What Kind of Paint to Use for Formica Countertops

What Kind of Paint to Use for Formica Countertops

Consider the color and finish options for your kitchen countertop

By Stevie Donald

Formica counter tops, kitchen, breakfast table
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The keys to successfully painting Formica countertops are proper surface preparation and choosing the right kind of paint. You have several options, and you can even faux paint a Formica countertop to look like marble or granite. Learn how to prep your workspace and choose the style that matches your home design.


Paint for countertops has to adhere well and be resistant to water, cleaning compounds and frequent scrubbing. Water-based paint will not be durable enough. All household paints, once dried, are safe and suitable for food preparation.


Use a bonding primer followed by oil-based paint for a solid-color surface in an almost limitless range of shades. Another durable choice for Formica countertops is epoxy paint, available in a more limited color palette.

Expert Insight

Consider epoxy paint sold for garage floors. It is durable enough for countertops, adheres well to Formica and is available in color-flecked granite finishes.


Choose a paint color that complements fixed elements in your kitchen or bathroom, such as floors and cabinets. Semi- or high-gloss paints will show every surface imperfection; a satin sheen is the best compromise between durability and good looks.

Surface Preparation

Follow label directions. The Formica countertop should be sanded and spotlessly clean before applying paint, and the end product will look much better if you remove the sink first.

Faux Painting

Faux painting can make Formica countertops look like granite or marble. Dab on two or more colors of oil-based paint with sponges and other specialty applicators. A finishing coat of epoxy sealer gives a protective, even gloss.

About the Author

Stevie Donald is a regular contributor to DexKnows. She has been a painting contractor since 1979.

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