Melamine: Is It Paintable or Not?

I have a melamine-surfaced wardrobe (from IKEA) which I would like to paint with a good quality interior latex paint to match other items in the room. I recently wallpapered a few rooms and used Zinsser Shieldz primer. It seems to bond tenaciously to anything. It is recommended as a primer on smooth surfaces without requiring sanding for paint as well. Would this be a good choice, or should I sandpaper the surface with 400-grit paper first? And are there better solutions? The melamine is white, and the finish coat is a light pastel yellow.” – Peter Curley

Tim Inman: I’m no good answering questions about restoring IKEA melamine works. Actually, how could you go wrong with painting an IKEA piece? It is one reason I always keep a good woodburning stove in my shop. I can at least get heat from it.

Chris Marshall: It couldn’t hurt to scuff-sand your wardrobe before painting it to de-gloss the melamine and give the paint something to stick to. It can only help your odds for success. But I wouldn’t put a lot of effort into the whole process before trying the paint out on a scrap of sanded and unsanded melamine first. You can buy melamine shelving pretty inexpensively at home centers, and it’s sold by the single piece. Let the paint dry thoroughly, then test it to see if painted melamine will offer the wear resistance you expect. I’d probably try scratching it with a fingernail here and there and see what happens. Good luck!

Posted in: