How To Paint Particle Board Furniture | Tips & Tricks

by Team MD


The furniture in your home might not look as good as it did when you first brought it home, so learning how to paint particle board can help you a great deal when you want to refurbish it. With just a bit of skill and the right tools and supplies, you can easily give your particle board furniture a new life. Here are the best tips and tricks on how to make that happen.


Remove any hinges or hardware accessories present

You surely want your furniture to look as good as new, but you may not want the hinges or other pieces of hardware present to be painted over. Ignoring this simple tip will give you many headaches later on when you try to remove the paint from the metal pieces. As you may well know, doing so requires time and effort, and the chances are that the hardware accessories will end up looking a little worse for wear.

Therefore, here is the first helpful tip you should apply. Before moving on to the actual painting, make sure to remove all these parts and put them aside. Once the paint is dry and you can put the hardware pieces back on, your furniture will truly look as good as new.


Use 120-grit sandpaper for the entire surface

You cannot even think of painting particle board furniture before considering this step. Because particle board is usually covered with laminate or veneer, painting on top of it won’t lead to the desired results because simply put, the paint won’t be able to adhere to it.

Therefore, you need to sand the entire surface you want to apply paint on to ensure that it has what to stick to once you get down to business. The recommended type of sandpaper for this job is the 120-grit kind because particle board is a soft wood, which means that it can easily get scratched or damaged.

The 120-grit sandpaper will get the job done without causing such trouble, but you must also ensure that you apply light movements while doing so.


Get the necessary repairs done before the next step

Now that your furniture is sanded down thoroughly, you should inspect it for any chips and scratches. If you ignore searching for them now, they will later stand out from under the paint in the most unsightly manner. To avoid such problems, run this inspection and repair the damages.

The best course of action is to use wood putty to cover the cracks. Use a putty knife and smooth the area. Allow the putty to dry overnight, and then take the sandpaper over these areas until there’s no difference in level between them and the undamaged areas. This way, you will ensure that your final result will look professional.


Deal with any water damage signs

While the tips described so far apply to particle board furniture covered with laminate, sometimes, you may want to repair pieces that have been painted before. In this case, you may notice that the old paint was already affected by water infiltrations. These appear like small bubbles or stains.

Dealing with this type of damage requires more work than what we’ve talked about so far. You will need to remove the damaged parts by using a sharp razor. In case you deal with large areas affected by water damage, you should consider replacing the part altogether.

For small areas, after cleaning them, fill them with wood putty, let them dry, and then use sandpaper to smooth them. After that, the actual steps for particle board painting can begin.


Always use an oil-based primer

Many people shy away from painting this type of furniture because it is hard to make the paint adhere to the surface. However, if you follow all the steps described here, you won’t encounter any such problems. Another helpful tip that guarantees that you will achieve the desired results is to use only oil-based primer on such surfaces.

Water-based primer is a definite no-no because water will infiltrate into the soft wood and cause swelling. Make sure to buy a type of oil-based primer suitable for particle board. If unsure, asking your local hardware store clerk about the best products for this type of furniture is always a good idea.


Choose the right color primer

A good quality primer will save you a lot of trouble because you won’t have to apply multiple coats of paint to achieve the perfect result. That’s why it is highly advisable to choose the right color primer for the type of furniture you’re dealing with.

Grey primer is indicated for painting dark colored furniture, while white primer is the right choice for light-colored particle board pieces. In case you don’t have the correct type of primer on hand, you can tint the primer with a bit of paint to bring it to a suitable color.


The fingernail test for the primer

Don’t think of starting to paint before the primer is fully dry. Usually, it takes half an hour to an hour to dry, but you should always run a small test to see if that happened. This test is simple. Run a fingernail over a small patch that’s hidden from view. A fully dry primer shouldn’t show any scratches when you do so.


A second coat of primer is a great idea

While not everyone opts for this step, it is an extra tip to make sure that you will enjoy your results. Use 400-grit sandpaper on the first coat of primer you applied, and then apply a second coat. Allow it to dry, just as you did with the first coat. This way, the paint will adhere properly to the surface, and your efforts will be rewarded with an excellent looking piece of furniture.


Choosing the right type of paint

Now that you have the surface ready, you should start applying the paint. Ensure that you have all the supplies necessary before you start, including what kind of paint to use on particle board. The most recommended type is oil-based paint. Lacquer-based types are also great, but here is something you should know.

Your oil-based primer already did its job of covering the entire surface. That means that it is properly protected from damage. That’s why specialists say that you can successfully use water-based paint without worrying that it might damage the wood. However, if you prefer to err on the side of caution, you should consider an oil or lacquer-based paint.

High-gloss paints are an excellent pick because not only do they give a beautiful look to your work, they are also easy to clean, and they will remain beautiful for a long time.


What type of tool should you use when painting?

You have choices at your fingertips when you want to get to work. A wide-bristled brush is an excellent idea, but you can also use a paint roller. The most crucial part is that you work slowly so that the entire surface is covered. Closed-cell foam rollers are the most recommended for applying glossy paints, as they ensure an excellent smooth finish that will make your furniture look as good as new.

Some people prefer to use paint sprayers, and these are highly efficient. In this case, however, you should still be careful to apply the paint in thin layers. This allows the paint to dry fast and evenly.


Allow the necessary time for the coats of paint to dry

Applying several coats is usually a good idea if you want to love the ultimate results. That means that you should arm yourself with patience because each coat of paint needs between half an hour and one hour to dry completely. In case you live in an area with a humid climate, you should consider more time for each coat to dry.

Usually, the paint cans come with instructions on how long you should allow each coat to dry, so make sure to read the label before starting to work.


How many layers of paint are needed?

So, can particle board be painted? By now, you have got your answer, but you may have other questions. For instance, an essential question regards the number of coats of paint required for the piece of furniture to look as good as new. The minimum number is 2, while others incline toward 4 coats of paint to ensure that your furniture looks absolutely perfect.


How long should you allow the last coat of paint to dry?

While you should notice that the last layer of paint is dry one hour after applying it, you should leave it more before working on the last step. The best recommendation is to let it dry for up to 24 hours. After that, you can reassemble the furniture and put back all the hardware accessories you removed, if applicable.

The final result should make you proud. By following all these steps, you will successfully refurbish any piece of particle board furniture without a glitch.



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