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Old 06-22-2008, 10:13 PM   #1
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Painting melamine particle board

I have a Melamine particle board bookshelf that I want to paint, but I'm afraid to ruin it. I'm not sure what to use ( or weather to apply some type of coat first or not)? I don't even know if you CAN paint it?!
Any info on this would help.

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Old 06-22-2008, 11:46 PM   #2
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Painting melamine particle board

There are few things you can't paint.

If it wuz me, I'd see how well an alkyd primer stuck to that melamine first. Buy a quart of INTERIOR alkyd primer and have it shaken up. Use a Q-tip to paint a small area of your melamine in an inconspicuous spot. Doesn't matter if it's not a smooth coat. Allow to dry. Now, cut through that paint with a razor in a cross hatch pattern like a checker board, stick some normal yellow masking tape over that area, pull it off quickly, and see how much of the paint came off the melamine. The more that comes off, the poorer the adhesion of the alkyd primer to the melamine.

If you get good adhesion, I'd prime with an interior alkyd primer and top coat with a polyurethane paint (like a floor paint) or a polyurethane fortified paint (like Benjamin Moore "Melamine" in the 303-90 tint base, which is a high gloss tintable white), or, as a third choice, a high gloss interior alkyd which would be the softest drying of the three paints.

If you don't get good adhesion, my second choice would be Zinsser's BIN Primer which is a shellac based primer. Shellac will stick to almost anything, and it forms a harder film than a latex primer. If that still doesn't stick well, then the final option would be MasterChem's Bullseye 123 latex primer which will stick well to smooth surfaces.

HOWEVER, it is never a good idea to put a hard coating (like a floor paint) over a soft coating (like a latex primer or paint) because the top coat will be highly subject to "chipping" cuz the underylying layer is weak and prone to breaking. So, if you have more energy than money, I'd sand the melamine down lightly, prime with interior alkyd primer and then use a polyurethane floor paint (which only come in about 6 colours) or a polyurethane fortified paint tinted to the colour you want.

If you don't wanna do that sanding, then prime with whatever sticks, and then top coat as described in the previous paragraph.

Also, to avoid brush strokes when using a brush, dip out some paint into a can using a disposable Dixie Cup and thin the paint in the can with a good 10 percent mineral spirits. This will greatly extend the drying time of the paint so that brush strokes level out better. However, DON'T keep brushing areas after applying the paint. Put the paint on, spread it, and then leave it alone for the laws of physics to level the film flat. If you try to do it, then the solvents are going to be evaporating rapidly from the paint as you brush, and it'll soon be too viscous to self level. Just put it on, spread it out, and leave it along.

Also, when using oil based paints, wet your brush with mineral spirits before using it. Similarily, wet with water when brushing with latex paints. That will prevent any paint that works it's way up into the "heel" of the brush from drying out while you're painting. Otherwise, the paint will dry up inside there, and not only will the brush bristles turn hard near the ferrule, but the outer bristles will start to flare out all over the place, making for a ruined paint brush.

Better yet, use a small roller to do your painting, and touch up the corners with a small paint brush.

Last edited by Nestor_Kelebay; 06-22-2008 at 11:49 PM.
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Old 06-24-2008, 05:43 AM   #3
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Painting melamine particle board

I would go with a Waterbourne enamel such as SW ProClassic or BM Impervo over a floor paint. They were made for just a use like this, and they work quite well, giving a oil-like hardness and blocking resistance without all the oil-base hassle and yellowing.

As a random side note, I thought 1-2-3 was also a Zinsser product... MasterChem's only primers that I can see are the Kilz line.

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Old 06-24-2008, 08:34 PM   #4
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Painting melamine particle board

Sir Wired:

You're right. I knew the PermaWhite bathroom paint I used was made by Zinsser's, and I remember using something from MasterChem, so I though it must be the Bullseye 123.

I haven't used KILZ in years now.

It's true that drying oils, alkyds and polyurethanes will yellow with age if they're not exposed to direct or indirect sunlight, so that's one thing you need to take into consideration.
However, most people are unaware that the yellow discolouring of oil and alkyd paints is reversible. You can remove the yellow discolouration by exposing the paint to direct or indirect sunlight.
This is a particularily bad problem with museum curators who typically have a lot more pieces to display than floor space to display them. As a result, paintings often remain in dark storage rooms for years until they're put out and put on display. The problem is that they look terrible when they're badly yellowed, so museum curators will expose those paintings to indirect sunlight to remove the yellow discolouration from them before putting them on display. Have a look at this study:


In Figure 1 of that study, the top two lines on that chart are for drying oils, whereas the bottom line is for an alkyd. The alkyd yellows less than the drying oils, but all of them can be brought back to their original whiteness by exposure to indirect sunlight.

So, if this book case is going to be in a well lit room, even if it's not in direct sunlight, then the oil based coating on it shouldn't yellow. Or, rather, any yellowing will be removed by the indirect sunlight in the room.

Last edited by Nestor_Kelebay; 06-24-2008 at 08:53 PM.
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Old 06-24-2008, 10:02 PM   #5
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Painting melamine particle board

Thanks for the info.!!

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