A few months ago I decided to paint my laminate countertops as a temporary solution to a very ugly, very burnt orange problem in my kitchen. I was a little hesitant to do so since our actual counter space is minimal and sees a fair amount of traffic, but forged ahead because the price and risk (those countertops are coming out this fall either way!) were low. Here's how they've fared...
They have unfortunately acquired quite a few battle wounds! We have two very heavy wood chopping boards that live on the counter and which are starting to stick to it, what with the summer humidity creeping in. They have been pulling up little flakes of paint here and there, allowing that ugly burnt orange to show through.
Don't get me wrong- I'm happy I tried the paint. My countertops don't look as nice as the day after they were painted but they still look a whole lot better than they did originally.
In the beginning I tried to be so, so careful- I really wanted to give the counters the best possible chance. The manufacturer suggested they cure before light use for 48 hours, normal use for 7 days. We waited the entire 7 days, and tried to be careful throughout the next few weeks- I really wanted this process to work!
As far as care goes, I've tried to pick up things like bowls and appliances rather than scoot them across the counter- especially those giant wood cutting blocks. I've been considerate about the cleaning products, too: no bleach or harsh abrasive chemicals, and a soft sponge or washcloth to wipe clean. Stains happened pretty quickly (onion skins, drips of juice or coffee that went unnoticed) but came out fairly easy.
But after about a month I stopped being so careful. I assumed the counters had cured as much as they were going to, and resumed business as usual. I'm a bit of a tyrant in the kitchen, I make a huge mess, and I throw things and use more dishes than necessary. Needless to say, I worked those countertops.
Overall, painted laminate wasn't the best choice for my kitchen considering the amount of use the countertops see each week. I do, however, think the process could be very useful for renters and homeowners in certain circumstances:
- If you're a seller who wants to do a quick 'n dirty update to kitchen countertops without investing in new, cheap, laminate ones that will most likely be torn out upon the sale of the house.
- A renter who just can't handle dreary, outdated countertops in their kitchen- as long as they have permission to update from the landlord, of course. Even if used all the time, dealing with surface chips here and there (in my experience) is better than staring at an ugly surface.
- A kitchen that is rarely used. If your counters see little to no action, go for it. You'll solve one problem without creating another.
- As a temporary fix. Countertops that are in design purgatory, like mine were, are a great candidate for laminate paint. Slap some on to bridge the gap between your 'before' and 'after'.
More help for laminate counters on Apartment Therapy: