Painting laminate cabinets is a great way to update the look of your kitchen without making a large investment. I’ve painted over my cabinets before without sanding and it was well worth it. There was no mess from sanding and the cabinets looked amazing. Painting your laminate cabinets is an easy way to transform the look of your kitchen in no time.

To paint laminate cabinets without sanding you can follow a few simple steps. You should remove the hardware, deep clean the cabinets, prime the cabinets, paint the cabinets, and apply a top coat. You should use a high-adhesion primer is recommended for priming your laminate cabinets.

With the right materials and techniques, you can paint your laminate cabinets to give them a whole new look. In this article, we will discuss the proper steps for painting laminate cabinets without sanding. Along with the materials and tools you need to prepare, prime, and paint your cabinets.

Can You Paint Over Laminate Cabinets Without Sanding?

It is possible to paint over laminate cabinets without sanding. Sanding does provide a better surface for the paint to adhere to and reduces the risk of peeling and bubbling. 

However, if you choose to paint without sanding, you just need to use a bonding primer. This is designed to adhere to slick surfaces such as laminate. With the use of the bonding primer, the paint will be able to stick correctly and look clean. 

Remember that it is extremely important to thoroughly clean the cabinet doors and drawers with a degreasing cleaner. Any dirt or grease on the surface will prevent the primer and paint from adhering correctly. You should also use a brush and roller with high-density foam to apply the paint and primer. This will create a smoother finish. 

All you need to do is have a little confidence in your painting skills and have the necessary supplies. You will able to easily paint over your laminate cabinets without sanding. I painted over mine without sanding and the finished product looks just as good as if I would have sanded the surface beforehand

How To Paint Over Laminate Cabinets Without Sanding

To paint over laminate cabinets without sanding, you will need a deglosser, a roller, a brush set, high-adhesion primer, a paint color of your choice, and an appropriate finish. 

You can start by cleaning the cabinets and wiping them down with a damp cloth. Next, apply the deglosser to the surface of the cabinets and let it sit for the recommended amount of time. 

Once the deglosser has dried, use a roller and brush to apply the high-adhesion primer to the cabinets. Allow the primer to dry for the recommended amount of time before applying two coats of your chosen paint color. Once the paint has dried, finish the cabinets with a durable topcoat to protect your new paint job.

Step 1: Remove the Hardware

Before you begin the process of painting over laminate cabinets, it is important to remove the hardware. This includes the cabinet doors, drawer fronts, hinges, knobs, and any other hardware that is attached to the cabinets. You need to remove the hardware will ensure that the paint will adhere to the cabinets properly. This will also ensure the hardware won’t get damaged during the painting process. 

To remove the hardware, start by unscrewing the screws and hinges. If any of the screws are stuck, use a screwdriver to loosen them. If the hinges are stuck, use a flathead screwdriver to pry them off. Once all of the hardware is removed, it can be cleaned and set aside for reinstallation after the painting is finished.

Step 2: Deep Clean the Cabinets

You should get a degreasing cleaner to deep clean your cabinets with. Use a sponge or cloth to wipe down the surface of the cabinets. Make sure you clean all the crevices too.

You can also use a mixture of need mild dish soap, white vinegar, and water. Start by mixing 1 tablespoon of dish soap with 1 quart of water and 1 tablespoon of white vinegar in a bucket. Dip a sponge into the mixture and start scrubbing the cabinets. Then use a microfiber cloth to dry the cabinets after cleaning. 

It is important to clean the cabinets before painting over them because any dirt, grease, or debris can prevent the new paint from adhering properly. Remember that you want the surface to be completely dry before painting.

Step 3: Prime the Cabinets

In order to properly prime the cabinets before painting, you will need to gather some materials. These materials include a paintbrush or roller, a paint tray, primer, and a drop cloth or other protective covering. 

You will need to lay down the drop cloth or other protective covering to protect the surrounding surfaces from any splashes or spills. Then you can paint on the primer. You may need to apply the primer more than once. Try to apply it twice just to be safe. Allow the primer to completely dry before putting on the next coat.

Priming the cabinets before painting is important because it helps the paint adhere to the surface better, resulting in a more durable finish. Without priming, the paint could easily chip and peel away. Priming also helps to create a smooth, even surface which will help the paint look its best.

Step 4: Paint the Cabinets

For painting laminate cabinets, you will need high-quality, acrylic-based, oil- or water-based paint. This will ensure the finish is either semi-gloss or high-gloss for a durable finish.

You will need a few basic tools to paint laminate cabinets, such as a paintbrush, paint roller, sandpaper, drop cloth, painter’s tape, screwdriver, and a putty knife.

The best way to paint laminate cabinets is to use a brush with synthetic bristles. Along with a light- to medium-weight nap, such as a 3/4-inch nap. When painting the cabinets, use long, even brush strokes and use light pressure to ensure a smooth, even application.

Step 5: Apply a Top Coat

You should use a high-quality top coat designed for use on laminate surfaces. Apply it with a brush or roller in long, even strokes, applying light pressure and taking care to avoid streaks and brush marks. Make sure each coat is dry before applying the next. Allow the top coat to cure for at least 24 hours before using the cabinets. 

You should use a water-based polyurethane finish for the top coat. This type of finish is durable and provides a glossy, protective coating.

What Type of Primer Should You Use?

The type of primer you should use on laminate cabinets depends on the project you are working on. Generally, a high-adhesion primer is recommended for priming laminate surfaces. This type of primer will adhere to the laminate, creating a smooth and even surface for the paint to adhere to. 

ProductAdhesionMildew ResistanceApplication Method
Zinsser Cover StainHighYesBrush or roller
KILZ OriginalHighYesBrush or roller
Rust-Oleum Painter’s TouchMediumNoSpray only

Overall, the best option is a high-adhesion primer that also offers mildew resistance. This will give you the best results and ensure the paint will adhere to the surface for a longer period of time.

What Type of Paint Should You Use?

You should consider several factors when it comes to selecting the right type of paint for laminate cabinets. The main factors you should consider are the type of paint that will provide your desired look and durability. Along with finding paints with low VOCs. This way you won’t possibly run into health issues because of the paint.

Below is a table comparing some of the most popular paint products and brands available for laminate cabinets:

Kilz PrimerFlatGoodLow
Rust-Oleum Painter’s TouchSatinGoodLow
Behr Alkyd Semi-Gloss EnamelSemi-GlossExcellentLow
Valspar Cabinet & Furniture EnamelSatinExcellentLow
Sherwin-Williams ProClassic Interior Acrylic Enamel GlossExcellentLow

Kilz Primer is a good choice for those looking for a flat, low-VOC finish and is my personal favorite. Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch is a great option for those looking for a durable, satin finish. Behr Alkyd Semi-Gloss Enamel provides excellent durability with a semi-gloss finish and low VOCs. Valspar Cabinet

What’s the Best Top Coat for Laminate Cabinets?

When shopping for the best top coat for laminate cabinets, it is important to consider several factors including durability, ease of application, and finishing look. 

Below is a comparison of my top choices with the following criteria: 

ProductDurabilityEase of ApplicationFinishing Look
Kilz Complete CoatHighEasyHigh-Gloss
Rust-Oleum TransformationsHighMediumSatin
Rust-Oleum Cabinet TransformationsHighEasySemi-Gloss 
Rust-Oleum Painter’s TouchHighEasySatin

Each product offers its own advantages. You should try to weigh the pros and cons of each before selecting the best top coat for your laminate cabinets. Ultimately, the best option will depend on the desired finish and the level of effort you are willing to put into the project.


Painting laminate cabinets without sanding is possible and will still look great. Remember that you need to start by cleaning the cabinets with a degreaser to remove any built-up dirt and grime. This is one of the most important tasks so the primer will adhere properly. 
Remember to also use a primer specifically designed for laminates and use high-quality latex paint in a semi-gloss finish for a long-lasting, durable finish. With patience and the right supplies, you can achieve a professional-looking finish without sanding your laminate cabinets.

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