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Painting Melamine Shelves??

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lostmylight55 posted 1/8/2014 16:25 PM

I'm building some shelving units and am using the white melamine coated panels. I am painting them and have used a primer base along with a waterborne alkyd enamel called monamel (a trade name). This is a soy base paint. We were told that enamel melamine paints were being phased out.

The paint store said it would work well over melamine finishes as long as the primer coat is laid down first.

I am finding the surface easily scratches and am considering a clear top coat to help protect the shelves from scratches.

Anyone have experience/suggestions with painting melamine surfaces or using clear top coats to protect the paint finish?


Clarrissa posted 1/8/2014 16:57 PM

Got some advice from my H. He's a woodworker and they use melamine a lot.

You need to scuff the surface (either 100 or 120 grit sandpaper will work) so the primer will adhere. From your post it sounds like the primer isn't sticking.

If you're using an enamel paint just make sure it's compatible.

Hope this helps.

lostmylight55 posted 1/8/2014 17:11 PM

Thanks Clarrisa,
That does help but it doesn't make my life easier.

The primer said it has high adherence to glossy surfaces and didn't talk about scuffing, the people at the paint store (which is a professional paint store) also didn't talk about scuffing surfaces even when we said it was for shelving over top of a Melamine surface.

Oh, well. Guess I'll dig out my sander.

Clarrissa posted 1/8/2014 18:26 PM

I'm thinking that the paint store may have assumed a bit much. Most places you have to ask in detail (what's the best way to get the result you want, what you should avoid, etc) Otherwise they assume you know this stuff.

Personally, I'd take the advice of someone who works extensively with the material you have, KWIM?

One last tip: make sure the edges are sanded smooth. Melamine cuts are worse than paper cuts. My H has gotten cut up pretty good working with it.

lostmylight55 posted 1/8/2014 21:20 PM

Thanks again.

I will definitely watch for the Melamine cuts.

dazdandconfuzed posted 1/9/2014 07:02 AM

Oddly enough, I was just researching this myself yesterday. The article I read said to let the primer "cure" for 7 days before painting over it, or it would scratch easily. That is just an article I read, however, and not first hand experience as I haven't started my project yet, so your mileage may vary.

whatdoto posted 1/9/2014 07:26 AM

I am wanting to paint my countertops and found a lot of good info on youtube.

Do a search for painting melamine cabinets and such and view numerous videos to get an idea of how and what to do.

Good info.

TrulyReconciled posted 1/9/2014 09:50 AM

While this application would typically be "not recommended" (painting melamine) there is a special spray primer made for plastic surfaces. Maybe that would help?

lostmylight55 posted 1/9/2014 13:15 PM

Thanks to everyone who offered their suggestions.

I ran a couple tests on sample pieces and found that sanding the Melamine base surface is the way to go.

Unfortunately, that means stripping off all my painted surfaces and starting over, but at least the end product is something that will be much more durable and I would feel better knowing it was done right.

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