4 Tips for Painting Particle Board

particle board with paint splotches on it

Particle board is far from pretty, but it does serve many purposes. Also called chipboard, it’s favored for its affordability and sustainable nature, as it’s made from discarded materials like saw dust that are repurposed and compressed into the new wood product. For better or worse, there is a stigma that surrounds particle board since its recycled nature causes some people to perceive it as a lesser, cheaper material. If you happen to own any furniture or structures made from this chipboard, a nice coat of paint could be just the thing to spruce it up and make a real statement. Check out these tips as you set out to paint your board.

1. Understand What Makes Particle Board Unique

Since particleboard or medium-density fiberboard (MDF) is not really genuine wood, but rather an amalgamation of compressed leftover particles glued together with a kind of resin, it’s much lighter than actual wood. Unfortunately, it's also weak and prone to moisture, which can cause the board to expand and become malformed. Thankfully, most commercially available particle boards are commonly covered with a kind of laminate that protect from water or moisture.

2. Prepare Particle Board for Painting

While the aforementioned outer layer of laminate is useful in repelling moisture, it will also prevent paint from adhering to the particle board. Before you decide to paint your particleboard furniture; you must remove the outer laminate first. You can do this by rubbing the surface vigorously with 120-grit sandpaper. This method works best because it will remove the laminate but won’t destroy any of the the underlying chipboard.

3. Always Use Primer

Applying a coat of primer is important in most paint projects, and working with particle board is no different. Using a primer helps prepare the surface of the particle board to adhere to the paint. Before applying the primer, make sure that the surface is clean and the inevitable dust from the sanding stage has been carefully removed. If there’s any dust, the primer won't stick properly and you will have to reapply it. Primers are commonly sold in both a traditional bucket form as well as a convenient spray form. Allow the primer to dry completely before painting for the most successful results.

4. Paint the Particle Boards

As a final bit of preparation, sand the primed surface of the chipboard with a 200-220-grit sandpaper to remove imperfections left behind by the primer.

Then it's time to go wild and creative by painting the particle board. There is no specific kind of paint that you need to use. Particle board’s diverse composition means you should feel free to choose between oil-based or water-based paint. The only thing that has to dictate this decision is your personal artistic tastes.

Enjoy your newly painted particle board in the room of your choice, and watch as it dramatically transforms from a plain, utilitarian item, into a dramatic piece of furniture for all to admire.