How to Apply New Melamine Paint Over Melamine Paint on Kitchen Cupboards

Painting existing cabinetry can be a more appealing option for updating a kichen because of its affordability.
Painting existing cabinetry can be a more appealing option for updating a kichen because of its affordability. (Image: kitchen image by Rich Johnson from <a href=''></a>)

Many homeowners look for ways to update and improve their homes. The kitchen is usually one of the first places the begin. Outdated kitchen cupboards can be an eyesore within the home, but purchasing replacement cupboards can be a costly endeavor. Painting existing cabinetry is an affordable alternative. However, many homes have cupboards made of melamine, which is a composite material likened to plastic. Painting melamine cupboards can be a hit-or-miss process if you aren't familiar with proper materials and techniques.

Things You'll Need

  • TSP cleaner (trisodium phosphate)
  • 220-grit sandpaper
  • All-purpose cleaner or detergent
  • Rags
  • Rubber gloves
  • Drop cloths
  • Melamine paint
  • Melamine primer
  • Paint brush (high-end) or pneumatic sprayer and compressor

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Cover kitchen counter tops and floors with drop cloths. Remove the cupboard doors and place them on the covered counter tops. Thoroughly clean the cupboard doors and cupboards with the all-purpose cleaner and a rag. Allow to dry.

Lightly sand the cupboards and doors with the 220-grit sandpaper. This will rough up the surface to help the primer and paint bond to it. Brush off any debris with dry rags. Thoroughly clean cupboards and doors with trisodium phophate (TSP). Follow manufacturer's specifications for diluting TSP. Wear protective gloves when using strong cleaning chemicals and make sure there is adequate ventilation. Scrub the cupboards and doors to remove any existing grease or stains. Allow to dry.

Lightly sand the doors and cupboards again. Brush off debris with a dry rag. Apply melamine primer to the doors and cupboards. Pneumatic spray application will give you the best finished product--void of drips and brushstrokes, but there will be considerable over-spray to prepare for. If applying primer with a brush, use of a top-of-the-line brush will reduce the number of brushstrokes. Brush on the paint in the direction of the wood grain. Avoid over-saturating the brush with excess paint and watch for drips. Allow to dry for 24 hours.

Apply the melamine paint using the same technique as the primer. Allow to dry for 24 hours before use.

Tips & Warnings

  • Make sure you have adequate ventilation.
  • Follow all safety precautions listed with cleaning chemicals, primer, and paint.


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