What Kind of Paint and Primer Is Best for Laminate Cabinets?

Laminate cabinets might be considered the cheaper alternative to solid wood cabinets, but it doesn’t mean they can’t be improved with a fresh coat of paint. Painting your laminate cabinets can give them a new look, but only if you use the right paint and primer.

When painting laminate cabinets, use water-based paint for the best results. These paints are durable and have fewer fumes. Before applying the paint, prepare the surface by priming it with a bonding primer. This type of primer will provide better adhesion and help stop any chipping or peeling. 

In this article, you will learn:

  • The 6 factors to consider when choosing paint for laminate cabinets
  • What type of paint to use
  • What paint finish is best
  • My top picks for the best paint and primer for laminate cabinets

The 6 Factors to Consider When Choosing Paint for Laminate Cabinets

1. Type of Paint

Choosing the right type of paint for laminate cupboards is critical. Unlike wood, laminate is a non-porous material that is not receptive to paint adhesion.

You must look for specialty paints that work well on laminate surfaces and offer superior coverage and durability.

2. Weather Conditions

The weather will greatly affect how your paint job turns out. If your area is prone to high humidity, be sure to use fast-drying paint that won’t react negatively to moisture.

Similarly, if you live in an area with extreme temperatures, choose a heat-resistant paint to ensure long-lasting results.

3. Sheen

Sheen is another important factor when choosing the right paint for laminate doors and cabinets. Sheen directly affects the longevity of your paint job. The glossier the finish, the more durable it is.

However, too much gloss can make the cabinets look clunky and unattractive. Balance is key. Choose a finish that will be durable without making your cabinets look too shiny.

4. Application Method

When choosing paint for laminate cabinets, it is best to stick with an application method that works well with the material. A sprayer is often a good choice as it will give you an even coat and result in minimal drips and splotches.

When applying by hand, use a high-quality brush to ensure proper coverage and optimal adhesion. Ensure that the paint you buy is compatible with your chosen application method.

5. Quality of Paint

The quality of the paint you choose determines how long the paint job will last. Cheap paint may save money upfront, but it may wear out fast, chip, or peel off.

So, ensure you choose a high-quality paint specifically formulated for laminate surfaces. You can visit a paint specialist or consult your manufacturer’s recommendations for the best paint for your cabinets. 

6. Condition of the Surface

The last factor to consider when choosing paint for laminate cabinets is the condition of the surface. Laminate surfaces are prone to scratches and fading.

If the surface is in poor condition, it’s best to sand it down first and fill in any scratches with a durable filler before painting.

This will ensure that the paint adheres properly and lasts longer. Lastly, choose a paint that can hide any imperfections on the surface, like scratches or discoloration. 

What Type of Paint Is Best?


Latex paint is a water-based paint with a base of synthetic polymers that acts as a binder. This kind of paint is also sometimes known as “acrylic latex” because it contains acrylic resin, a component that enhances the paint’s resilience against weathering and potential damage.


  • Easy Application: It is easy to work with and applies smoothly.
  • Quick Drying: It dries faster than oil-based paint, speeding up the project timeline.
  • Easy Clean-Up: Clean-up is simple, with just soap and water needed for spills or brush cleaning.
  • Low VOCs: Generally has fewer volatile organic compounds (VOCs), making it safer for indoor air quality.
  • Resistant to Cracking: The flexibility of latex paint helps it resist cracking over time.
  • Color Retention: Retains its color better over time, resisting yellowing.


  • Adhesion Issues: May not adhere well to slick, glossy surfaces like laminate without proper preparation.
  • Multiple Coats Needed: You may need to apply multiple coats of latex paint to achieve an opaque finish.
  • Durability: While durable, latex paint is not as tough as oil-based paint and may show wear and tear sooner in high-traffic areas.
  • Brush Strokes: Latex paint can leave visible brush strokes without being applied carefully.
  • Surface Preparation: Similar to acrylic paint, proper surface preparation, such as sanding or priming, is necessary for good adhesion on laminate surfaces.


Acrylic paint is made of pigment suspended in acrylic polymer emulsion, known for its quick drying time and versatility.


  • Fast Drying: Dries quickly, which can speed up the painting process.
  • Easy Clean-Up: Because they’re water-soluble, spills and brushes can be cleaned up with soap and water.
  • Wide Color Range: Comes in a wide array of vibrant colors.
  • Flexibility: Less likely to crack over time because of their flexibility.
  • Manipulation: The consistency of acrylic paint can be changed using different mediums, allowing for various effects.
  • Non-Toxic: Most acrylic paints are non-toxic and safe for home environments.


  • Adhesion: Acrylic paint may not adhere well to laminate surfaces without a proper primer or preparation.
  • Opacity: Multiple coats of acrylic paint may be needed for full coverage.
  • Brush Strokes: If not applied properly, brush strokes can be visible after the paint dries.
  • Durability: Acrylic paint is not as durable or scratch-resistant as oil-based paints, which may not make it the best choice for high-traffic areas like kitchen cabinets.
  • Surface Preparation: Laminate surfaces often have a glossy finish. Before painting, they may need to be sanded or primed for the paint to adhere properly.


Water-based enamel paint combines the durability and high-gloss finish of traditional oil-based enamels with quick drying time and easy clean-up of water-based paints. It’s ideal for surfaces that require a tough, washable finish, such as trim, doors, and cabinets.


  • Easy Clean-up: As with other water-based paints, clean-up can be done with soap and water.
  • Quick Drying: Water-based enamel paints dry faster than oil-based enamels.
  • Low VOCs: Typically have fewer volatile organic compounds (VOCs), making them safer for indoor use.
  • Non-Yellowing: Unlike oil-based enamel paint, water-based versions don’t yellow over time.
  • Durability: It provides a hard, durable finish suitable for high-traffic areas.
  • Resistant to Mildew and Moisture: This makes it a good choice for kitchen and bathroom cabinets.


  • Adhesion: May not adhere well to slick surfaces like laminate without proper preparation.
  • Visible Brush Strokes: If not applied correctly, it can leave visible brush strokes.
  • Multiple Coats Needed: You may need multiple coats to achieve an opaque and even finish.
  • Price: Water-based enamel paints can be more expensive than other types of paint.
  • Surface Preparation: Proper surface preparation, such as cleaning, sanding, or priming, is necessary for optimal adhesion on laminate surfaces.

What Paint Finish Is Best?

Laminate cabinets require extra attention and care to maintain their appearance and condition. While numerous paint finishes are available, not all are suitable for laminate cabinets.

Glossy finishes, such as high gloss and semi-gloss, are highly durable but may not be the best choice for laminate cabinets. The high sheen highlights blemishes or defects, making the cabinets look cheap and unattractive.

Additionally, glossy finishes are easy to clean but can be difficult to touch up. Its intense gloss may be too overwhelming and can easily detract from your kitchen decor. 

On the other hand, satin finishes are an excellent option for laminate cabinets. Satin is a low-luster finish that offers a smooth, velvety look that is easy to clean and maintain.

It is more forgiving than glossy finishes and is less prone to showing defects or fingerprints. The subtle sheen of satin also adds a touch of elegance to your kitchen, making it a popular choice among homeowners.

Flat and matte finishes should be avoided when painting laminate cabinets. Flat finishes have no shine and are the most porous of all paint finishes.

This makes them more susceptible to stains and grime buildup, which in turn makes them difficult to clean.

Matte finishes are slightly shinier than flat finishes and offer a more modern look. However, they may not be the best choice for surfaces that receive heavy use or contact. 

The Best Paint and Primer for Laminate Cabinets

Best Brush-on Paint

Benjamin Moore AURA Interior Paint is the top choice for painting laminate cabinets. With its proprietary Color Lock technology, this paint ensures long-lasting color and nips the problem of color rub-off in the bud.

Moreover, it boasts unparalleled color depth and richness, providing a smooth, uniform color that is sure to impress.

This paint’s ultimate performance in hide saves you time, money, and effort, with fewer coats needed for a beautiful finish.

It also resists scuffing and burnishing, which means that it retains its stunning finish even in high-traffic areas. Furthermore, this paint is mildew-resistant, providing a clean and healthy environment in your kitchen space.

Another excellent feature is that this is a paint and primer in one, providing a seamless transition and reducing the labor required for a professional-looking finish.

And in the case that touch-ups are necessary, AURA Interior Paint offers seamless touch-ups, making it look like no paint was ever applied, providing a clean and polished look.

Lastly, the paint is engineered with Gennex Color Technology, making this paint eco-friendly for the environment and ultimately safe for your home.

By choosing AURA Interior Paint, you’re investing in quality and ensuring an eco-friendly, vibrant kitchen space that your friends and family will love.

Best Spray Paint

Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch 2X Ultra Cover Spray Paint stands out as a superior option when it comes to revamping laminate cabinets.

The innovative spray paint technology offers twice the coverage on laminate surfaces compared to other spray paints.

Using this spray paint on laminate cabinets produces a stunning and long-lasting finish and makes the painting process easier and less time-consuming.

This spray paint is the best choice for laminate cabinets because it can cover surfaces with fewer spray passes. This means that they won’t require several coats of paint to achieve a smooth and even finish.

The result is a faster and more efficient painting process, leaving your laminate cabinets looking professionally painted in no time. 

Furthermore, this spray paint’s incredible technology allows for a unique any-angle spray feature. This means that you can spray in any direction, even upside down, giving you greater control over your painting project and allowing you to reach even the most challenging corners and edges.

Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch 2X Ultra Cover Spray Paint is also valued for its fast-drying formula, so you won’t have to wait hours or even days for your cabinets to dry before using them.

You’ll be happy to know that the fast-drying feature of this spray paint adds convenience and quality to your painting project.

And once your cabinets are painted, the long-lasting and durable finish will help prevent wear and tear, maintaining a beautiful and fresh look for years to come.

Best Primer

INSL-X Stix Acrylic Waterborne Bonding Primer is the go-to solution for priming laminate cabinets.

This premium-quality, acrylic-urethane bonding primer-sealer boasts unparalleled adhesion to the most challenging surfaces, including Formica and other glossy surfaces that can be notoriously difficult to coat.

Its exceptional ability to bond to hard-to-coat surfaces makes it a popular choice among DIY enthusiasts, professional painters, and contractors alike.

Its outstanding enamel holdout sets it apart from other primers, which provides a perfect base for even topcoat finishes. This means that it bonds securely to the surface and helps ensure that the paint adheres smoothly and evenly without any bubbling or flaking.

The result is a polished and professional-looking finish that will stand the test of time. Another benefit of using this primer is its ability to cure in temperatures as low as 35°F (2°C).

This means it can be used year-round, even in colder climates, without sacrificing quality or performance.

With a coverage area of 75-100 square feet (7-9m²), it provides excellent value for both interior and exterior use, making it a versatile choice for all types of painting projects.

Moreover, it is a low VOC (volatile organic compounds) primer that is easy to clean with soap and water. It is environmentally friendly and can be used safely in various settings, including homes, schools, and healthcare facilities.

Joshua Milton

Joshua Milton is a passionate DIY and home improvement enthusiast. With his expertise in various projects, he provides practical tips, step-by-step guides, and creative ideas for transforming your living space.

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