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Can You Paint Laminate Cabinets? (5 Tips for Making Them Awesome)

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Painting cabinets is one way to upgrade them without spending a fortune. Painting allows for changes in design and color schemes while refreshing the surfaces.

But can you paint laminate cabinets?

You can paint laminate cabinets, but you must pay attention to specific details when painting. With the right supplies and techniques, it is possible to paint laminate cabinets and give them a stylish look.

This article will discuss how to paint laminate cabinets, the paints to use, and the most effective tips for making them awesome.

If you want to give your laminate cabinets a makeover, read on to find out how to proceed.

Can You Paint Directly Over Laminate Cabinets?

Yes, you can paint directly over laminate cabinets. It’s easy to do and can make a significant difference in the look of your kitchen.

You may be surprised to see how much of a transformation a coat of paint can make.

However, how do you ensure the paint holds or even lasts? What about achieving a flawless finish?

It’s important to remember that laminate can often be tricky to paint, so having the right supplies and knowledge is imperative for a successful project.

As long as you’re doing everything right, you can be sure the paint will stick and last for years.

If you want your paint job to turn out great, consider using a bonding primer to get a strong bond before you paint.

In addition, remember to use high-quality paint for a beautiful and long-lasting finish.

How to Paint Laminate Kitchen Cabinets

Prep the Cabinets

Man holding roller with all kind of painting equipment in the kitchen

Preparing your laminate cabinets for painting is a critical step in the process.

Before you start, ensure you have all the necessary tools — a screwdriver, a drill, and a mallet.

The first thing you want to do is to disassemble the cabinets. You can start by removing the handles and hinges. Also, remove the drawers, if any.

Unscrew the hinges and remove the doors. Then, remove the shelves and detach the cabinet from the wall. 

With the cabinets disassembled you’re ready to move to the next stage.

Clean the Surfaces

Dirt and grease don’t go well with paint. Be sure to clean the dirt and accumulated grime off the surfaces before beginning the work.

Mix vinegar and warm soapy water, then use a lint-free cloth to clean the surfaces. You can add liquid dishwashing detergent to the solution for highly greasy surfaces. 

But if you would love to go the other way, you can try Easy Off Specialty Kitchen Degreaser Cleaner .

This cleaner is designed to remove tough grease and grime in the shortest possible time.

Sand the Cabinets

Roll and sheet of sandpaper on a laminate surface

For smooth priming and painting, it’s crucial to sand your laminate kitchen cabinets correctly.

Start by using medium-grit sandpaper to remove any dirt or grime. You can opt for 120–180 grit sandpaper. You can either do this by hand or use a sander, whichever works for you.

If you’re working on large surfaces, use an electric sander. A hand sander is better for getting into tight corners.

Fine-grit sandpaper will help you smooth out any imperfections on the cabinets, giving them an even finish.

With the right tools, you can achieve a beautiful, professional-looking finish!

Prime the Cabinets

Now it’s time to use your paintbrush to prime those cabinets. The primer you use will depend on the material of your laminate cabinet.

Priming can help the paint stick to the laminate surface and prevent chipping and peeling.

Use a clean brush to apply an even layer of primer over the entire surface of the cabinets.

Make sure to get into the corners and crevices, and don’t forget to prime the doors and drawers.

Once you’ve finished priming, let it dry before you sand it again.

Sand the Primed Areas

Give the cabinets a smooth, professional feel by sanding the primed areas.

This time, use 240-grit sandpaper to make sure the surface is completely smooth.

After sanding, wipe down the cabinets with a damp cloth to remove any dust or debris before applying your first coat of paint.

Paint the Laminate Cabinets

Man using spray gun to paint a cabinet

For the best results, use high-quality paint designed for your specific type of laminate cabinets.

You can use acrylic or latex paint in a semi-gloss or gloss finish. Use a fine brush or roller to apply the paint in even strokes.

Once the first coat of paint is dry, sand it to remove rough textures. Then recoat to get a clean look.

Remember that several thin coats of paint are better than one thick coat. This is because thick coats of paint can cause the paint to bubble and flake off, resulting in a less desirable finish.

To achieve the best results, apply a thin coat of paint then allow it to dry completely.

Repeat this process until you achieve the desired tone and texture.

Use a foam brush for the final coat for an extra smooth finish.

Apply a Sealant

A handyman paints a fresh coat of varnish on the surface of a kitchen cabinet

Last but not least, let the paint dry completely, for at least 24 hours, before applying a sealant. 

Sealants such as polyurethane or varnish protect the paint and give it a glossy finish. This ensures the paint adheres to the surface and won’t chip or peel away.

In addition, the sealant will protect the paint from dirt, grime, and moisture that could damage it over time.

With patience and the right effort, your laminate cabinets should be suitable to go.

Assemble the Cabinets

Now that you have everything sorted, it’s time to reassemble the cabinets to get the aesthetic appeal.

Screw the handles on to attach them to the cabinets. Also, re-attach any doors you removed.

If you’re going for new handles, ensure they are ideal for your newly painted laminate cabinets.

That’s it! It’s time to enjoy the new look of your kitchen.

5 Tips for Making Laminate Cabinets Awesome

Laminate cabinets can be just as awesome as any other type of cabinetry. To make them even more stunning, here are some top tips you can apply:

Use the Ideal Primer and Paint

A man in hardware store chooses paint

Choose a high-quality, super-adhesive primer and a durable oil-based or acrylic paint for the best results on your laminate cabinets.  

Apply the primer in thin, even layers, and let each layer dry before applying the next. 

Once the primer is dry, apply two or more coats of paint, allowing each coat to dry completely before applying the next.

With suitable primer and paint, your laminate cabinets will look amazing.

Use the Right Sanding Technique

Use light-grit sandpaper and sand with the wood grain to achieve a professional finish.

Start with coarse grit and gradually work to a finer grit for a smooth, even finish.

Wear a dust mask and goggles to protect your eyes and lungs from dust particles.

Paint with the Right Tools

Man in hardware store choosing rollers for paint work

Don’t skimp on quality – it’s worth investing in the best tools for the job. This way, you can transform your laminate cabinets into something truly remarkable.

You’ll need high-quality paintbrushes, roller covers, and a paint sprayer to do the job correctly.

When using a paint sprayer, use a low-pressure setting and keep the gun moving to avoid drips and runs.

Update the Hardware

Give your cabinets an upgrade with stylish, modern hardware. Various hardware options are available, from sleek, modern pulls, handles, and knobs to more traditional designs.

No matter your style, you can find something to suit your needs.

For a bold, contemporary look, choose hardware with a matte or metallic finish.

For a more classic look, opt for antique or brushed finish hardware. You can even find decorative hardware with intricate detailing and unique shapes for an extra special touch.

Of course, remember, you can always mix and match hardware for a unique, one-of-a-kind look.

Use Aesthetically Pleasing Colors

Modern kitchen cabinet in brown with appliances and granite worktops

With laminate cabinets, you have the freedom to choose any color or finish that you want. So don’t be afraid to go bold!

Whether you choose a bright, eye-catching color or a unique finish, you can create a fantastic look that will draw attention to your cabinets. 

For example, a glossy black finish can make a striking statement, while a bright yellow can add a cheerful pop of color.

A little creativity can make your cabinets stand out and be the focal point of your kitchen or bathroom.

What Kind of Paint Do You Use on Laminate Kitchen Cabinets?

You can use water-based or solvent-based paints on laminate kitchen cabinets. These paints work well on smooth surfaces and tend to bond adequately. 

Water-Based Paints

Water-based acrylic paint is durable, non-toxic, and goes on smoothly.

A high-quality, 100% acrylic paint won’t bubble or peel. Plus, it will give you a beautiful finish that will make your kitchen look amazing!

We recommend the INSL-X Cabinet Coat - Urethane Acrylic Semi-Gloss Enamel Cabinet Paint. 

INSL-X Cabinet Coat has a durable, water-resistant formula and is easy to apply, so you can finish the job as soon as you start.

Plus, the paint resists chipping and scuffing, food stains, and grease, increasing the life of your laminate kitchen cabinets.

Solvent-Based Paints

An opened can of turquoise paint and paintbrushes for painting

Solvent-based paint (alkyd) is more durable than most types of paint. This makes it perfect for kitchen cabinets with lots of traffic. Plus, its quick-drying technology allows for a speedy application process.

Alkyd paints create a solid finish on laminate cabinets and can withstand wear and tear. With them, you can be sure that your cabinets won’t scratch, peel, or discolor anytime soon.

Plus, solvent-based paints come in a wide range of colors and finishes, making it easy to find the perfect look for your cabinets.

Trendy grey and white modern kitchen interior with white dining table

How Long Do Painted Laminate Cabinets Last?

Painted laminate cabinets can last up to 15 or more years with proper care. How long they will last depends on the kind of paint you use and how often you clean them.

If you invest in high-quality paint, primer, and sealer and regularly clean your cabinets, your cabinets can last longer.

Regular cleaning, touch-ups, and sealing will help them look brand new for years. This will also prevent the paint from chipping and fading over time. 


Painting laminate cabinets is a cost-effective and easy way to give your cabinets a fresh look. 

With the right tools, preparation, and techniques, you can transform your outdated cabinets into stylish and modern focal points of the space.

In all you do, choose the right paint and primer, clean and sand the surfaces properly, and apply thin and even coats. 

Remember to take your time, follow the above-mentioned tips, and be bold and creative with colors and finishes. 


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