How to Paint Laminate With Oak Trim Cabinets

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Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver

  • Warm water

  • Liquid dishwashing soap (grease fighter)

  • Cleaning cloths

  • Painter's tape

  • 80-grit sandpaper

  • 150-grit sandpaper

  • Acrylic water-based primer

  • Paint rollers

  • Paintbrushes

  • 220-grit sandpaper

  • Tack cloth

  • Water-based latex paint

  • Acrylic oil-based primer

Spruce up laminate cabinets with a coat of paint.

Many kitchens feature outdated laminate cabinets, some with an oak trim. The laminate finish is a glossy looking veneer that may fail to complement the real oak wood surrounding it. If the laminate is in good condition — that is, not peeling or cracked — you can paint the laminate with oak trim cabinets over the course of a weekend.


Paint Laminate Only

Step 1

Remove the cabinets from the hinges and take the hardware off the cabinets.

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Step 2

Clean the laminate with warm soapy water and a grease-fighting liquid dishwashing soap. Rinse the soap away and dry the surface with dry cleaning cloths.


Step 3

Place painter's tape along the oak trim edges. Make sure to place the tape directly at the edge of the laminate and oak wood.

Step 4

Scuff the laminate with 80-grit sandpaper. This medium texture sandpaper prepares the laminate surface by removing the glossy finish to enable the primer to bond with the surface.


Step 5

Apply a coat of acrylic water-based primer. Use either a small sponge paint roller or paintbrush to paint the coat of primer. Let the primer dry four to six hours.

Step 6

Sand the cabinets gently with fine 220-grit sandpaper. Wipe the dust away with a tack cloth.


Step 7

Paint the laminate area with water-based latex paint. Use the foam paint roller and paintbrushes to apply the paint. Let the paint dry overnight. Apply a second coat if desired.

Step 8

Remove the painter's tape from the oak trim. Replace the hardware and hang the cabinets back onto the hinges.


Paint the Laminate and the Oak Trim

Step 1

Take the cabinets off the hinges and remove all hardware. Clean the cabinets with warm soapy water. Dry the cabinets with a clean cloth and let them air dry for an hour.

Step 2

Sand the entire cabinet surface with 150-grit sandpaper. Wipe away all the sanding dust with a tack cloth.


Step 3

Prime the laminate and oak surfaces with an acrylic oil-based primer. Use small foam paint rollers for large areas and a paintbrush for the corners and crevices. Let the primer dry six to eight hours.

Step 4

Scuff the cabinets with fine 220-grit sandpaper. This prepares the primed surface for the final coats of paint.


Step 5

Paint the cabinets with water-based latex paint. Use the rollers for larger surfaces and paintbrushes for the corners and crevices on the cabinets. Let the paint dry overnight. Apply a second coat if needed. Replace the hardware and hang the cabinets back onto the door hinges.


Set the cabinets over two sawhorses if available. Otherwise, place them on a flat surface covered with painter's plastic. Use melamine paint instead of latex paint, for its special formula that makes it suitable for laminate surfaces. This paint may be a little more expensive than basic latex interior paint and not as easy to find at your local home improvement store.


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