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Painting Particle Board

I have a very small place with little storage.  I found some old cabinets that someone was throwing away.  I want to repurpose these for towel storage etc.  They have a thin veneer on them.  I am wanting to paint them, and I know that particle board is very porous.


How can I paint them and make them look nice.


Thank you


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Posted 2012-03-02T03:55:35+0000  by marlene1961 marlene1961

Hey there Marlene,


Thanks for your question and welcome to the community!


As long as the cabinets are in good shape (i.e. free from peeling and clean) you are ready to prime and paint them.


The good news is that when it comes to painting glossy surfaces, you can use a high-quality primer to successfully bond to the cabinet. Doing so elminates any prep work like sanding or scuffing the surface of the veneer/particle board. Also, putting a primer down first gives a moisture resistant barrier from your top coat of paint to the cabinet, giving the paint great performance.


Shown below, shellac-based primer is one of the best primers to use for whatever topcoat of paint you'd like to put on top of it...


Zinsser B-I-N Shellac-Based Primer


I would recommend to prime the cabinet in an outdoor area or a space that has adequate ventilation. Let it set for an hour and it is ready to have a top coat of paint. I realize I showed you a gallon above, but a quart of primer can cover about 100 square feet, which is adequate for a small cabinet. To make sure you'll have enough paint and primer for this project, make sure to estimate how much paint it will take to cover your cabinets. As with most primers of this type, it won't be a water clean-up, so be sure to dispose of your paint tools safely and to use mineral spirits for any clean-up.


After putting the primer down and letting it set, the project is all downhill from there!


For cabinets, most people tend to go with a high gloss or semi-gloss finish. To give yourself a professional finish, use foam rollers and/or high-quality brushes to give as little brush/roller marks as possible. While the primer you use is shellac, you can use a water-based latex paint on top with no problems.


All of these products can be found at your nearest Home Depot, so stop on in, we'll have everything you need to paint your cabinets!


Have a great day,




Posted 2012-03-03T18:48:47+0000  by Joseph_HD_ATL


Just a point of clarification: the solvent for BIN is denatured alcohol. It can be cleaned up wtih either alcohol or ammonia. Primers such as the Original Kilz  are oil based and mineral spirits is use to thin them or clean them up.


If a project is on going, the BIN brush may be filled with BIN and tightly wrapped in plastic or aluminun foil. A BIN brush will keep for several days in a cool place. Further, shellac, unlike oil based paints, will re-dissolve its alcohol solvent. It will even re-soften if place into fresh shellac. Lacquer will likewise also resoften in the presence of lacquer thinner.


Unfortunately, now-a-days it is often not cost effective to clean out brushes. Solvents are not inexpensive and then how does one dispose of dirty solvents easily? Pros are set up to handle such clean up, but the homeowner is often better to just throw the brush away.

Posted 2012-03-04T03:21:37+0000  by ordjen

First time user.  I had another question about paricle board.   I have a mobile home and the floors under the carpet are particle board.  I wanted to paint them.  Have read different advice on line that you can use a latex primer and others that say to use oil base.  I am not looking forward to smelling paint fumes so I was hoping to find something that had low VOC's.    Can you offer any advice




Posted 2013-03-24T15:49:03+0000  by beegardener

Hello Chris,


Thanks for joining us on the community!


It would be better for your particle board subfloor to have an oil-based primer go down first. This is due to the properties of the oil-based primer to effectively block and seal moisture better than a water-based primer.


Since the fumes are a concern to you, I would recommend you to use Kilz 1-Gal. Oil-Based White Odorless Primer.


KILZ 1-Gal. Oil-Based White Odorless Primer

I've used this primer before I will tell you, it isn't completely odorless; but it has way less of an odor than any other oil-based primer that we sell.


You can easily paint the particle boards with this primer, but keep the room well ventilated to get fresh air in the room. Always do this whenever you work with any primer.


I hope this has assisted you and let us know if you have any further questions regarding fixing your mobile home!



Posted 2013-03-27T16:27:42+0000  by Joseph_HD_ATL


I would concur that an oil based primer is better over particle board or OSB under flooring. Not only does it stop odors better than a latex product, it also does not raise the grain of the wood product, as does water based products. The poster indicates that he wants to paint the floor. The oil primer would result in a better looking floor if the paint is to be left exposed. An oil primer, being a better sealer than water based, will allow the floor to also have a higher sheen and be more water resistive.


Oil and shellac primers are perfectly compatible with latex/acrylic paints once dry.

Posted 2013-03-27T18:14:54+0000  by ordjen
I also have a question regarding this.  I am doing the same in a double wide.  Does the floor need to be sanded first or can I just go ahead and prime?  Also once I get the primer and paint on the floor what can I use on top to seal and maybe make a little of a shine?  My room is a 12x12 will one gallon be enough?  Thank you
Posted 2018-06-27T15:58:50+0000  by Bushong
Hello Bushong.  Welcome to the Community!

OSB and particle board are used as a subfloor rather than intended to be the finished floor surface.

That said, if you have a particle board subfloor then a thorough vacuuming to get all dirt and dust up is essential.  Once done I would use an oil based primer for the same reasons already stated here.  After that use a porch and floor paint.  Regular wall paint is not durable enough for floors.  No coating on top of the floor paint is desirable.  The nature of particle board is such that I would expect it to wear fairly quickly.  Your best bet for longer life would be to install a vinyl floor over the subfloor.

If your subfloor is OSB, then you have another problem.  OSB has a fairly rough surface and sanding it will just not work well.  For OSB I would strongly recommend either carpeting or vinyl to go over it.


Posted 2018-06-29T13:33:17+0000  by Chris_HD_CHI
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