How to Paint Laminate Plastic Walls

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Use latex paint to cover plastic laminate walls.
Use latex paint to cover plastic laminate walls. (Image: Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Laminate wood paneling was once a popular wall covering in homes. If you don't like the look but don't have the time and resources to replace it, consider simply painting over it. Laminate is a thin layer of plastic that covers particle board or other material. A laminate surface is very smooth; as such, it's unlikely to allow paint to grip onto it. But with the correct preparation, you can successfully transform laminate wall panels by painting over them.

Things You'll Need

  • Grease-cutting cleanser such as TSP
  • Water
  • Soap
  • Cloth
  • Sandpaper
  • Primer
  • Paint
  • Paint roller

Clean the paneling with a grease-cutting cleanser, such as TSP, then rinse off all soap residue.

Sand the laminate lightly with 120-grit sandpaper. This will rough up the surface, giving your primer and paint something to grab onto.

Vacuum the dust created from sanding, and wipe down the walls with a damp cloth or a tack cloth.

Apply a super-adhesive primer using a roller or brush. Brush strokes are wont to show up on laminate surfaces; using a roller will reduce the likelihood of visible paint strokes appearing on the wall.

Allow the primer to dry completely before applying your paint color -- typically this will take around 45 minutes.

Use a brush or roller to apply two coats of latex paint. Allow the first coat to dry completely before applying the second. Refer to the instructions on your paint can to determine how quickly one coat of paint will dry.

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