Lam­i­nate sur­faces can be trans­formed

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - HOMES - DEB­BIE TRAVIS

DEAR Deb­bie: I have a vanilla melamine (lam­i­nate) coun­ter­top in the bath­room that was cus­tom made. Re­mov­ing it would be costly as it would en­tail re­mov­ing ce­ramic tile as well. I would like to paint it, but am concerned it won’t look pro­fes­sional. Any help would be ap­pre­ci­ated. — Lynn

Dear Lynn: Even if your bath­room counter is in good shape, the colour or pat­tern may no longer ap­peal to you. How­ever, it is an ex­pen­sive propo­si­tion to re­place it, and you can work mir­a­cles with paint at a frac­tion of the cost. On an episode of one of my tele­vi­sion shows, we fea­tured a young bach­e­lor who had moved into an older home. Among other chal­lenges, the small bath­room was se­ri­ously not his style. The coun­ter­top was pale yel­low mar­ble lam­i­nate, an old-fashion gold metal­lic wall­pa­per cov­ered the walls and the cab­i­nets were plain white. This dated look soon dis­ap­peared with a fresh, mas­cu­line colour pal­ette. We chose sen­su­ous peaty brown for the cab­i­nets and re­placed the wall­pa­per with a pinky-taupe shade the com­ple­ments the cab­i­nets. White mir­ror frames and white ribbed tow­els brighten the room.

Refin­ish­ing the coun­ter­top with mus­tard yel­low paint was an im­por­tant part of the trans­for­ma­tion. You can paint over lam­i­nate as long as you ap­ply a high qual­ity primer that gives the shiny sur­face grip for the paint to ad­here to. If you are us­ing acrylic (wa­ter-based) paint, clean the counter with a heavy duty cleanser such as TSP, then sand lightly and wipe clean. Ap­ply a high ad­he­sion primer and al­low to dry and cure overnight. To avoid brush marks, ap­ply the primer and two base coats of paint with a low-pile roller or a sponge brush. Brush in one di­rec­tion, and don’t over­load your roller or brush. Al­low the paint to dry be­tween coats. Seal with two or three coats of var­nish in the sheen of your choice. The higher the sheen, the more durable the fin­ish -an im­por­tant fac­tor for a busy counter be­side a sink. Wa­ter-based paints and sealors will feel dry to the touch in about four hours, but al­low the counter to har­den or cure for a min­i­mum of four or five days be­fore you use it.

There are paints de­signed specif­i­cally to cover lam­i­nate sur­faces. Melamine paint is one that works well, but is not read­ily avail­able in the U.S. I just dis­cov­ered a new lam­i­nate coverup paint sys­tem that comes in a kit; it’s called Giani Gran­ite Paint Kits for Coun­ter­tops, and it is specif­i­cally de­signed to pro­duce the look of ex­pen­sive gran­ite. There’s a range of pop­u­lar gran­ite shades: Si­cil­ian Sand, Choco­late Brown, Bom­bay Black, Roma Red and so on. The process is sim­ple, and the kits come com­plete with primer, basecoat, min­eral colours, ure­thane top coat and the tools you re­quire to ap­ply the paint tech­nique. Check out their web­site­an­i­gran­ You’ll find stain­less steel paint on the site as well. To ac­cess a store locator near you for both the Giani Gran­ite Paints and the Stain­less Steel paint, visit www.liq­uid­stain­

Dear Mary: You don’t say whether the pan­elling is flat or has a raised pat­tern, but ei­ther way you can paint the wood to lighten up your room. Sand and prime to pre­pare the wood sur­face for paint. If you have raised pan­els, it will re­main a fo­cal wall, which is fine. Be­cause it is go­ing to be the TV wall, you could also paint it a few shades darker than the other walls.

Dear Deb­bie: Our liv­ing room has a solid wal­nut pan­elled wall that was in­stalled when we built in 1962. Need­less to say, it’s out­dated, and dif­fi­cult for liv­ing room ar­range­ments. I’d like to paint it to match the other walls. Would this look OK? We are buy­ing a flatscreen TV and con­sole to put against that wall. — Mary

You can paint those dated and ugly lam­i­nate coun­ter­tops, al­though if you can at all

spring for it, re­place­ment is by far the bet­ter op­tion.

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