Last week found me on my hands and knees painting the (brown) grout of the bathroom floor. The project was such a success (and made such a big difference) I decided to tackle the vanity next.
The vanity top was always an eyesore, mainly because the shade of blue did not match anything else in the bathroom. However, it was still in perfect condition so replacing it didn’t make much sense. Now, painting formica is very labour intensive and requires A LOT of preparation. Because the surface is smooth and non porous, there isn’t much for the paint to stick to so it can peel off over time. Here’s what I did to make sure it didn’t happen.
First (as with any surface) the vanity top got a good wash with ammonia and water. After it dried, I taped off the sink, walls and fixtures. Make sure that you use a high quality painter’s tape that is good for a minimum of 7 days. Plain masking tape will tear too easily and will be a NIGHTMARE to take off later.
Next, sand the formica thoroughly (I used 280 grit) to scratch it up enough to accept the primer. Wipe up any dust with a damp rag the let dry.
A high quality bonding primer is really important here – I used Stix by Insl-x. Make sure to follow the instructions on the back of the can for drying and recoating times. I was able to do one coat per day. Since the evenings are very damp and there isn’t a lot of air movement in the bathroom be prepared to wait a little longer between coats. A portable fan helps to circulate the air.
After the final coat of primer, I left the project alone for a solid 24 hours. Then came the colour (0549 Emu). For the topcoat, I used Muralo’s Ultra Waterbourne Enamel. The latex formula makes it easy to use, has no smell and it cleans up with soap and water. You will see that is very handy indeed. Since I put the paint on pretty thick I was only able to do one coat per night.
TIP: Latex paint dries very quickly. To get the smoothest finish resist the urge to back and forth in the spot with your brush or roller. Put on a good amount of paint and leave it alone to flow out by itself.
I was so excited to be finished with the project that I stumbled, stepped into a wet paint can lid and promptly proceeded to spill the rest of the paint sitting on the toilet (I told you that water clean up was an important benefit). Then I cried a little and got to mopping up the mess.
Finally, the day after the last coat I recalled the sink and fixtures and voila!!
TIP: The paint will be dry quickly but will not CURE for up to 28 days. Until then avoid harsh cleaners and lots of standing water.