Do you have a worn out Formica kitchen countertop? Are you tired of its dated look? Are there certain areas that are scratched, chipped, or stained beyond your control? Well, do not be too quick to haul this antique off to the garbage dump. You may be able to paint it with an epoxy resin coating that will make it look like new!
Formica is actually a brand name for a type of plastic material used in fabricating furniture and other products. It is derived from oil and natural gas which can be recycled after use. Although originally sold as an expensive alternative to wood, today’s products made of Formica are more affordable than ever before.
The best thing about painting or coating over this modern day marvel of plastic technology is that it will not be damaged by water. It can also resist heat up to 200° C (400° F).
What is the difference between laminate and Formica countertops?
Laminate countertops and Formica® countertops are both engineered, man-made products that mimic the look of natural materials such as wood or marble. Both laminate and Formica® countertops are manufactured from a layer of paper (or other material) with an adhesive backing which is typically plastic based known as melamine resin; this helps provide the surface with high heat, stain, scratch and impact resistance.
The final product is then covered by a protective topcoat to protect them from damage caused by common household items. However, there are some key differences between these two types of countertops that may factor into your decision whether to choose one over the other:
Formica® – It costs more than laminate countertops to install. – It is more difficult to repair than laminate countertops.
– It may be more prone to staining than laminate countertops.
Laminate – There are no seams in the material which stay hidden, unlike Formica® where there are often visible seams at the joints between pieces. This means that laminate countertops are an easier DIY alternative for homeowners who wish to refinish or resurface their current counters themselves.
– Laminate is also available with a “wood” appearance similar to Formica® but costs less to purchase and maintain
– Also, unlike Formica, some brands of laminate offer finishes that mimic the look of natural materials such as stone or wood while still being very durable.
Formica® countertops vs. laminate countertops – which is the better choice?
The decision between Formica or laminate countertops will depend on your needs and preferences. Formica costs more to install, but it may be less expensive to maintain than laminate; plus, some brands of Formica do mimic the look of wood and stone while still being very durable. Laminate does not have visible seams like Formica®, which makes it a great DIY alternative for homeowners who wish to refinish their counters themselves, and finishes that emulate natural materials such as wood or stone are also available from some manufacturers at a lower cost than those offered by Formica®. In addition, if you require a large number of cutouts such as for fixtures or appliances, Formica® countertops may not be the best option as it is considerably more difficult to cut than laminate.
Ultimately, both Formica and laminate offer durable surfaces with strong impact resistance, so your needs and budget will likely be the most important factors in your decision-making process
If you want to paint your Formica kitchen countertop, the first thing you should do is sand away any old paint or varnish on its surface. Carefully sand off any remaining varnish with 320-grit sandpaper and wipe down the entire area afterwards. This will ensure that no dirt or dust remains on the flat surface of the material while preparing it for painting.
Do not use chemical solvents like thinner, acetone, mineral spirits, etc., because they may eat away at the smooth surface of this type of plastic material! Instead, try using a mild dishwashing soap and a rag to wipe away any loose dirt and grime. Rinse the soap off with clear water and allow it to dry for an hour or so before applying a primer, preferably one that is oil-based.
Cover adjacent areas of the countertop with a drop cloth to protect them from splatters caused by your painting process, which should be performed using a brush, roller, or spray gun. To avoid unsightly drips on its surface, wait until your first coat is completely dry before applying subsequent coats. If you have used an oil-based primer as recommended earlier, apply at least three coats of an epoxy resin paint without sanding between each layer. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when applying this type of coating.
After the final coat is dry, apply a thin layer of epoxy resin on your Formica kitchen countertop to protect it from spills and stains. Don’t forget to cover the legs of your stove, sink, or dishwasher with drop cloths before you begin painting them as well! Next time you need to replace the cabinet doors in the kitchen because they are looking pretty shabby, consider painting instead of buying new ones. For safety reasons, you should use latex paints for these kinds of applications. Banish that ugly formica forever!