How to Refinish Arborite Countertops

Durable, easy to clean, fire-resistant and available in a variety of styles, Arborite is a favored type of countertop laminate among many homeowners.
Over time, however, Arborite can become faded or outdated. Fortunately, it is possible to refinish Arborite with paint. Arborite is made from a combination of paper and melamine, which is a type of plastic, and requires paint specifically formulated for use on melamine.

Step 1

Wash the countertop with a general-purpose cleaner.

Step 2

Sand the entire countertop with 200-grit sandpaper. Use an orbital sander, if desired. Sand until you have a consistently dulled and abraded surface. This will ensure proper adhesion of the new finish. Wipe away all residual sanding dust with a tackcloth.

Step 3

Paint the countertop with melamine primer and a paintbrush. Allow the primer to dry.

Step 4

Sand the primer lightly with 400-grit wet/dry sandpaper and wipe away the dust with a tackcloth.

Step 5

Examine the coat of primer for any areas where the original countertop is showing through. Touch up those areas with primer and a brush as needed.

Step 6

Paint the countertop with melamine paint and a paintbrush, using a color of your choice. Allow the paint to dry.

Step 7

Sand the paint lightly with 400-grit wet/dry sandpaper and wipe away the dust with a tackcloth.

Step 8

Paint the countertop with a second coat of paint and allow the paint to dry.

Step 9

Sand the second coat of paint lightly with 800-grit wet/dry sandpaper and wipe away the dust with a tackcloth.

Step 10

Apply a polyurethane finish that acts as a sealant and protectant, using a paintbrush.

Things You Will Need

  • General-purpose cleaner
  • 200-grit sandpaper
  • Orbital sander (optional)
  • Tackcloth
  • Melamine primer
  • Paintbrushes
  • 400-grit wet/dry sandpaper
  • Melamine paint
  • 800-grit wet/dry sandpaper
  • Polyurethane

About the Author

Mason Howard is an artist and writer in Minneapolis. Howard's work has been published in the "Creative Quarterly Journal of Art & Design" and "New American Paintings." He has also written for art exhibition catalogs and publications. Howard's recent writing includes covering popular culture, home improvement, cooking, health and fitness. He received his Master of Fine Arts from the University of Minnesota.