How-To Videos

How to Repair and Paint Plastic Coated Melamine Cabinets

By: Danny Lipford
White painted bathroom vanity with bare wood.

Bathroom vanity with peeling melamine coating.

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.

Using instant glue to reattach peeling melamine coating on cabinet.

Using instant glue to reattach peeling melamine coating on cabinet.

If larger areas of the plastic coating are loose, you will need to paint the cabinet.

To paint a peeling plastic coated cabinet:

  1. Remove any loose or peeling plastic coating.
  2. Sand the surface to dull the gloss and smooth the transition between the bare wood and plastic coating.
  3. Vacuum off any sanding dust, then wipe the cabinet down with a damp cloth.
  4. Apply one or more coats of a bonding primer to the cabinet (spray primer works best).
  5. 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.
Woman spray painting bathroom vanity.

Spray painting over a melamine coated bathroom vanity.

Watch this video to find out more.

Further Information

Print   Video Transcript

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.


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5 Comments on “How to Repair and Paint Plastic Coated Melamine Cabinets”

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  • Nancy Says:
    February 18th, 2018 at 6:03 am

    I have an area on one of my cupboards with a large bubble where the plastic or vinyl has come away from the wood. How do I fix that problem?

  • Jason Says:
    February 14th, 2018 at 3:04 pm

    What about colors not white, where to match the colors?

  • e. guy Says:
    January 1st, 2017 at 7:56 pm

    How to repair “spots” of popcorn that are peeling from ceiling? I tried the canned type from big box stores unsuccessfully.

    April 11th, 2016 at 6:07 am

    My kitchen cabinets are white over the years the plastic is starting to come off what should I do to repair and make them new again

  • Pludie Says:
    November 6th, 2015 at 4:36 pm

    I have melamine cabinets in my whole house and they are white. Over the years the paint has scratched off and I wanted to know if there is a way to touch up the cabinets rather than do the whole cabinets as was in the video above.

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How to Repair and Paint Plastic Coated Melamine Cabinets