How to Refinish Countertop Formica

Jenny Carver

Formica is an inexpensive way to cover your countertops, but it can be hard to install and work with. If you have a formica countertop, the color may no longer match the walls or it may be stained or outdated. Rather than tearing out the formica and replacing it, you can refinish the countertops.

  1. Wash the countertops with detergent and water to clean any dirt or residue. Dry them with a towel and then wipe them down with denatured alcohol. The alcohol removes any oils or grease still on the formica.

  2. Sand the formica countertops with 120 grit sandpaper. Keep the sandpaper smooth and flat while sanding so no low spots are created. Sand lightly until all of the formica is sanded. If any repairs are needed, now is the time to do them. Sand over the repaired areas. Wipe the counter once more with the alcohol after sanding to remove the dust.

  3. Use masking tape and paper to keep walls, sinks and other furniture from being painted.

  4. Apply an oil-based primer/sealer to the countertop. One coat should be enough to cover the old color and to allow the new paint to stick to the formica. Allow the primer to dry completely.

  5. Apply two or three very thin coats of an oil-based paint. Use a short nap roller for a smooth finish on the formica countertop. Allow the paint to dry completely before touching it. Remove all of the masking tape and paper.