How to Repair and Paint Plastic Coated Melamine Cabinets
By: Danny Lipford
Some bathroom and kitchen cabinets are covered with a plastic melamine coating, which can separate from the substrate over time.
If the plastic melamine coating has only come loose in a few areas, you can reattach it using an instant adhesive, such as Super Glue or Krazy Glue.
If larger areas of the plastic coating are loose, you will need to paint the cabinet.
To paint a peeling plastic coated cabinet:
- Remove any loose or peeling plastic coating.
- Sand the surface to dull the gloss and smooth the transition between the bare wood and plastic coating.
- Vacuum off any sanding dust, then wipe the cabinet down with a damp cloth.
- Apply one or more coats of a bonding primer to the cabinet (spray primer works best).
- Apply two topcoats of paint over the primed surface (spray paint gives a smoother surface).
When spraying painting be sure to:
- Mask adjacent surfaces with painter’s tape.
- Use drop cloths to cover anything you don’t want painted.
- Wear a respirator rated for spraying paint.
- Provide plenty of ventilation.
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Danny Lipford: Some cabinets have a plastic melamine surface coating, rather than being painted or stained. When this vinyl coating begins to peel, you can either remove all of the coating and repaint, or simply repair the damaged areas. Repair is far less time consuming.
If the coating is loose but intact, it can sometimes be successfully reglued using an instant adhesive, such as Super Glue, that is compatible with vinyl. The peeled areas need to be sanded to remove the loose material and minimize the transition from bare wood to the vinyl.
The next step is coating the entire surface with a bonding primer. This will cover the bare wood and prepare the Melamine to accept a top coat of paint. Depending on the thickness of the melamine it may take more than one coat of primer to smooth out the surface.
Since melamine has a smooth finish, using a spray for the primer and paint is a good option. Just be sure to mask off adjacent surfaces, provide plenty of ventilation, and wear a respirator.