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painting formica

My kitchen cabinets were refaced over 15 years ago. Formica was glued/bonded to the door/drawer surrounds and formica replacement doors and drawer fronts were added. Needless to say my kitchen needs refreshing and I'm not in a position to afford new kitchen cabinets.
Has anyone ever painted formica cabinets? If so, how have they held up? What was the process?
Thank you for your help.

Re: painting formica


Like all paint jobs, cleaning and preparing the surface is very important. There is usually greasy residue on kitchen cabinets, especially around the stove. Also, people get their oily fingers all around the handles and grips.

Of utmost importance is getting a good bond to the slick laminate. The very best primer I have found for this is BIN sealer. This is a shellac based, white pigmented primer. Its solvlent is alcohol. When dried, you will not be able to scrape it off the laminate with normal scraping. A light scuff sanding of the surface before primeing with fine sandpaper is a good idea also.

Spraying gives the best finish, but a quality paint applied with good brushes and rollers will give a nice finish also. My preference is still with oil paints. It dries to a hard, durable surface. I levels out, making brush strokes much less obvious then with brushed latex paint. Also, latex paint retains a lifelong gummi quality. Wherever paint on paint makes contact,
latex paint likes to stick. The one advantage to latex is that is does not yellow with age, as does oil paint. This is important if your cabinets are to be white. For a good selection of oil paints, you should go to a paint store that has a professional painter clientel.

When painting cabinets, it is well worth the effort to remove all the doors and hardware. Take your time and paint them in a flat position. The BIN dries within an hour and the doors can then be flipped. The oil paint would have to be done on separate days. The cabinet bases could conceivably be primed and painted in one day. Don't forget to mark where your doors were located.

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