Painting Melamine Cabinets

If you are reading this article now, then you must have been thinking about painting your melamine cabinets. You also probably have reached the conclusion that painting a melamine cabinet is not as easy as painting traditional wood cabinets. This is because melamine is a hard surface material, and it can be difficult to get good adhesion with paint when you are working with this kind of material.


There are so many questions homeowners find themselves asking when they’re thinking of doing kitchen cabinet painting or cabinet refinishing. For the most part, a lot of the cabinets that you find at Ikea are MDF (medium density fiberboard) with a melamine finish. There are few tips and steps to consider along the way in terms of painting melamine cabinets. So, let’s dig right into painting melamine cabinets! 

What are Melamine Kitchen Cabinets?


Melamine cabinets are often one of the first choices for those who are just moving in somewhere. A huge plus is that they’re budget-friendly too. Melamine kitchen cabinets are made using a heat sealant over plywood or medium-density fiberboard and a thermally fused melamine resin. Simply put, melamine is a chemical compound often used for sealing. Not just for kitchen cabinets or wood, but also for laminates, countertops, dinnerware and more. Melamine cabinets are prone to wear and tear, similar to laminate cabinets. So, along with trying to keep them looking in good shape comes painting melamine cabinets!

Can you Paint Melamine?

Yes, you can paint melamine cabinets. But there are some things to keep in mind before you do so.

Again, Melamine is a hard surface and can be difficult to paint if you don’t know what you’re doing. It’s important that you use the right products for the job and follow all instructions carefully.

Painting Melamine Kitchen Cabinets

Interior Painting Kitchen Cabinet Painting White Modern Kitchen

How Do I Paint Melamine?

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Step #1: Prepping for Painting Melamine Cabinets

It’s important to remember that melamine cabinets are vastly different from oak cabinets. With that said, you can still move ahead with painting melamine cabinets.

• Firstly, you’re going to want to remove everything from your kitchen cupboards and that general area.

• Anything that can be moved out of the kitchen area is a great idea.

• Then you can put down drop cloths on the floor and plastic sheeting over your kitchen table and other furniture.

• You can detach your kitchen cabinets from their hinges. It may make them easier to paint.

• Either take off any hardware or cover it up with painter’s tape.

Step #2: Rough The Surfaces

• In order to properly go about painting melamine cabinets, you need to roughen up the surfaces adequately. Since melamine cabinets are made to withstand grease and dirt, it can be difficult for paint to properly adhere to them.

• So, go in with 150 or 180-grit sandpaper and sand the surfaces lightly.

• Be sure to check as you go and not sand too harshly though. You really just want to bring the glossy surface down to a matte level on your melamine cabinets.

Kitchen Cabinet Painting Working

Step #3: Cleaning Melamine Cabinets

• After lightly sanding down your melamine cabinets as prep for the paint, then comes time to clean them up.

• Go in with a tack cloth and properly clean the surface of your kitchen cabinets.

• It’s also a good idea to go in with some mineral spirits after sanding down the wood. It helps to dissolve some of that wax as well as dirt and grime.


Step #4: Priming Melamine Cabinets

• Priming your melamine cabinets prior to painting is an important step. It will ensure that painting melamine cabinets go perfectly to plan.

• Benjamin Moore’s INSL-X Primer is a great choice for priming melamine cabinets. This is the best primer for melamine cabinets and will provide you with an excellent base on which to paint. This primer will make sure that your paint sticks well and is durable. You can also use this product as a sealer if you’ve got some moisture issues in your kitchen cabinets.

• It works well on woodwork and for painting kitchen cabinets of all kinds.

• You can use a paintbrush to go around the edges of your kitchen cabinets and a roller for inner portions.

• Give your primer at least six hours to dry before moving ahead with painting melamine cabinets.


Interior Painting Kitchen White Before And After

Step #5: Apply Your Coats of Paint to the Kitchen Cabinets

• Then it comes time to apply your interior paint!

• We suggest Benjamin Moore’s Ultra Spec SCUFF-X Pearl for painting kitchen cabinets in general.

• One thing to remember about painting kitchen cabinets is to go in the same direction with your paint strokes. For instance, on a kitchen cabinet door, you’ll want to go vertically. That will give you the best overall look in the end.

• After you’ve done your first coat of interior paint, let that fully dry and cure for at least six hours.

• Then you can go in with your next coat of paint. Depending on the paint colour you’re going over, you might need to do three coats.

Step #6: Apply A Sealer

• The last step in painting melamine cabinets is optional.

• If you want a more high-gloss look for your kitchen cabinets after painting, you can go over them with a sealer.

• Try Zinsser Bulls Eye Water-Base Polyurethane sealer.

• You can use a paintbrush to apply an even layer. Give it a day to dry.

• After everything has been cured and dried, you can reattach your kitchen cabinets.


There you have it! This process is pretty precise, so if you’re planning on painting your cabinets, I’d suggest following this tutorial step by step. This way, you won’t have to pay for expensive fixes and touch-ups (which can become quite expensive if not done properly).

As soon as you start painting melamine cabinets, be sure to take pictures of your progress—your friends will want to see the finished project!

Don’t forget to visit our Pinterest page for all sorts of exterior painting and interior painting inspiration! 

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Are you ready to try out painting melamine cabinets? Or maybe you’re looking to have some professional painters take care of all that for you! Don’t hesitate to call us for questions regarding our interior painting services by our highly qualified interior house painters. Call 416.494.9095 or email for a FREE quote for your home painting needs or visit our website. And don’t forget to follow us on all our social channels below as well!