How to Refinish Particle Board & Laminate Furniture

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Particle board covered with laminate is a commonly used material for furniture. Particle board consists of small bits of wood fused together into large sheets. The particle board is coated with laminate to look like painted or stained wood. Painting laminate can get particularly tricky because the surface is slick. Slick surfaces tend to chip easily when painted. Still, with proper surface preparation, you can get great results from painting laminate.

Clean the furniture with ammonia-based cleaner and a rag. Grease and grime left on the surface will interfere with the primer's ability to bond.

Sand the surface of the furniture. Create texture on the surface of the laminate with fine-grit sandpaper. Sanding will rough up the furniture and allow the primer to sink into the grooves, creating a more durable finish. Wipe away all sanding dust with a damp rag.

Prime the surface, using a bonding primer. The can of primer should indicate that it can be used on slick surfaces. Apply the primer to the furniture with a good-quality paintbrush. Allow the primer coat to dry completely.

Apply paint with a paintbrush. Multiple thin coats of paint will be more durable than one thick coat. Allow each coat to dry before applying the next.

Apply polyurethane over the paint. Polyurethane topcoat will protect the finish from chips and scratches. Topcoat comes in matte, satin or gloss. Any of the finish types will protect the furniture. Choose the level of shine you like best for your project. Allow the paint to cure for at least seven days.

Touch up scratches or chips with paint and a small brush.


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Lisa East Hunter is a consultant and freelance writer in Phoenix. Her background in marketing and technology led her to explore all avenues of writing. She is currently dividing her time between freelance writing and her consulting business. Hunter has a Bachelor of Science in management information systems and marketing.

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