How to Paint Laminate Cabinets without Sanding

How to Paint Laminate Cabinets without Sanding

How to Paint Laminate Cabinets without Sanding

In this post we’ll go over how to paint laminate cabinets. We did this project in one of our vacation rentals, it has builder grade kitchen cabinets that have the laminate peeling for a while now. I tried using different glues to get the laminate to stick to the MDF again but none of the glues were able to do the trick.

The laminate was peeling, but other than that the kitchen cabinets were in fantastic shape.

I really didn’t want to replace the cabinets since that is a pretty penny, and the only thing wrong with the cabinets was the peeling laminate.

A question then popped into my head…. can you paint laminate cabinets? Off to Pinterest and google we went!

Thank God we found this solution to paint the laminate cabinet doors! This was the perfect way to extend the life of my kitchen cabinets.

The alternative would have been to replace all the kitchen cabinets, and that was an expensive project that I was really trying to avoid. 😉

Painting the laminate cabinets was a fantastic way to keep the kitchen cabinets. You can not tell that they are painted. 



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The Shopping List

Tools List

Here’s a list of the tools we used on this project.

Affiliate links below may be to similar items when exact items couldn’t be found online.

A cordless drill

a couple high quality synthetic brushes (primer and paint)

a furniture roller with at least two rolls (primer and paint)

little stands to place the doors on while painting

Supplies List

These are the supplies used on this project.

Affiliate links below may be to similar items when exact items couldn’t be found online.

A gallon of Valspar Stainblocking Bonding Primer/Sealer

A gallon of Valspar Cabinet & Furniture Oil-Enriched Enamel in Satin

How hard is it to paint laminate cabinet doors?

Painting laminated kitchen cabinet doors was A LOT easier than I thought it was going to be. The unknown for me was whether or not the MDF doors were going to swell up when the were painted. Another unknown was how smooth the MDF under the laminate was.

Those were huge unknowns in my head, I was very nervous about starting this project, since the MDF swelling up would mean I’d have to replace the doors!

Step 1 – Remove the laminate on each door

I thought I’d need a heat gun and special tools to remove the laminate that covers the cabinet doors, but luckily I thought wrong. 🙂

This part of the project was very easy, no real hiccups at all.

On my doors the laminate on the back of all my cabinet doors was still holding on tight, so I left the laminate on the backs alone. That reduced the time to complete the project quite a bit. Painting the backs would have doubled the amount of time it took to paint.

If The Laminate Is Already Coming Loose

If the laminate is already coming loose, then it’s just a matter of pulling on the loose piece and the rest of the laminate comes with it.

How to Paint Laminate Cabinets - Pealing Plastic Back
Refinishing Kitchen Cabinets - Pealing Plastic

If The Laminate Isn’t Already Loose

If there isn’t an area on the door where the laminate has already loosened from the MDF then you can use a utility knife to loosen it from the door fairly easily.

Just shimmy the blade between the laminate and the MDF. The easiest place to do that is in the corner of the door.

How to Paint Laminate Cabinets - Use a Utility Knife to Separate the Plastic From The Door Then Twist
How to Paint Laminate Cabinets - Use a Utility Knife to Separate the Plastic From The Door

Step 2 – Sand The Doors Where Needed

Once all the laminate is removed, inspect the doors and make sure there are no dents, glue, etc that needs to be removed.

My doors were in great shape. The only part I needed to sand down where I had previously attempted to glue the plastic back to the door…. needless to say the glue didn’t do the trick but I did need to sand down the glue on the door so there wouldn’t be a bump there.

If you do need to do some sanding, stick to a fine sand paper, like 400 grit.

How to Paint Laminate Cabinets - Doors After Plastic Removed

Step 3 – Prime The Kitchen Cabinet Doors

The primer I used was Valspar Stainblocking Bonding Primer/Sealer which I bought at Lowes.

I used a furniture roller and a quality synthetic brush to apply the primer to the kitchen cabinet doors.

First I used the brush to get the paint into the nooks, then I used the furniture roller to paint the flat surfaces.

How to Paint Laminate Cabinets - Kitchen Cabinet Door After Primer
How to Paint Laminate Cabinets - The Primer Used

Step 4 – Paint the laminate doors using a special kitchen cabinet paint

Matching The Paint Color

Matching the paint color to the cabinets turned out to be a pretty tricky task. I first tried to color match the cabinets at Home Depot, but they couldn’t match the color… I mean not even close.

Not sure if it was the paint, the color matching equipment or just operator error but Home Depot was not getting the color to match.

I then tried Lowes and the color matched with them on the first try.

I don’t mean to rip on Home Depot, but if I had to get the cabinet color matched again… I’d just go to Lowes.

Here’s a picture of the paint I used along with a picture of the color matched code. If you have the same cabinets I do that barcode will match the color perfectly!


How to Paint Laminate Cabinets - The Pain Barcode In Lowes
How to Paint Laminate Cabinet - Kitchen Cabinet Paint Label

This part takes a while.

You’ll have to apply at least a couple of coats of paint to the cabinet doors, preferably 3 coats, and of course you also need to give the paint time to dry between the coats.

First, I used the synthetic brush to paint all the n

First I did the nooks and crannies, then I went over the flat surfaces with the roller.

I used a small furniture roller to apply the paint on the flat surfaces and a quality synthetic brush to apply the paint in the nooks and cranies of the door.

Doing that left a beautiful smooth finish.

Tip: Take your time on this part and use a good brush and roller to apply the kitchen cabinet paint

How to Paint Laminate Cabinets - Kitchen Cabinet Doors After Kitchen Cabinet Paint Applied
How to Paint Laminate Cabinets - Kitchen Cabinet Doors After Kitchen Cabinet Paint Applied 2

The Kitchen Cabinet Doors Are Done!!

The cabinet doors are all finished! It took about a day and a half from start to finish to complete, and a lot of that is simply drying time.

I couldn’t be happier with the results!

I was really worried that I was going to mess up the doors by painting them, but they came out SOOOOOO nice!

It Also Works With Laminated Bathroom Cabinet Doors!

They looked so nice, I decided to also do the bathroom cabinet doors. They also came out fantastic!

How to Paint Laminate Cabinets - Finished
How to Paint Laminate Cabinets - I also did the bathroom cabinets

Did you like the post? Was it useful? What would you do different?

Let me know in the comments below!


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How to Paint Laminate Cabinets without Sanding