Melamine cabinets are becoming increasingly popular in the kitchen. But what is melamine – is it a type of wood? Melamine is a laminate made by heat-sealing a substrate such as plywood, pressed wood, or medium-density fiberboard.

The construction process results in a durable, almost unbreakable, and quality material, ideal for kitchen cabinets. However, the chemical is thought to be unsafe for use in certain products. But when used to make kitchen cabinets, the melamine is chemically bonded with formaldehyde – this creates a much safer product that can be used in kitchens.

But if you already have melamine cabinets, then you likely already know this. Perhaps you’re wondering how to paint melamine cabinets – maybe they need an update, or maybe you’re looking at buying some second-hand cabinets that need a little refresh.

Can you paint melamine cabinets?

Yes, you can paint melamine cabinets. Melamine typically lasts a long time, but the paint, especially on the edges, may begin to fade. Over time, the beauty of the cabinets will begin to fade away. But worry not; a quick lick of paint can solve the issue, further extending the lifespan of your kitchen cabinets.

You can also change up the style, look, and feel of your cabinets and kitchen with a new color – it’s an affordable option for a quick update.

What kind of paint do you use on melamine cabinets?

Lots of paints work well on melamine, such as acrylic, chalk, and latex paints. But choosing the right paint for the job ensures a quality, flawless finish.

We’d recommend a satin or semi-gloss paint for the best results. However, your options are endless. So do your research and find the best option for you!

How do you get paint to stick to melamine?

If your paint doesn’t stick to the melamine, you may need to apply a primer. Some paints can be applied without a primer, but for the best results, we’d always recommend a primer undercoat for the best and cleanest-looking results.

What to do before painting?

Before you go ahead and dip your paintbrush into a soft beige or creamy white paint, there are a few things you should do before painting…

Remove kitchen cabinet hardware

Before attempting to paint your kitchen cabinets, remove all of the hardware. This means removing hinges, doors, and other hardware that is in your way. If you don’t want to remove them, then cover them carefully with painter’s tape. However, we’d suggest removing them entirely if possible.

Also, avoid using regular tape to cover hinges as this will likely damage the cabinets, or damage the paint (if accidentally applied to the wrong area of the cabinet). 

Sand the melamine 

For the best results, you’re going to want to sand the melamine counters first. Sanding the counters produces a rougher surface and also provides a much cleaner look – you can chip away minor damage while you’re there.

Paint works best on harder surfaces, allowing it to stick better.

Apply a second coat of paint

After removing the hardware, sanding the cabinets, and applying a primer, it’s time to paint the cabinets.

You want to apply a base layer of paint first – a second coat of paint will be needed for the best results. 

To summarise 

Knowing how to paint melamine cabinets is crucial – it not only helps extend the lifespan of your kitchen cabinets, but it also allows you to provide a new lease of life into a perhaps once boring space that requires a much-needed update.


Do you need to sand melamine before painting?

Yes, you should sand your melamine kitchen cabinets before painting. Sanding the surface helps the paint adhere better. It’s also an opportunity to sand away any minor chips, scratches, and other damages. 

What is the best paint to paint over melamine?

Acrylic, chalk, latex, or glossy paints work well when painting over melamine. 

What are the disadvantages of melamine? 

Melamine cabinets are very affordable and long-lasting. But are there any downsides? Melamine is susceptible to chipping and water damage, and these cabinets can sometimes be difficult to install. 

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