Clear Coat over Formica

Finishers report that spray coatings adhere well to Formica. February 12, 2010

Will a pre-cat lacquer adhere to Formica, or is there a way to clear coat Formica?

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor M:
Any lacquer will stick to Formica. I once did a job where I had to glaze over white Formica. I used lacquer for the clear coat and it worked perfectly. By the way, if you are going to pay more for pre-cat, don't bother. Regular old NC lacquer will work just as good. There is no risk of moisture raising NC lacquer on Formica.

From contributor B:
Is there a reason you need to clear coat Formica?

From contributor R:
I always like to test things for myself. Do an adhesion test. I do a not-so-scientific one. Just apply your finish however you plan to do it and after it has dried and cured, use a razor blade to cut a grid into it. 5 cuts horizontal, 5 vertical, like a ticktacktoe board. Put some really good tape over the hatched area and burnish down so it is well adhered. Rip the tape off and look at the grid. If you are missing some squares, I wouldn't do it. If you are just missing a few corners, it's borderline; take your chances. If it's perfect with nothing missing, go for it - you have excellent adhesion. Do a test and let us all know how it works. Does lacquer adhere to laminate? Inquiring minds want to know...

From the original questioner:
Thanks for the input. The customer wanted a 90 sheen finish over top of a 40 sheen Formica table top. I just thought pre-cat would be more moisture and solvent resistant than NC lacquer. I'll give it a test first. I'll give some tooth with 280 first and shoot it with MagnaMax. It's an old Formica table. I also need to find some replacement plastic tee molding that goes around the edges.

From contributor D:
I was once asked to Marbelize over Formica in a bathroom. I floated in some glaze and sealed with water based poly. It held up for years until they finally renovated the bath. As for the tee moldings, Outwater Plastics is my source.