Asked on Oct 07, 2017

What is the best way to Prep & Painting over Melamine Cabinets?

Lana DiJosie
by Lana DiJosie
I'm looking to redo my 25 year old kitchen. I don't know where to begin so I'm trying to find out the best way to prep the cabinets. Also, what is the best paint to use on Melamine Kitchen Cabinets?
  9 answers
  • Dysko7710 Dysko7710 on Oct 07, 2017

    It usually isn't recommended to paint these type of cabinets (these are what I have in my kitchen as well......), but here is one link I have found where a painter successfully does it:

  • 27524803 27524803 on Oct 07, 2017

    You will definitely need to sand beforehand to give the slick surface some "tooth" to help grab the paint.. and a good primer... Check with your local Sherwin Williams or Benjamin More, etc. type paint stores and talk with one of their experts to get the right type of paint to give you a lasting, washable painted surface on your cabinets (you really won't want to re-do this again in a year or so)

  • Ale30917365 Ale30917365 on Oct 08, 2017

    We had the same problem in a townhouse we own. The cabinets look exactly like yours, even the knobs. What I did was pop off the melamine with a screwdriver, which was pretty easy. Just be careful you don't gouge the "wood." Not all of the cabinets needed to painted at once, so I took a piece of the melamine to Lowes and they matched up the melamine color using a cabinet paint. After one coat the "nap" was raised, so I sanded down any rough areas (like the beveled areas), and then applied two more coats. You will not need to paint the inside of the cabinets if they will clean up nicely, since no melamine was on that side. They actually look great! One thing I would do next time is place painters tape around the hinges, because you don't need to completely remove them, but it will be easier to make sure no paint gets on them When you paint the top side. It sounds like a lot of work, but just do it in stages and it won't be overwhelming. I think you will be pleased. We were. Good luck with whatever you decide to do!

  • Joan Joan on Oct 08, 2017

    You can pull off the melamine easily. Annie Sloan's chalk paint will make anything look good.

  • Kauai Breeze Kauai Breeze on Oct 08, 2017

    Removing the melamine is best if it comes off easily. If it doesn't, lightly scuff up the surface with fine sand paper, then apply a shellac based primer before you paint. The primer can be tinted to your final color to help eliminate extra coats too. Then you can use a good quality washable paint in the sheen you desire. Preparation is essential. Clean all surfaces with soap and water, fill any gouges or chips with wood putty, then sand smooth. It is much easier to paint cabinets if you remove the drawers and doors first so there is not so much climbing and stretching!

  • Dmm20846340 Dmm20846340 on Oct 08, 2017

    OOPS, second try! Your cabinets look like the kind I have and I have recently found out that what is covering the "wood" is called Thermofoil. There are many places online that show you how to remove it with a heat gun or hair dryer and then the stuff underneath that looks like particle board or pressed-something, can be painted. One day I might be brave enough to try it!

  • Linda Durow Linda Durow on Oct 09, 2017

    I have done it in two of my kitchens. I wash the cabinets down and sand well. Naturally all uneven surfaces must be attended to. We get a product called melamine primer over here but on the second kitchen I could not find it and just used an all purpose primer. Then I did two or three coats of Velvaglo in my color of choice. Velvaglo is an oil-based non-drip enamel which comes in an eggshell finish. Beautiful. When I sold my old house, the new owners changed every room,, including new cielings to update the place, but left my "old"kitchen as it was! Like 8 years later!!

  • Ale30917365 Ale30917365 on Oct 09, 2017

    You ar welcome. I noticed some folks just painted over the melamine, but to us, that was the issue. So we removed it. We also removed the doors and drawers when we worked on them.