My Painted Formica Counters – Don’t Forget THIS!

I get a lot of questions  about using the Caromal Colours textured base coats over Formica counter tops.  ( You can read a lot of the discussion here on counter post and here

I wanted to share this recent question-

Vicki  asked:

I am wondering about the lady with the above counter make-over’s counter has held up? Is there a lot of chipping happening by now? I want to do my counters, but I am worried about chipping or scratching on the kitchen counter?

I replied back:

I had to chuckle a little at this ‘Is there a lot of chipping happening by now?’:) Vicki, a good six or so years I did a painted finish on several Formica counters in our basement – one was the bathroom down there (our basement is finished and it is where my kids, now 15 and almost 14, have hung out with their buds) that has gotten tons of use, and the whole back bar area that bottles of liqueur sit on. Needless to say we’ve had many hootin and hollerin parties down there as well. Those counters have stood the test of time – I don’t have chipping, there might be a scratch on one from a candle holder that didn’t have felt on its under part – but for all intensive purposes, they look great – WAY better than the mint green color Formica they were before. Now, granted, I used different products on those counters and it was much more involved, but the basis for that system was the same as this – the first product down (after cleaning surface) was a GOOD durable paint that was known for its bonding properties. I rolled the paprika and peppercorn Caromal Colours on my stand up freezer over two years ago – it hasn’t budged, and won’t – I didn’t even topcoat it (its in my basement storage so no one sees it). I couldn’t scratch it off if I tried.

Here’s how I look at it – if your counters are ugly – stained, damaged, scratched, bad color – just tired and you cant stand it anymore and are planning on ripping them out, then you have an affordable option – keeping them in place and painting over them. Will it last a lifetime? Heck who knows – depends on on how you live. Can you be careless around them – sliding stuff all around, banging pots and pans, scraping plates etc etc – and have them not scuff up or eventually scratch? Probably not – but the Caromal textured base coats are thicker than regular paint – 2 coats will give you a nice little barrier – and if you properly topcoat, you’ll have wipe-able, washable counters that hold up under normal use.

Another thought I always have in situations like this? If I did a bozo no-no and scratched up my counter by dragging something, or dropped a can or appliance, and chipped it – well guess what I can do? (hint – pull out you jar of Caromal Colours….)

I wanted to share this with you, because it got me thinking about when I did my basement bathroom counters years ago.


Regardless of the fact that I used different paints years ago, the logic is still the same – if you have any dust, or dirt, or HAIRS etc  that land in your rolled on surface, and you don’t break them free when you are light sanding your surface, then guess what –  down the road when you’re cleaning and wiping your counters, and you feel a hard bump or grit or nib that bugs you – you wont be able to do much about it.

Ask me how I know this!

I did not sand my counters before top coating, and I live to regret it    Now this was more a latex type of paint surface, not more substantial like these base coats, but I should have light sanded to get any noticeable sticking up things off.    I remember sometime later realizing  I had a couple dirt like grains (felt like pepper grain that comes out of peppercorn mill) stuck in my finish, and I was ticked that I didn’t pay  more attention before I top coated, sealing them in.    I couldn’t get them off – they were stuck IN my layers.   Damn.

So I left it – but it always bugged me.  And over the years those grains did chip off – revealing, yup, two dots of MINT GREEN COLORED FORMICA

(gross, sorry that hair is in the picture!)

When I care (lol, I don’t anymore) I take a black sharpie and dot the mint dots – but that eventually wears off with the cleaning.    I could have avoided this had I paid more attention in the beginning – but I didn’t know better.

Still, I don’t regret painting my counters that were mint chocolate chip ice cream green.  If I can dig through the storage bins I’ve packed up, that house all my old photos, I’ll dig out a BEFORE for you and post it here.  For the last six or so years I got this instead

I’ll take it!   (like my bathrobe garb?  I’m supposed to be getting ready for work and I’m sitting here posting 🙂  )

If you paint your counters with Caromal Colours Textured Basecoats

  1. Make sure  your counters are clean and grease free
  2. Whiz roller the textured paints on, you will need several layers to build a nice covering over your existing surface.    Make sure you wait for each layer to dry before rolling the next.  It will roll out even, and stipple-y.  The second coat will do the same, and fill in the first.
  3. Use a chip brush to bounce (stipple) the base coat into your corners, and any areas you cant reach with your roller   (like the edge between wall and counter)
  4. When dry, take a sand block, 220 grit, and lightly sand your surface to knock down any foreign particles (run your hands around your surface to FEEL for nibs).  The sanding will also ‘knock down’ your stippling tips, making the surface feel softer and smoother.
  5. Wipe surface with dry cloth to remove dust.
  6. Topcoat with your favorite topcoat.  If you are using a wipe-on poly I would plan on at least 5 or 6 layers.  Don’t fall over, its quick – just make sure you’re following directions on dry time in between.  If you want less layers, then look at using a full strength poly.
  7. Let your surface cure (harden)  a good 30 days , to be safe, before putting heavy stuff back down on it (like toasters, decorative jars etc).
  8. Use hot pads to protect from heat, and felt on bottom of things your slide around (metal cookbook rack, vase etc)

3 responses to “My Painted Formica Counters – Don’t Forget THIS!

  1. Vicki Tibbetts

    WOW your counter does STILL look great!! I am impressed and encouraged. 🙂

  2. Pingback: Caromal Textured Basecoat Putty Basecoat Sample Over Formica… | Fabulously Finished

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