Home & Garden

Don't paint countertops

My laminate countertop is old and faded. Can I use paint to make it look newer?

The folks at Wilsonart International, which manufactures laminate and other countertop materials, say the answer is no.

“We do not recommend painting a laminate countertop because laminate is a nonporous product,” said spokeswoman Kathy Calhoun. “The paint would not absorb to the surface, causing it to easily peel or scratch.”

Laminate countertops are made using treated decorative papers that are bonded to treated core papers forming a product sheet, Calhoun said. The nonporous plastic top layer protects the second layer, a decorative paper impregnated with melamine that gives the countertop its color or pattern.

Compared with other countertop materials, laminate is fairly inexpensive, so replacing it probably won’t break the bank. Look at other materials as well. Check out www.wilsonart.com.

NEW RULES

Beginning in April, federal law will require contractors who “disturb lead-based paint in homes, child-care facilities and schools built before 1978 to be certified and follow specific work practices to prevent lead contamination.”

A hazardous condition exists when lead-paint dust is present on a floor to the extent of 40 micrograms (one millionth of a gram) in a square-foot area. The EPA suggests consumers ask for certification before they sign a contract.

Since December 2008, remodelers have been required by law to supply a brochure to customers outlining the dangers and rules.

For details, go to www.epa.gov/lead/pubs/renovation.htm.

The Philadelphia Inquirer

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