How to Paint Particleboard

Lead Image
  • .5-3
  • Beginner
  • 20-60
What You'll Need
120-grit sandpaper
220-grit sandpaper
Tack cloth
Paint tray
Paintbrush or roller
Latex paint
Polyurethane clear coat

Particleboard is a cheap material used to make everything from walls to furniture. This “green” option is made from scraps of wood, like pine, cedar, and oak, which are pressed together with sawdust. While particleboard is easy on the wallet, it’s not so easy to paint. However, painting particleboard is possible if you follow the proper steps.

Step 1 - Sand

Usually, particleboard has a veneer or laminate substance adhered to its surface. While this coating has numerous advantages, like protecting it from moisture, paint and primer won’t adhere to this surface. Whether your particleboard has this coating or not, you should sand the board before trying to paint it.

If your particleboard has a coating, use 120-grit sandpaper over the entire surface. If your particleboard doesn’t have a coating, lightly sand it with 220-grit sandpaper. Then, use a tack cloth to remove the dust.

Step 2 - Prime

laminate covered particleboard

Warning: When using primer or paint, follow all directions as provided by the manufacturer. Wear the appropriate safety gear to avoid skin contact with the paint, and wear a mask to avoid inhaling any paint fumes.

Paint will adhere better to particleboard that has been primed. You can use either a spray or regular primer on the board. Apply primer, and then wait for it to dry completely. Once it’s dry, sand the particleboard again lightly with 220-grit sandpaper. Clean up any dust with a tack cloth.

Step 3 - Paint

Once you’ve applied primer and sanded the pressed-wood board, you can begin painting. Paint the particleboard thoroughly and evenly with a paintbrush. Let the first coat dry, and then lightly sand it and clean it with a tack cloth before applying another layer.

Adding a Polyurethane Coat

Next, add a layer of polyurethane clear coat. This coat will protect your particleboard and its new paint job from the elements, as well as from scratches, stains, and surface damage.

If you like the idea of particleboard but feel uncomfortable about the formaldehyde resin used during the process to make the board, try a sustainable alternative, like PrimeBoard.