Counter Culture: How to Resurface Laminate Countertops for Under $50

Did you know you could resurface laminate countertops for under $50? It’s true, and I’ll show you how! Now, be gone ugly laminate counters.

Photo showing freshly painted laminate countertops in white, with decorative cutting boards and backsplash.
Guess what? I recently resurfaced the kitchen counters in my studio, added leather drawer pulls, and whipped up a DIY backsplash. And today, I’m sharing how you can do it too: how to resurface your laminate countertops for less than 50 dollars!

Whether changing the color of your laminate countertops is a temporary or permanent solution, you’ll learn everything you need to know to get it right the first time.

It’s a great budget-friendly option for anyone looking for a simple solution to their ugly laminate countertop woes. And will drastically change the look of your space for a very reasonable / affordable price.

Click through to learn how to resurface laminate countertops for under $50.

How to Resurface Laminate Countertops

Laminate countertops are an affordable option for counters, but overtime they begin to wear and can look outdate fast. If you want to change the look of your kitchen without spending a lot of money, resurfacing your laminate countertops with the technique I’m sharing today, is a great option.

Not only can you completely transform your countertop for less than $50, but you can make those tired surfaces feel fresh and new again, without a costly remodel.

I did the entire resurfacing project by myself and changed my ugly black laminate counters to a clean, modern white. And love the results, especially considering the price (under $50 for this total transformation).

All white kitchen with bold pattern backsplash and newly resurfaced white laminate countertops.

Materials Needed for Resurfacing Laminate Countertops

*This countertop coating can be tinted to 16 colors, but you’d have to purchase it at a home improvement store in order to have it tinted a particular color (light grey, beige, charcoal, etc).

I decided not to get any tinting put in at all because I wanted the counters to be white (which is the color of the countertop coating without any tint added).

If you want to paint your counters white like mine, you can order it online and do not have to go to a home improvement store (though it is available there too). Here’s a link to the same one I used, but on the Home Depot site.

What Kind of Paint to Use for Countertop Resurfacing

While it may seem like countertop paint is just like regular paint, I can promise you it’s not.

It is a different consistency (that is unfortunately not as easy to apply as regular paint), is much more durable (and cleanable) when finished, and has a VERY strong smell when painting.

Because of the strong smell, you want to make sure you use a respirator and do your best to let air circulate while the coating is drying – open windows and doors as well.

Using regular paint to resurface your counter is NOT a long-lasting option. And will most likely result in paint peeling, bubbling, etc. So make sure to use the specialty countertop coating I specified in the materials list.

This particular countertop coating that I used (–) is made for laminate, vinyl tiles, wood surfaces, and metal. When used on bare metal or wood, however, it is recommended that you first use a primer before the countertop coating.

Please keep in mind that this product is recommended for use on laminate, vinyl tiles, metal, or wood surfaces. When using over bare metal or wood the use of a primer is highly recommended. To ensure proper adhesion, it is important that the surface is properly cleaned and prepped following the instructions. To clean the surface, we recommend using nonabrasive cleaners.

How to Resurface Laminate Countertops (Instructions)

Step 1: After you surface is completely clean (use a non-abrasive cleaner), start by sanding the entire countertop and backsplash / lip areas to rough the surface up a little and help the paint stick permanently.

Then, wipe away any debris and clean the surface with a mild soap and water (or another non-abrasive cleaner). Wait for the surface to completely dry before moving onto the next step.

Sanding dark laminate countertop before applying new countertop coating.

Step 2: Next, tape off any areas that you don’t want the countertop coating to stick to and make sure to cover the floors with something as well, just in case. I used painter’s tape around the fridge, the sink, the backsplash, and underneath the countertops.

Then, I added a painter’s plastic underneath the counter to protect the cabinets below, along with an old sheet on the floor. Better safe than sorry on this one.

Tape off the laminate countertop to prep the surface for countertop coating

Step 3: Then it’s time to paint. Be sure to start at the back and work your way forward, so you’re not leaning over the paint when it’s wet.

Start with the backsplash lip and paint a thin layer, as shown in the photo below, working your way to the crevices and then painting about an inch or two on to the counter as well to make it easier for the next step.

I used foam brushes for the detail areas and the backsplash lip. You don’t want to use a bristle brush because this coating doesn’t seem to be self-leveling, so you’d likely see the brushstrokes when it dried if you were to use a bristle brush.

The step by step tutorial for resurfacing laminate countertops (cheap)

Step 4: Then grab a paint roller and cover the remainder of the counter (top and then sides / edges) with a thin layer of countertop coating, again working your way from the back to the front.

According to Rustoleum, you should use long, overlapping strokes when using a roller and be careful not to stop in the middle of your stroke.

Painting countertop coating onto surface.

You will definitely need to apply more than one coat for this project, if you are going from a dark countertop to a light color like I did. And you may even need more than one coat if going from a light color to a dark color. So, just keep that in mind.

You’ll have to wait for each coat to completely dry to the touch before applying another coat.

It took me 6 thin coats (that’s a lot of coats) to go from a black countertop to a solid white one. But if you’re going from a light counter to a darker one, it will take less coats than mine.

The fact that each of my coats were very thin amy have also contributed to the high number of coats needed to completely cover the counters.

In process photo of DIY resurfacing of laminate counter.

Step 5: Once that first layer of paint is completely dry to the touch (somewhere between one hour and two seems to be the sweet spot), add another thin layer of paint to the entire counter and backsplash (if applicable), the same way you did the first time.

Then wait for it to dry to the touch again before adding another coat. You’ll know you’ve added enough thin coats when you can no longer see the previous counter color at all and the new counter coating looks solid and even.

Step 6: Once all the coats are on and you’re happy with the finish, remove the painter’s tape and let the counters cure for at least 72 hours before using.

It will be dry to the touch within hours, but if you put stuff back on the counters too soon, it can cause chipping, etc. So, wait the full 3 days if you can, before using the counters as normal.

UPDATE 4/26/20: If you have any trouble with your counters drying fully after those three days or you seem to have immediate chipping (I didn’t have issues with either of those things), you may want to add a polyurethane coating on top.

I did not add a poly coat to mine, but I just read some recent reviews and it seems that a couple people who had those issues were able to fix it with a poly coat or two. I added it to the supplies list as an optional add-on.

 

Before and after photos of resurfacing laminate countertop from dark black to light and bright white (for under $50)

Clean, white laminate countertops for under $50

And that’s how to resurface laminate countertops for under $50. It’s really a pretty easy project, even though the coating itself is a little bit of a pain to work with because of the stickiness (before it dries) and the strong, strong smell.

BUT if you’re willing to put in the elbow grease, it’s definitely worth the investment. It is far, far, FAR cheaper than replacing your countertops, even in a larger kitchen where you would need multiple cans of coating to complete the job.

Let me know if you have any questions!

How to Resurface Laminate Countertops for Less Than $50

UPDATE: How My Resurfaced Countertops have Held Up

I painted the counters about two months ago now (as of 9/6/17) and they’ve held up really well, with the exception of a tiny 1/2 inch area near the lip that chipped off.

It happened BEFORE the coating was fully dry (I think early on day two) when I sat something on it for an hour or so and then picked it back up, along with the paint. Whoops! So, be sure to wait the full 72 hours if you can.

Looking for more DIY kitchen upgrade you can complete?

Check out my DIY backsplash featured in this post.

And my tutorial for leather drawer pulls as well.

How to Resurface Laminate Countertops (Under $50)

Laminate countertops are an affordable option for counters, but overtime they begin to wear and can look outdated fast. If you want to change the look of your kitchen without spending a lot of money, resurfacing your laminate countertops with the technique I'm sharing today, is a great option. Not only can you completely transform your countertop for less than $50, but you can make those tired surfaces feel fresh and new again, without a costly remodel. 

Equipment

  • countertop coating (about $30 on Amazon)*
  • paint roller
  • paint brush (one that won't leave brush marks - like foam)
  • sandpaper or sanding sponge
  • old cloth and mild kitchen cleaner
  • respirator mask
  • painter's tape (and painter's plastic, if needed)
  • old sheet or drop cloth

Instructions

  • Start by sanding the entire countertop and backsplash / lip areas to rough the surface up a little and help the paint stick permanently. Then, wipe away any debris and clean the surface with a mild soap and water. Wait for the surface to completely dry before moving onto the next step.
  • Next, tape off any areas that you don't want the countertop coating to stick to and make sure to cover the floors with something as well, just in case. I used painter's tape around the fridge, the sink, the backsplash, and underneath the countertops. Then, I added a painter's plastic  underneath the counter to protect the cabinets below, along with an old sheet on the floor. Better safe than sorry on this one.
  • Then it's time to paint. I'd recommend starting at the back and working your way forward, so you're not leaning over the paint when it's wet. Start with the backsplash lip and paint a thin layer, as shown in the photo below, working your way to the crevices and then painting about an inch or two on to the counter as well to make it easier for the next step.
  • Then grab a paint roller and cover the remainder of the counter (top and then sides / edges) with a thin layer of countertop coating, again working your way from the back to the front. You will definitely need to apply more than one coat for this project. But you'll have to wait for each coat to completely dry to the touch before applying another coat.
  • Once that first layer of paint is completely dry to the touch (somewhere between one hour and two seems to be the sweet spot), add another thin layer of paint to the entire counter and backsplash (if applicable), the same way you did the first time. Then wait for it to dry to the touch again before adding another coat. You'll know you've added enough thin coats when you can no longer see the previous counter color at all and the new counter coating looks solid and even.
  • Once all the coats are on and you're happy with the finish, remove the painter's tape and let the counters cure for at least 72 hours before using. It will be dry to the touch within hours, but if you put stuff back on the counters too soon, it can cause chipping, etc. So, wait the full 3 days if you can, before using the counters as normal.
Tried this recipe?Mention @paperandstitch or tag #paperandstitch!

What do you think of the finished countertops? Have you ever tried painting countertops before? Let me know if you have any tricks or tips for the process, if I missed anything.

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSaveSaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSaveSaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSaveSaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSaveSaveSave

37 comments | Click here to reply

Wow this is an awesome way to subsurface laminate counter tops. I love how it turned out.
http://sugarcoatedbears.blogspot.com/

Courtney

Thanks Courtney!

Brittni

I love this!! Your kitchen looks so so cute. I wish my ugly counters looked as good as your before counters – mine are the ugly brown fake granite. I’ll have to check with our landlords if it’s ok for us to paint our counters – I really love this, thanks so much for sharing!

Kathleen

Fingers crossed that your landlord approves, Kathleen. At the very least, white counters would brighten things up a bit if your current ones are brown. 🙂

Brittni

Wow, what a difference this change of colour makes!
https://www.makeandmess.com/

Michelle

Right, Michelle!? Definitely worth the 50 bucks. 🙂

Brittni

Awesome! I really want to try this. Mine are the ugly green from the ’90s. Yuck!

Debbie Fox

Let me know if you end up giving it a try, Debbie.

Brittni

Can you Please share the actual product(s) that you used to paint the counters? We have a huge kitchen and would love to replace our countertops!! However, since we have 48 linear feet of countertops it is going to us cost a FORTUNE to replace our worn out laminate with granite countertops!!
I have researched this topic so many times but have never found any article that showed results like yours and listed the actual products used. When I have found products I thought I might try, they always have had less then impressive reviews after I do further research.
Thank you.

Country Nana

Hi Country Nana. I listed all of the products I used under the materials list (after the second photo in the post) and linked to the ones that you can purchase online. With 48 linear feet of countertops, you’ll definitely need more than one can of countertop paint BUT it will be WAY cheaper than the alternative. 🙂 Hope that helps.
-Brittni

Brittni

Omg! i love this decor, great photos
Blog: http://thepinkpineappleblog.blogspot.com/

The pink pineapple

I really liked the outcome of it. Looks very easy to do and budget friendly. Finally, I can get rid of ugly countertop with a really nice one. Thanks for sharing the idea.

Garry | ToolVee

Wow, you just blew my mind. We have these really old fake wood grain laminate counter-tops are looking to upgrade. I love the look that you were just able to achieve with $30! Totally worth a shot. Thanks!

Chris

Kitchen countertops are quickly getting weary, but at times very expensive to be replaces. This is absolutely brilliant. Thanks for the tip!

KMP Furniture Blog

Do you have any suggestions for filling chips and/or cracks in the old laminate before painting? I have a “U” shaped kitchen and the 45 degree angle joins have a pretty solid 1/8″ gap (not to mention other chips and cracks here and there).
Your counters are gorgeous! and I’m glad to hear they are holding up. I dare to dream!
thanks
Teri

Teri

Hi Teri. I would recommend using a laminate repair kit or something similar (like putty) to smooth out any areas that need it. Then, you’ll be good to paint over the entire surface (once the putty or kit material is completely dry and cured).

Brittni

Hey,
Your counters look awesome- just wondering if they’re still holding up well…?

Stephanie

Hi Stephanie. They’re holding up really well. There is one spot where I put something down before it had fully cured and a little piece of paint came off. But that was my fault for being impatient. Other than that, it looks the same now as it did in the photos from 6+ months ago. Hope that helps.
-Brittni

Brittni

One last question before I copy you 🙂

I have 2 boys under 5 and sometimes I find myself scrubbing blueberry stains or pen marks off my counter.

Do you find things like blueberry juice wipe off easily or leave faint blue areas?

Thanks!

Stephanie

Hi Stephanie. Things that are high staining (like blueberries) will most likely leave a faint area behind. It’s hard to say for sure, but I have noticed some minor staining from food prep over time with these counters. Hope that helps!
-Brittni

Brittni

Hi Brittni,

I’ve seen on other websites where they apply a countertop clear coat after painting. Is this something you would recommend after applying the countertop paint or does the finish after applying it 6 times for you look good enough for a final finish? Thank you!

Carlos Peralta

Hi Carlos. Good question. Because I applied so many coats, I didn’t feel like I needed a clear coat. And quite honestly, while it was easy to do, I was a little over adding more coats of anything after I was finished. 🙂 BUT in hindsight, I think a clear coat would be a good option.
-Brittni

Brittni

Can you share the backsplash as well. You probably have but Im not sure how to find it!

misty

These look great! Do you think this ‘paint’ would work on tile as well? (Thinking for both wall and counter tile?)

nad

I have been thinking of painting my counter top . I would like to know if you can use more than one color? I would like to try and create a marble finish.

Lachan

I was happy to find your website and I did exactly what you said to do. Very happy with the results. Strong smell for sure for days, but the countertop looks awesome. Only one thing is that my countertop is not smooth like before, rough feeling but not noticable by looking at it. Thanks again for your help and advice.

Cliff Cook

Hi! I love this option as a temp change before we renovate. How long have your countertops held up? We are hoping to renovate in 2 to 3 years but would like to change the 70s green laminate look we currently have. Thanks!

Melodie

where can I purchase this product? what is it called?

jerry rosier

Looks easy and results look great! I looked at the product you used on Amazon and it has mostly awful reviews. Any thoughts on this? I just need to cover up some old laminate/formica interior window ledges, so they won’t get a lot of ‘use’. Just want them to look normal white and clean. Thanks!

Erin

I have heard of people putting down glitter before a clear coat. Do you think this would work? And if so, how would I do it?

Michele

I haven’t tried that Michelle. My guess is that you would add the glitter when the last coat is drying and then add polyurethane on top to seal it. BUT I don’t know for sure, since I haven’t done it.

Brittni

Hi Erin. I checked out the reviews and added some more information to the post to help people who might have any issues. But for me personally, the countertop turned out pretty well. Especially considering the cost was so low. There are many reviews on other sites for this product too (outside of Amazon) and those reviews for the same exact product are more favorable. For example, Home Depot has over 200 reviews for this countertop coating and there are more than double the amount of positive reviews as negative ones. I don’t know if that helps you at all, but I thought it was worth mentioning.
-Brittni

Brittni

I have been I have been dying to do my counters and put a back splash. (They are old laminate dull White..)
My question is I definitely do a lot of cooking so when I saw the blueberry stain comment above it started me thinking…I would definitely need something that I would be able to spray with like bleach or countertop spray or whatever can you do that over your paint job? Is polyurethane safe for food?? Like Do you think a polyurethane coating is healthy? like you can wipe it, put food on it, spray it with bleach or whatever to clean??

Theresa Walker

Hi Theresa. I think that would be something you’d have to decide on your own, based on what product you end up using. I would reference the packaging on the back of the can. The people who make the product would be the ones to ask on anything like that. I’m just here to show you how to complete the project. -Brittni

Brittni

This looks like something I could use. Thanks for the chance.

Ronda

AMAZING! I need it! Thanks A lot!

Janelle

I have been I have been dying to do my counters and put a back splash. (They are old laminate dull White..)

Ford
Leave a reply