchy and Good with Ketchup

ComeVisit my Blog!
Imagemollyd1953
Mar 21, 2010 2:30 PM CST
Name: Molly Denza
Columbia, TN
I'm guessing the present owners replaced the beadboard with sheetrock if they had any sense LOL I just couldn't lift it over my head and didn't have access to the right tool for the job.

MollyD
RainDog Farm,Columbia,Tn
Goats




Imageblkraven2
Mar 22, 2010 8:47 PM CST
Name: Kathleen aka Blkraven
zone 8a..Wells Tx.
Rustoleum makes a paint specificly for painting formica now.. comes in about 13 colors. I looked at doing my kitchen counter with it but changed my mind cause I was afraid it would not hold up as hard as I am on them.. many times I have to use them as a work bench..lol. but for a backsplash or a bathroom I think it would work great
Ravens Wing Studio
Creating tomorrows Heirloom Baskets today, Handwoven Antler Baskets and Gourd Art
Imageblkraven2
Mar 22, 2010 8:47 PM CST
Name: Kathleen aka Blkraven
zone 8a..Wells Tx.
Rustoleum makes a paint specificly for painting formica now.. comes in about 13 colors. I looked at doing my kitchen counter with it but changed my mind cause I was afraid it would not hold up as hard as I am on them.. many times I have to use them as a work bench..lol. but for a backsplash or a bathroom I think it would work great
Ravens Wing Studio
Creating tomorrows Heirloom Baskets today, Handwoven Antler Baskets and Gourd Art
Imagercn48
Mar 29, 2010 3:40 AM CST
Name: Debbie
Lexington, VA
woodyarn, I just found this thread and I'm not sure if you've attempted this project yet but to answer your question - YES it can be done! Hurray! I've recently finished painting my formica counters and even though it was a frustrating experience I'm happy to report they are finally done and overall I'm pleased with the results.

Our counters used to be dark green formica but after 15+ years they had faded and in some areas looked like "teal" green. I did a ton of research about painting them to get a "faux granite look" and ended up buying a kit from from this company: Giani http://www.liquidstainlesssteel.com/giani/index.html. Although not terribly expensive ($49.95) I realize now that I could have saved a few dollars just buying small cans of the paint myself. The kit includes enough paint to cover 35 sq ft (or 16 running feet of counter) but I had problems with the base coat and had to buy an extra quart of paint to remedy the streaking problem I encountered. However, I considered it a small investment considering what it would have cost to replace the countertops!

This is what my countertops looked like before I got started.

Thumbnail by rcn48

Imagercn48
Mar 29, 2010 3:50 AM CST
Name: Debbie
Lexington, VA
Darius is right, the first step is lightly sanding the counters before applying the paint and it's crucial to thoroughly clean the counters before you start to remove any grease, etc. I chose a black granite look so the base coat was black and then you sponge on three different colors - Black, Pearl and Bronze. You can choose whatever "theme" you're going for (dark vs light) and buy your paint colors accordingly. All of the paints used are latex so they dry quickly and by the third day you're ready for the sealer. This is where I ran into my problems. Grumbling The sealer Giani provided dried so fast that by the time I had rolled my second pass over the counter the first was already drying and I had difficulty smoothing the ridges formed from the roller with each pass!

After applying several coats of the sealer trying to remedy the problem with ridges I realized I wasn't going to have enough to finish the rest of the counters and had to buy a quart of Minwax Polycrylic. I had considered using an Epoxy sealer because of its self-leveling ability but was hesitant after reading about the problems others had encountered with Epoxy products so stuck with my original decision to use a latex product. With the next coat I attempted applying the sealer with a foam brush but now instead of "ridges" I had streaks! Thumbs down This is how they looked when I almost gave up!

Thumbnail by rcn48

Imagercn48
Mar 29, 2010 4:33 AM CST
Name: Debbie
Lexington, VA
In the midst of all this frustration with the counters I decided to tackle a ceramic tile backsplash in the kitchen and left the problem with the countertops until I was finished with the second part of the project. I was considering using an oil based product to "fix" the problem once I was done with the tiling job because it doesn't dry as fast as the Polycrylic and I might be able to disguise the streaking with additional coats. In the meantime I found a product called "Latex Extender" at Sherwin Williams and invested another $10.00 to mix it with the Polycrylic and try one more time and it worked! The Latex Extender gives you more flexibility (more time) to smooth out the ridges. One other thing I did was to change the Polycrylic I was using - yes, one more expense! Angry However, I decided I didn't really like the glossy look and chose to use Satin for the final coat. I'm much happier with the Satin finish, it doesn't show the dust nearly as much as the glossy finish! Hilarious! The only thing I'm not 100% satisfied with is the foam roller leaves bubbles in the finish so it's more of a rough finish than smooth but I can live with it.

One word of caution, the sealer HAS to cure for at least two weeks. If liquid (water, etc.) beads up on the counter the finish will turn "white" but once it's wiped clean it quickly disappears. I don't have a close up of the counter but this is the overall "look" of the kitchen when I finished. Even though I had to invest a little more than the original $50.00 for the kit, it still cost me less than $100.00 and no more green counters! Hurray!

Thumbnail by rcn48

Imagemollyd1953
Mar 29, 2010 7:01 AM CST
Name: Molly Denza
Columbia, TN
Awesome Debbie! The end result has a classy look to it!

MollyD
RainDog Farm,Columbia,Tn
Goats




Imagedarius
Mar 29, 2010 8:04 AM CST
Name: darius
SW VA Blue Ridge Mountains
Good job, Debbie!
Do Not Meddle in the Affairs of Dragons, for You are Crunchy and Good with Ketchup

ComeVisit my Blog!
Imagercn48
Mar 30, 2010 5:01 AM CST
Name: Debbie
Lexington, VA
Thanks, it was indeed a frustrating project but I'm finally happy with the results! I sent off a Cmail to woodyarn just in case she isn't watching the thread. I'm sure I can give her some helpful pointers if she tackles her counters - just wish I had someone to point me in the right direction before I started! Sticking tongue out
ImageHenryr10
Mar 30, 2010 8:51 AM CST
Name: Ric
Cincinnati, Oh
Excellent Job!
Thanks for the play by play!
Many times your frustrations lead to a much smoother job for someone else.

A LOT of DIY Projects have a big 'learning curve'.
Then you get done and never use the info again.
Passing on your experience definitely helps others.

Ric
“The pain I feel now is the happiness I had before. That's the deal.”
C.S. Lewis
JuneBug
Apr 13, 2011 4:45 PM CST
Name: June or Nancy☺
Dover AFB, Delaware
I need to do this @ my house in Missouri! How is it holding up?
Imagercn48
May 10, 2011 2:10 AM CST
Name: Debbie
Lexington, VA
June, sorry to take so long to respond, it's a busy season for us! Blinking I'm happy to report that the painted countertops are holding up REALLY well! It's been almost a year and half and other than a thin line around the sink where I didn't get quite close enough, they look as good now as they did after completing them. I just touch up the area around the sink with a black marker now and then and no one notices it except for me! Hilarious! If you need more information let me know, it really is a cheap alternative to replacing countertops and fairly easy. I tip my hat to you.
JuneBug
May 11, 2011 2:17 AM CST
Name: June or Nancy☺
Dover AFB, Delaware
Oh! That is Great! I was wondering so much about the durability. My DH chose shiny surfaces for our kitchen as he just looooves shiny stuff. Oh.how.horrible! We have the hardest time in the world trying to keep that room looking nice. Every fingerprint shows as loudly as it can and it scuffs and scratches easily. I can't wait to get back there and fix it up like you did your green counter. (I love your backsplash♥too!)
Imagercn48
May 11, 2011 5:26 AM CST
Name: Debbie
Lexington, VA
Thanks June, the backsplash really added so much to the whole look plus it's so easy to clean. Even when my kitchen is dirty now it still looks clean! Hilarious! When you finally get back to try painting your countertops let me know if you need any more help. Smiling

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