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Old 07-05-2013, 00:08   #1
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Painting Laminate or Formica Countertops

Hello,
Newbie here. We have dated laminate countertops in the galley that we are debating to paint with the RustOleum countertop paint. (link->) RustOleum.com
Has anyone done this already? Did it work out well, does it last? We have concerns about painting over the existing countertops because they are "original equipment", however ugly they are. Would love to hear ALL pros/cons to this project. Thanks in advance!
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Old 07-05-2013, 11:24   #2
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Re: Painting Laminate or Formica Countertops

We have some friends who did this on a Golden Hinde. They consulted A LOT with different paint manufacturers before deciding what product to use, and how best to use it. I strongly suspect that a simple paint job is not going to last well or be attractive.

The more information you give the forum (type of boat, picture of counters, &c.), the more the other posters will be able to help you.
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Old 07-05-2013, 17:46   #3
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Not on a boat but had that done to a bathroom on land. Did not wear well.
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Old 07-05-2013, 18:23   #4
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Re: Painting Laminate or Formica Countertops

I would replace the laminate rather than trying to paint it. It's not extremely difficult. I had to install some laminate when I replaced the carpet in my boat with synthetic teak and holly. The remaining carpet going up the wall didn't look good.

You'll need a laminate trimmer (router) for about $80, some files, contact cement, rollers, and of course, the laminate. Home centers have or can order hundreds of colors and textures.

There are videos on youtube that show how it is done. I suggest watching them, and then practicing on scrap plywood.

It's going to look far better than paint and last many, many years with just a little care.
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Old 07-05-2013, 19:16   #5
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Re: Painting Laminate or Formica Countertops

Here's another approach

Laminate counter Makeover for $28 with Epoxy & Contact Paper…Yes.. I really just said that… | Impatiently Crafty
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Old 07-05-2013, 19:18   #6
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Re: Painting Laminate or Formica Countertops

We just finished with giving this a try. Our lessons here:

Painting Formica Countertops in a Boat - Part 1: Giani Granite Paint | Sundowner Sails Again

and

Painting Formica Countertops in a Boat - Part 2: Waterbased Latex Acrylic, Polyurethane | Sundowner Sails Again
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Old 08-05-2013, 20:55   #7
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Re: Painting Laminate or Formica Countertops

Why would you paint p-lam? As long as its not edge banded, you just sand the old stuff and apply a new layer over the top, don't even bother to remove the original. Often an option. Even if you have to redo some edge banding or trim, it's way better than paint.
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Old 08-05-2013, 22:31   #8
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Re: Painting Laminate or Formica Countertops

Quote:
Originally Posted by acceber1978 View Post
Hello,
Newbie here. We have dated laminate countertops in the galley that we are debating to paint with the RustOleum countertop paint. (link->) RustOleum.com
Has anyone done this already? Did it work out well, does it last? We have concerns about painting over the existing countertops because they are "original equipment", however ugly they are. Would love to hear ALL pros/cons to this project. Thanks in advance!
We are thinking about doing this same thing. I'm a home appraiser, and I see these countertops quite often. They look great, and they wear well.

This would be a stop-gap project for us - to give us a couple of years. We really want to replace them with Corian, but that's a much bigger project.
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Old 09-05-2013, 06:33   #9
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Re: Painting Laminate or Formica Countertops

Why not just remove the old laminate and apply another one in it's place.
If you don't have a frame around it or the frame can be removed, the laminate itself can be removed in under 5 minutes with just a few ounces of lacquer thinner. I did that a lot in my woodworking business and recently on my new-to-me boat.
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Old 09-05-2013, 18:33   #10
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Re: Painting Laminate or Formica Countertops

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Originally Posted by Tony B View Post
Why not just remove the old laminate and apply another one in it's place.
If you don't have a frame around it or the frame can be removed, the laminate itself can be removed in under 5 minutes with just a few ounces of lacquer thinner. I did that a lot in my woodworking business and recently on my new-to-me boat.
Ours has teak around it - with about a 1" lip. That will be the biggest part of the project - removal of the trim and reinstalling it. That and the cutouts for fridge and freezer.
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Old 09-05-2013, 19:35   #11
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Re: Painting Laminate or Formica Countertops

I had the original laminate coming up on my galley counter. I pulled it up and found the 3/4" plywood substrate was rotted from a persistant port hole leak. I let the plywood dry out for a few weeks then doug out the rotted parts. Using thickened epoxy, I filled the voids. I then did a measured drawing in CAD and sent it as an email attachment to Stainless Steel Fabricators. In a few weeks the new stainless steel counter top was delivered. I glued it down with 5200. It has worked well and always looks great.

I would not recommend any solution to your counter top issue that in any way detracts from eye appeal. If you try to get off on the cheap it will look that way and will conpromise the VALUE OF YOUR BOAT.
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Old 09-05-2013, 19:58   #12
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Re: Painting Laminate or Formica Countertops

Had same issue with tired laminate and wooden fiddle rail. Also had old holes not needed and cracks. Made pattern and laid down 1/8 marine ply with staples. Bondo over staples to smooth. You want this perfectly smooth. Then glued down the new laminate cut to the pattern. Not too difficult.
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Old 10-05-2013, 04:35   #13
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Re: Painting Laminate or Formica Countertops

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Originally Posted by SVNeko View Post
Had same issue with tired laminate and wooden fiddle rail. Also had old holes not needed and cracks. Made pattern and laid down 1/8 marine ply with staples. Bondo over staples to smooth. You want this perfectly smooth. Then glued down the new laminate cut to the pattern. Not too difficult.
The usual way of installing laminate is with contact cement on both the laminate and the substrate. The laminate is cut oversized, glued down, and trimmed to fit with a laminate trimmer (a small router) and a file for places where the router will not fit. This gives a perfect fit

There are videos on the Internet showing this process.

I installed the laminate in this photo after installing the floor. I also milled and installed the mahogany trim.

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Old 10-05-2013, 09:45   #14
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Re: Painting Laminate or Formica Countertops

Quote:
Originally Posted by minaret View Post
Why would you paint p-lam? As long as its not edge banded, you just sand the old stuff and apply a new layer over the top, don't even bother to remove the original. Often an option. Even if you have to redo some edge banding or trim, it's way better than paint.

Well this thread is right in time. Adding to what my husband linked above Painting Formica Countertops in a Boat - Part 2: Waterbased Latex Acrylic, Polyurethane | Sundowner Sails Again

We wanted to try painting the formica since we have teak fiddles on many spots as well as a sink and faucet fixture. It would have been SOO much more work to remove all of this. Everything sounds easy in theroy. "Oh just remove the fiddles and replace" but nothing ever works out that way. You end up with 100 other side projects you didn't even expect. PLUS we just need this counter to last a while, you can always sand and apply another topcoat. I've heard even Corian doesn't last long on a boat.

I am currently in the process of painting the formica actually on the boat. We did this process with a removable table at home in our condo with GREAT results. It's actually really not that hard at all and the table at home sees alot of use without issue.


After lots of research this is the process and products (all water based) we use:
  1. Clean old formica with TSP and degreaser, wash well with water.
  2. Sand old formica with 60 or 80 Grit sandpaper. Vacuum dust, wipe with wet rag.
  3. Tape off edges.
  4. Prime with Sherwin Williams Multi Purpose latex primer, using a foam brush for the edges first then a 1/4" synthetic roller. Put on two coats 1 to 2 hours apart. You don't need to sand if you apply the 2 coats within a couple of days.
  5. Paint with Sherwin Williams All Surface Latex enamel paint (we used satin) 2-3 coats letting dry 1 day in between each coat.
  6. Score tape with razor and carefully remove
  7. Let paint dry 1 MONTH, trust me this is the most important step. Latex takes a long time to fully cure.
  8. Retape edges.
  9. Next sand paint with 220 grit and use a water-based polyurethane topcoat, we used Giani Granite paint top coat applied per instructions between 70 and 80 degrees, 2-3 coats every 6 hours.
  10. Let topcoat dry 2 weeks
  11. That's it.
Seriously our table looks and wears amazing! The secret is in the paint. The latex dries hard and is somewhat flexible (important on a boat). Once you get the hang of the painting thing its really EASY and quick to do. The longest part is waiting for everything to dry while not using it. We don't live on our boat yet so that part is easy for us.

I'd say give it a try and if you don't like it later you can always just lay formica right on top.

Here are some photos before and after, the top one has the topcoat but the bottom two just have 1 coat of paint. Topcoat to come in a month:



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