How to Refinish a Table With a Laminate Top

Refinishing a table with a laminate top can give it an updated look, add value to the piece of furniture and even change its function. It is also a great way to extend the life of your table and make it more aesthetically pleasing. With just a few simple steps, you can refinish your table with a laminate top and dramatically change the look and feel of your home.

How to Refinish a Table With a Laminate Top

Refinishing a table with a laminate top offers several advantages. First, it is much less expensive than purchasing a new table and can be done in the comfort of your home. Additionally, many laminate tables come with finishes already resistant to scratches and stains, so applying any additional sealants or protective coatings isn’t necessary. In this blog post, You will learn in detail how to refinish a table with a laminate top.

Tools You Will Need

  • 350-grit sandpaper
  • Tack cloth
  • Paintbrush
  • Foam roller brush
  • Primer
  • Waterproof paint for laminate surfaces
  • Drop cloths or plastic sheeting
  • Safety mask and goggles
  • Vacuum cleaner 
  • Sanding block (optional)

Step by Step Processes for How to Refinish a Table With a Laminate Top 

Step 1: Inspect the Area

Before beginning any refinishing process, inspect the area around the laminated table top. Look for signs of damage or wear and tear. If necessary, repair any dents or scratches on the surface before continuing. Using a damp cloth, wipe down the entire surface of your laminated table top to remove dust and debris.

Entire Surface of Your Laminated Table

Step 2: Clean the Laminate Top

Mix a few drops of mild detergent with warm water and use it to wash the laminate top. Rinse off the surface with clean, warm water and dry it thoroughly using a soft cloth or paper towel. Using a sandpaper block, lightly sand the surface of the laminated table top. Start by using 80-grit sandpaper and then move up to 120-grit paper. Finish off with 220-grit paper for an ultra-smooth finish.

Step 3: Clean the Residue

Once you have sanded the surface of your laminated table top, wipe away any dust and debris with a damp cloth. Using a brush or roller, apply an oil-based primer to your laminate top in thin coats. Allow at least one hour for each coat to dry before adding additional layers.

Step 4: Sand the Primer

Once your primer has dried completely, sand it lightly using 220-grit paper. This will help create an even surface for the paint to adhere to. Wipe away any dust or debris with a damp cloth afterward. Choose a paint color that compliments your decor. Using a brush or roller, apply at least two thin coats of paint to the tabletop, allowing one hour for each coat to dry before adding additional layers.

Step 5: Sand Again

Once you have finished painting the tabletop, sand it lightly using 220-grit sandpaper. This will help to create an even finish and remove any imperfections. For added protection, apply two coats of water-based polyurethane or varnish to the surface of your tabletop. Allow each coat time to dry before adding the next.

Finished Painting the Tabletop

Safety Tips for How to Refinish a Table With a Laminate Top 

  1. Wear safety glasses and protective clothing when sanding laminate surfaces. Always wear a dust mask to ensure that you don’t inhale any harmful particles.
  2. Use a hand sander or power sander with extra fine grit sandpaper for the best results. A drum sander can also be used, but it is more difficult to control.
  3. Work in a well-ventilated area, as sanding will create dust and fumes that can be dangerous when inhaled.
  4. Sand gently with the grain of the laminate to avoid damaging it. Move the sander back and forth lightly over the surface several times until you have achieved an even finish.
  5. Wipe the surface with a damp cloth after sanding to remove any dust particles and dirt that may have accumulated.
  6. Before applying any paint or stain, make sure to clean the laminate surface with a mild detergent and water solution to ensure that all of the dirt and dust are removed.
  7. Apply an even coat of paint or stain using a brush and work in the grain’s direction. Allow the finish to dry completely before applying a second coat if needed.
  8. Once the paint or stain has dried, apply a clear sealant to protect it from wear and tear. This will also help extend the life of the table.

Following these safety tips and precautions will help make sure that your table refinishing project goes smoothly and successfully.

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How Can You Clean and Protect Your Newly Refinished Laminate Table Top?

  • Clean the refinishing surface with mild detergent and warm water. Make sure to remove all traces of dirt, grease, wax, or other residue from the tabletop that might interfere with the finish.
  • Sand the entire surface down lightly using fine-grit sandpaper. This will ensure that any previous finishes or scratches have been removed and the surface is now ready for a new finish.
  • Apply a sealant to the tabletop, such as polyurethane or lacquer. This will ensure that the new finish adheres properly and lasts longer. Allow the sealant to dry completely before proceeding to the next step.  
  • Apply a coat of paint or stain to the table top using a brush or roller. Choose a color that complements your room decor and allow the first coat to dry thoroughly before applying additional coats if necessary.
  • Once all the coats are dry, apply a finishing wax to protect the finish from scratches and wear. A finishing wax will also give the tabletop a glossy shine that looks great in any home.
  • Finally, take care of your newly refinished laminate table top by regularly dusting it and using coasters to protect it from spills and heat damage. Avoid using harsh chemicals or placing hot objects on the surface, as this could damage the finish.

By following these steps, you can easily refinish a table with a laminate top to give it an updated look and protect it from wear and tear. With proper care, your newly refinished table will last for many years to come.

How Often Will You Need to Perform Maintenance on Your Laminate Table Top? 

The maintenance and longevity of your laminate table top will depend on the quality of the materials used in its construction and how it is used. Generally speaking, if you take care of your laminate tabletop properly and clean it regularly, it should last for several years before needing a new refinish or re-lamination job.

The process is relatively simple when it comes time to refinish your laminate table top. First, you will need to sand down the table’s surface with fine-grit sandpaper to remove any imperfections or bumps in the laminate. Once this is done, you can use a stain, paint, or another coloring agent to give the table a fresh look. Finally, you will need to apply a protective sealant or varnish over the top of your newly finished table top to protect it from damage and wear.

Depend on the Quality

How Can You Avoid Common Mistakes When Refinishing a Laminate Table Top? 

When refinishing a laminate table top, it is important to understand the limitations of the material and take proper steps to avoid potentially damaging mistakes. Here are some tips for ensuring successful results when tackling a project like this:

  • Sand Carefully: Laminate is not as strong as wood, so you must be careful when sanding to avoid damaging the material. Start with a medium grit sandpaper and gradually move up to finer grades until you achieve the desired smoothness.
  • Don’t Overapply Finish: Too much finish can cause the laminate to warp or buckle, making it difficult to get a good seal on the surface. Use thin layers of finish and spread them evenly with a soft, lint-free cloth.
  • Choose the Right Finish: Before you begin your project, make sure to choose the right type of finish for your laminate table top. For example, polyurethane is best suited for high-traffic areas, while oil-based varieties provide a better protective coating for surfaces that will not be used heavily.
  • Clean the Surface: Once you’ve finished sanding and applying your finish, it is important to clean the surface before you begin using it. This removes dust and dirt particles which can interfere with the finish’s ability to adhere properly. Use a soft cloth and a mild cleaner to wipe down the tabletop before use.

Following these tips can avoid common mistakes and achieve better results when refinishing a laminate table top.

Refinishing a Laminate Table


Finishing a table with a laminate top can be intimidating for many people, but with the right tools and materials, it doesn’t have to be. With some basic sanding and refinishing knowledge, you can easily restore your laminate-top table to its former glory. Start by cleaning the table’s surface using TSP or another cleaning agent to remove dirt and debris. 

Then, sand the table lightly with medium-grit sandpaper or an orbital sander. Once you’ve finished sanding, apply a wood stain in thin layers until you reach the desired color. I hope reading this post has helped you learn how to refinish a table with a laminate top. Make sure the safety precautions are carried out in the order listed.

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Adrian Green

Adrian is a woodworking hobbyist and has loved Woodworking since he was 10 years old. Back then in childhood, his father used to have a furniture shop. He used to help his dad and learned a lot from him about how to fix woodworking furniture, basic carpentry knowledge and also about how to work hard and take care of business. He enjoys woodworking as a hobby. He loves the feeling of creating something with his own hands, and the satisfaction that comes from seeing his finished products used by others.

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