How to Refinish Arborite Countertops

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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 Over time, however, Arborite can become faded or outdated.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.

Things You'll 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
  • Wash the countertop with a general-purpose cleaner.

  • 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.

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

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

  • 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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