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KCK 08-26-2011 09:17 PM

Painting Dresser (MDF/Particle Board/Laminate) Help!
Hi all. I have grown so frustrated after hours of searching online and yahoo questions, talking to the guys at Home Depot...and thus ended up here. I dont understand why I cannot find answers? :confused1:

Okay, here I go:

Let me start by saying I am a crafty person, but this is my first piece of furniture I have dealt with.

I started a dresser makeover. The dresser was one I had, a 12 year old Rooms2Go purchase but barely used so it is in great shape. I am pretty sure it is a laminate/formica/particle/mdf type board...not sure which, but its not "real" wood. It was pretty shiny and white all over so I knew the first step would be to disassemble and sand baby sand.

Low quality before pics:

Side of Dresser after sanding (sanded the hell out of it - wanted a 'clean slate')

So here are my questions:

1. I bought Kilz oil based primer - I am pretty sure oil based primer is the way to go on fake wood, yes/no? Although I think I am going to take it back and get a can of primer instead of spray.

2. Not sure what color paint to use yet, but do I paint the sides of the drawers, or just leave them be as white? I have heard latex paints can take forever to cure and thus cause a sticking issue. However, is it tacky to have the drawer sides white if the outside will be a diff color? Its just going in the baby nursery so....

3. The BIG question: WHAT KIND OF PAINT? I have read everything from lacquer to shellac to latex to oil to water based...ahhh :wallbash: If I sand really good (which I did) and prime it correctly...can I use ANY paint? I do plan to have things on the top surface (books, baskets) so I do not want a sticking or peeling issue.

4. I know to sand between primer coats but do I sand between paint coats?

5. What sealer? Should I go with a polyurethane or just a wax? I want a semi-gloss/satin finish...not matte, not shiny.

I think that is all of my questions. Any help would be so greatly appreciated. I am done sanding and just kinda stalled out on what type of products I need to proceed and finish. You guys I feel are my last hope....something tells me I am going to kick myself for not coming here first :wink:

Thank you!


Brushjockey 08-26-2011 09:49 PM

Well, you overkilled the sanding part. All that was needed was a solid scuff to break the gloss.
Second problem - getting products and advice from HD.
You can probably do a fair job with their mats, but there are so much better. And there probably is someone at some HD that actually knows what their talking about. I just haven't met him yet.
Sounds like you want to do a nice job.
Go to Ben moore and ask them for oil enamel underbody.
That's the primer you want.
Thin it just a tad and apply. it won't cover great, that's not what it does, but it will give you a good foundation and it will sand up nice with a light (220) paper/sponge.
As a DIY, you don't want lacquer or shellac. to hard to handle.
Your choices are a quality oil or waterborne enamel.
Both have +/-.
Painted before? Used either of these before?
Also you talked about a sealer- after the paint? If you use a good enamel- not needed.
Prime- sand smooth-2 coats of enamel- done.
If you don't have a problem using oil- BM Oil Satin Impervo is a great product. Actually easier to handle than a waterborne because it doesn't dry as fast.
Again- just a little spirits to help it brush and lay out.
Use the right brush- ask at the real paint store.
Good luck!

user1007 08-26-2011 10:03 PM

How many minimum wage/expert HD paint department people did you encounter? And how many convinced you you had a laminated piece?

Trust me, you do not have a laminated piece of furniture.

What you probably have is some sort of particle material furniture that can last you for years. Since it looks in great shape.

I had some including a bed with underlighting, that along with a giant orange cat, drew chicks to me until I got SO old and he died.

When an interior designer (aka as current girlfriend) demanded a color change? I had my fave body shop pick the piece up, fix any holes with bondo, and deliver it back all shiny in color of choice for like $40.

I guess you could try the minimum wage experts at Lowe's and Menard's first. And spend how much on spray paint from them being ever so crafty? I worked for two companies named Michael's in my life. The latter one will sell you little cans of spray paint.

The way to buy it is only one can the first time along with the magazine. Then look at the coupons. Walk back in and get 400 percent off your next purchase. Same day if you want. Buy 500 cans.

- Steven

KCK 08-26-2011 10:23 PM

Smart replies!
:thumbup: First, thank you - thank you - thank you!

I knew I over did it on sanding. I only sanded the top piece of the dresser, per some instructions I found online, I knew I didnt need to sand it too much. Hubby took the orbital to it and went a lil' crazy. Thankfully I dont have any splintering or weirdness going on and it is all still "smooth" so I am hoping this wont play a part in the long run. :whistling2:

I felt completely lost and frustrated after the many Home Depot AND Lowes visits....I think that is why I only grabbed 2 cans of Kilz and got the hell outta there. I will take them back and do your suggestion of the oil enamel underbody. I know I have a Sherwin Williams near by and will speak with them tomorrow...Im excited now! (Now that I know what Im looking for).

I have painted quite a bit in other home projects and have used both water and oil based enamels...just not on furniture. I am pretty sure I can handle it. I was planning on a small roller on the top piece and a brush every where else.

Only one lingering questions: Paint the sides of the drawers? It is worth the hassle?

I have to thank you again for the reply. One guy literally told me to "quit filling up the landfills with MDF and buy some REAL wood for a diy project"...that about broke my spirits. :mad:



Brushjockey 08-26-2011 10:33 PM

Drawer sides are usually not painted, either is inside. The whole front until it wraps around and meets the box is usually done.
For cabs (or if this will be used for "danties..)
sometimes the interior is clear sealed so it stays clean and doesn't catch on things- totally optional.
SW has comparable paint to what I am suggesting. I think the enamel is Pro Classic satin oil.

KCK 08-26-2011 10:42 PM

Fantastic! Im heading up in the morning and might actually be able to take a damn brush to this dresser by Sunday...its been sanded since 2 weekends ago.

I will post my results. I know there just isn't a lot of info on the web for these kinds of projects (surprisingly) so it will be nice to have the finished results up.

Woohoo, the fun part of my project can finally begin....I knew I'd be kickin myself for not posting sooner.

Thanks again Brushjockey! :notworthy:

KCK 11-25-2011 07:30 PM

More trouble....
Okay, please spare me the "this has been a 3 month project"

I need help, again. Everything was going great until the paint job. Everything sanded beautifully, priming was a breeze...and I used all of the recommended things on the board. Until the paint.

I went to SW and explained what I was doing and they really urged me to get an Acrylic (Latex) enamel *Extra white/Gloss*. I dont know if this is where I went wrong or not...

Hubby and I have a Husky HVLP spray gun (1.4 nozzle) that we decided to use for a better finish than using a brush as the brush (really nice one from SW) was giving us pretty bad brush strokes..even the smooth finish roller was causing a kind of bumpy we really thought the spray gun would be the way to go.

Well, look at the pic below. This is probably coat number 4 or 5 (we are sanding between coats - initially thinking that was the cause of the issue) and growing more frustrated. You can see two different paint patterns. The long stripes is what we have been dealing with the most...happens every single time. We have changed the setting on the gun, cleaned it, thinned the paint, not thinned the paint, change how we spray it, and it still gives us this look. The caddy corner look was our last approach out of sheer desperation. You can still see that even this has a striping effect too.

This pic was taken as soon as the paint was put on so I could more easily show you the striping. Its not AS severe when it dries, but is far from a smooth flawless glossy finish we are looking for.

Went to SW AGAIN today with pic in hand...they told me I need a 1.8 nozzle not the 1.4 Im using. My spray gun doesnt come with adjustable tips so that would be ANOTHER $50 to spend on a different type of HVLP which is now making my DIY project very expensive. I have seen other DIYers using this spray gun with better results.

Considering this is our first spray gun project...are we doing something wrong? I really have given hubby a hard time telling him he is not using a correct setting as it did seem like Coat 3 gave us a glossier finish....

Different paint maybe? I really argued with SW over using the latex as I wanted an oil based paint...and if so, can I just sand over what I have so far and repaint with something else or would I have to strip and reprime?

Please help, I am getting to the point of wanting to scrap this whole stupid thing. :help:

jschaben 11-25-2011 07:59 PM

Hi KCK - You didn't say which line of enamel you got
"I went to SW and explained what I was doing and they really urged me to get an Acrylic (Latex) enamel *Extra white/Gloss*. I dont know if this is where I went wrong or not"

I gonna assume it is ProCoat and I have been having the same issues with repainting my kitchen cabinets. The "good" (read expensive) Purdy brushes seem only marginally better than the Linsers' from WalMart. The "quality" mohair or whatever rollers leave a similar finish to the Wally World foam ones. I haven't tried spraying the stuff yet as it's an interior job. Just the way it handles brushing I suspect it will take considerable thinning with a conditioning agent such as Floetrol. From your picture, I would say you aren't getting good atomization which means it isn't thinned enough, but, I'm just a DIYer so I'll be interested in following this thread to see what the pro's recommend. :whistling2:

user1007 11-25-2011 08:17 PM


Originally Posted by jschaben (Post 778943)
The "good" (read expensive) Purdy brushes seem only marginally better than the Linsers' from WalMart. The "quality" mohair or whatever rollers leave a similar finish to the Wally World foam ones. :whistling2:

Wow! Kind of scary! Not sure what to say.:eek:

jschaben 11-25-2011 08:58 PM


Originally Posted by sdsester (Post 778951)
Wow! Kind of scary! Not sure what to say.:eek:

Hi Steve, I will say the Syntox does a better job than the rollers, either type of roller. But, the thing is more like a mop than a paint brush so, with a heavy bodied paint like ProCoat, the surface being painted almost needs to be horizontal, paint surface up. Doing the bottoms of the upper cabinets I'm going with the Pro-Extra. I got two models of those, glide and swan, whatever the:furious: that means. Didn't notice that till I got 'em home so didn't ask the SW guy what the difference is, if any. Syntox also isn't much for cutting in. Actually, after using it I didn't even try, needed a Clear cut for that:(
At any rate, I got more $$ tied up in brushes than I have in my HVLP, well, close, but I can't use the HVLP.
I do like the ProCoat paint though. Cabinets are pine and MDF primed with Cover Stain.
Overall, the job is acceptable, just not quite as good as I was expecting.

KCK 11-25-2011 09:53 PM

Hey guys -

Just to clarify I have the SW brand All surface enamel paint. I specifically said "the best paint you have" for painting a dresser when I purchased it...and the brush...which I know I paid over $10-$12 for is SW brand "Contractor Series" Black China Bristle...the HVLP I have is a semi-cheapie (but should get the job done) brand is Husky from Home Depot.

I do not know if that helps any but again, the big issue here - for me - is the paint I am using and the issue with the stripes.

I thought the issue was the viscosity or atomization as well...but the guy at SW today specifically said I did not need to thin this paint at all as it messes with the "hardness" and curing capability of the paint. We did have thinned paint on the first couple of applications and there wasn't really a difference...both with the stripes or the 4 hour dry time. The guy today swore I had too small of a nozzle (1.4 instead of a 1.8) and this is the issue. I ran to Home Depot and every single HVLP there has a 1.4 tip with NO other tips to purchase so I am starting to think the guy at SW was just...well, wrong! :huh:

I had read that the conditioner for latex paint is a good recommendation but that it does not help with either viscosity or atomization...correct me if I'm wrong...Ive thought about getting some but really do not think that will help with what I am experiencing.

Im starting to feel like a intermediate as opposed to a rookie now a days. I swear I will be a damn expert when this is all said & done :tongue_smilie: I just thought this was supposed to be a fun DIY weekend project heh heh.

ltd 11-25-2011 10:46 PM

imho i think sherwin williams did not recommend the right paint .for a ultimate finished i would have used pro classic acrylic or pro classic waterborne alkyd .this paint has a slight learning curve ,purdy 2 1/2 flat nylon polyester brush. brush the paint on make sure its covered and don't go back over it once it starts to dry to avoid brush marks

KCK 11-25-2011 11:05 PM

Ecchh that was one of my concerns...would a sand and a repaint be okay or would I need to sand and prime before the repaint?

How would that paint spray do you think? I feel like we are 90% there with the method/paint we are using....I am just not sure what the issue is at this point.

I did really go at it with the SW guy with the paint due to BrushJockey's previous suggestion...he was adamant that I use the SW All surface Acrylic enamel while I really thought oil based was the way to go.


iminaquagmire 11-25-2011 11:27 PM

No need to sand or prime again. Just scuff the surface. The All Surface Enamel is good but has a steep learning curve and is very finicky. Especially if you were trying to spray it without a large tip. I would personally use the ProClassic acrylic/alkyd paint. It will level very nice, even with a brush. Plus it cleans up like an acrylic. The only caveat is that they don't have a deep base and you cant get darker colors.

chrisn 11-26-2011 03:59 AM

a smooth flawless glossy finish we are looking for

never going to happen:no:, spraying furniture( or anything else) takes YEARS of practice to do properly

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