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Hey, you're in the home improvement zone--YOUR HANDYMAN ZONE!

Cabinetry / Shelving Category

Improvement Project:

How to refinish/makeover/reface a countertop, particularly a Formica/laminate countertop, for a newer look using paint.

Tools / Materials (See Below for Applicability):

  • Bucket of water and ammonia-based general soap/detergent

  • Fine sandpaper

  • Epoxy putty or a specialized auto putty like Bondo

  • Plumber's putty knife/flexible joint knife (for spreading putty/Bondo)

  • Masking tape

  • Carpenter's knife / hobby knife

  • Tarps / drop cloths (for capturing any paint drops and spills)

  • Paint rollers and paint tray (at least 2 rollers)

  • 5 cans (or more, depending on countertop size and need for future touchups) of oil-based alkyd paint in desired color (Caution: Using latex paint on the surface of a countertop is not recommended, as such a type of paint usually tends not to withstand the normal use of a countertop compared to that of applying an oil-based alkyd paint, being more susceptible to abrasions and just a lot less durable overall.)

  • Paintbrushes (at least 2 brushes)

  • Primer, oil-based (such as KILZ Primer Paint or XIM Primer, making sure you select the primer version made for indoor use)

  • Polyurethane sealer, oil-based

  • Wet cloth/rag

  • Dry cloth/rag

Guide:

To refinish/makeover/reface a countertop, particularly a Formica/laminate countertop, for a newer look using paint, take the following steps:

  1. Remove everything off the countertop so that the countertop becomes free of any sort objects or debris not originally part of your countertop.  There may be some stubborn debris--even a food stain--that will not simply be removed from the countertop surface with just your hands, and this will require you to scrub and wash the surface of your countertop with the application of an ammonia-based general soap/detergent and the use of a wet cloth/rag with which to scrub along.  Have a bucket of soapy-water (that includes ammonia-based general soap/detergent) nearby for your convenience in easily maintaining the wetness of your cloth/rag as you clean your countertop, and pour some additional ammonia-based general soap/detergent into the bucket as deemed necessary; dip your cloth/rag into the bucket ever so often, pull it out above the bucket and squeeze the excess water out of the cloth/rag before reusing the cloth/rag over the surface of the countertop again in finishing up wiping the countertop surface clean.  As soon as you are done scrubbing and washing it, allow the countertop to dry, or, if you must, you can expedite the drying of the countertop with the use of a dry cloth/rag.

  2. Next, to ensure that you remove all debris foreign to the original makeup of your countertop, you will need to, using your hands, gently sand the surface of the countertop with fine sandpaper.  Lightly sanding will not only have the effect of removing stubborn debris, but also create a countertop surface that is more conducive of accepting an application of primer and, ultimately, the desired paint. End the light sanding of your countertops by using a damp cloth/rag to wipe up all of the sanding dust accumulation, making sure that in doing so, the surface of the countertop is wiped clean; you should just simply use water in this process of wiping your countertop with a cloth/rag.  As soon as you are done wiping the countertop surface clean to make sure it is free of sanding dust accumulation, allow the countertop to dry, or, if you must, you can again expedite the drying of the countertop with the use of a dry cloth/rag.

  3. If you find that there is gouge or otherwise an unsightly chip in your countertop, you can patch it with the application of either epoxy putty or even Bondo with the use of a putty knife/flexible joint knife to fill up and seal the gouge/chip, and just wait for the curing of the epoxy putty/Bondo per the manufacturer's instructions.  Afterwards, just sand the treated area flat to match the physical surface scheme of the rest of the countertop being repaired

  4. Now prepare for the application of a primer and then, ultimately, your chosen color of paint:  Place your tarps/drop cloths over all the immediate floors--and, when possible, over all the cabinets (except the countertop surface)--of the kitchen where the countertops are generally located, and use tape to secure such tarps/drop cloths as well; the tarps/drop cloths will help protect your floors and other parts of the kitchen from getting inadvertently painted on or otherwise covered with paint as a result of a spill.  Then use tape to generally cover all other remaining immediate parts of the kitchen that are likely to get into contact with the primer and paint you will be applying onto the countertop, and this includes the following: any backsplash wall, electrical outlets, lining of the kitchen sink, etc.

  5. Now, with the use of a paint roller--and when necessary, with the use of a brush--and per the primer manufacturer's instructions, apply one coat of the selected primer onto the countertop.  Make sure to roll on the primer in a consistent, normally-paced fashion so as to avoid the creation of air bubbles.  Allow the primer to dry overnight, or for a time period as otherwise directed by the primer manufacturer.

  6. Repeat step 5 in applying a second coat of the primer, allowing for it to dry overnight, or for a time period as otherwise directed by the primer manufacturer.

  7. Now, with the tarps/drop cloths still in place, you are ready to apply the paint you have chosen to reface the surface of your countertop:  With the use of another paint roller--and when necessary, with the use of a brush--and per the paint manufacturer's instructions, apply one coat of the selected paint onto the countertop.  Make sure to roll on the paint in a consistent, normally-paced fashion so as to avoid the creation of air bubbles.  Allow the paint to dry overnight, or for a time period as otherwise directed by the paint manufacturer.

  8. Repeat step 7 in applying a second coat of the paint, allowing for it to dry overnight, or for a time period as otherwise directed by the paint manufacturer.  (This second coat of paint should be your final coat of paint for this project, though, if you find it necessary, you can repeat step 7 a third time in applying a third coat of paint.)

  9. To protect the paint finish of your countertop, you finally must apply a polyurethane sealer:  With the use of another paint roller--and when necessary, with the use of a brush--and per the sealer manufacturer's instructions, apply a coat of the selected polyurethane sealer onto the countertop.  Make sure to roll on the polyurethane sealer in a consistent, normally-paced fashion.  Allow the polyurethane sealer to dry overnight, or for a time period as otherwise directed by the paint manufacturer.  Caution: Afterwards, for at least three weeks, you should allow the countertop surface to totally cure, and this requires that you not unnecessarily disturb it, not cleaning the surface of your countertop by scrubbing it; instead, you should, at most, use a damp cloth/rag to gently and lightly wipe the countertop clean when necessary.  You should never use any sort of abrasive on your finished countertop.

Ed the Handyman

            &

Your Handyman Zone Team

 

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