How to Paint MDF Flooring

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Medium-density fiberboard (MDF) is made of wood byproducts, including sawdust, wood fibers and wood shavings. Wax and resins are added to the wood pieces, creating a glue. The particles are then heat-compressed to form a strong compact board. MDF is less expensive than natural wood boards, and it is used for a variety of wood projects. MDF is heavy, strong and resistant to splits or cracks. Its surface is smooth but has absorbent properties when it is unfinished or not painted.

Things You'll Need

  • Clean cloth or tack cloth
  • Paintbrush
  • Metal primer
  • Water-based MDF primer
  • Paint roller
  • 3 paint roller covers
  • Extension pole
  • Sandpaper, 150 grit and 150 to 180 grit
  • Respirator mask
  • Floor paint
  • Polyurethane

Clean the MDF flooring by wiping its surface with a clean cloth or tack cloth to remove dust, oil and/or residue. If a layer of dust remains on the flooring, it will repel primer and may cause an uneven finish.

Paint nails and/or screws with a metal primer.

Apply a water-based MDF primer evenly to the flooring, using a paint roller with an extension pole. The primer will soak into the flooring. Allow the primer to dry for at least one hour.

Sand the flooring with 150- to 180-grit sandpaper while wearing a respirator mask. Wipe the sanded surface clean.

Add another coat of water-based MDF primer. The edges of MDF are porous and require more than one coat of primer. Allow the primer to dry overnight.

Sand the flooring with 150-grit sandpaper, and wipe it clean.

Apply one even coat of floor paint to the floor. Allow it to dry overnight. Add another coat of floor paint if necessary, sanding before that layer and each subsequent layer. Let each coat of paint dry overnight.

Apply one coat of polyurethane over the floor paint. Let the polyurethane dry overnight before walking on it. Wait for three days before placing furniture on the painted area.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use a respirator mask when sanding MDF because it contains hazardous chemicals that can cause respiratory problems.

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