Painting MDF

  • Advertise with us

« back to Finishing forum

Forum topic by COMO posted 01-06-2013 04:11 PM 2706 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View COMO's profile


25 posts in 2513 days

01-06-2013 04:11 PM

I am getting ready to start a build for our office. It will involve a murphy bed, built in desk, and built in storage. My wife would like it to be white with wood tops. I figured since It will be getting painted MDF would be the best way to go. Does this sound ok? Also what would be the most durable way to paint the MDF. I was thinking of looking at the rustoleum cabinet kits.

15 replies so far

View a1Jim's profile


117328 posts in 3774 days

#1 posted 01-06-2013 04:15 PM

If you have the equipment spraying is the best way to go.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Matt Przybylski's profile

Matt Przybylski

566 posts in 2575 days

#2 posted 01-06-2013 04:21 PM

I’ve had good results with priming the MDF using Zinsser BIN and then used General Finishes Enduro Var Poly that was tinted white as the top coat. It came out great (look at my projects, well, the only one :)

As Jim said, I sprayed it through my Earlex 5500 (both the primer and the poly).

-- Matt, Arizona,

View bondogaposis's profile


5086 posts in 2548 days

#3 posted 01-06-2013 04:31 PM

I’ve used General Finishes milk paint w/ good results on MDF.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View 489tad's profile


3469 posts in 3208 days

#4 posted 01-06-2013 04:39 PM

another tip. If any cut edges, bull nose, “end grain” will be exposed seal it first with a light coat of drywall compound. Just use your finger to rub it in then sand it smooth. It makes a nice finish.

-- Dan, Naperville IL, I.G.N.

View fuigb's profile


521 posts in 3154 days

#5 posted 01-06-2013 04:58 PM

Murphy bed for the office. Good grief, don’t let HR know that you’re doing this!

-- - Crud. Go tell your mother that I need a Band-aid.

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 4090 days

#6 posted 01-06-2013 05:43 PM

making a murphy bed from MDF ?……… poor choice as it doesn’t stand up to the stress/force of the hardware.

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View johnstoneb's profile


3052 posts in 2369 days

#7 posted 01-06-2013 05:56 PM

I just finished a murphy bed a few months ago. I would not use MDF. As moron says I don’t think it would stand up to the stress of the hardware.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View COMO's profile


25 posts in 2513 days

#8 posted 01-06-2013 07:29 PM

Thanks for the responses. I was not specific enough. I was only going to use the MDF for the surround built in, shelves, parts of the desk, and cabinet. Maybe I should just use plywood for it all?

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3845 days

#9 posted 01-06-2013 07:40 PM

Plywood is stiffer in spans like shelves, holds most fasteners
better (I use confirmats in MDF and they are an exception),
stays less flat than MDF, and is lighter.

You can get some of MDF’s stability benefits in a plywood
by using the plywood that has 2 or 3 layers of 1/8”
MDF in it. I’ve used it and found it offered a good
blend/compromise of both materials.

Using MDF will save you some money and eliminate
some of the hassles of dealing with (especially cheaper
grades of) plywood.

View NiteWalker's profile


2738 posts in 2773 days

#10 posted 01-06-2013 10:42 PM

I would personally use plywood.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View Logan Windram's profile

Logan Windram

347 posts in 2659 days

#11 posted 01-07-2013 01:55 AM

I just finished SMS cabinets for my shop. I used MDF as the panel inside all of my doors…. I primed it, sanded it flat with high grit paper, did a few coats of good white paint with flotrol and thinned at 75/25, then brushed on some poly thinned to 75/25…..

It cam out very flat and smooth…. I lightly sanded between poly coats, but only to get out dust and freakin cat hairs hat no matter how I tried could not keep then all out!

Itf you can’t spray I would try that…. Be sure to prime well and seal MDF end grain….

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 4090 days

#12 posted 01-07-2013 03:34 AM

try throwing the cat outside

confirmats and associated hardware, as Lorne said, if properly installed into MDF, will last longer then you will

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View NiteWalker's profile


2738 posts in 2773 days

#13 posted 01-07-2013 07:21 AM

If you do decide to use MDF, I’ve found that with zinsser BIN primer, sealing the edges isn’t necessary. Just prime, lightly sand with 320, another coat of primer, lightly sand and you’re good.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View Matt Przybylski's profile

Matt Przybylski

566 posts in 2575 days

#14 posted 01-09-2013 03:18 AM

+1 to what NiteWalker said. I didn’t seal edges and did two coats exactly as he stated and it came out perfect.

-- Matt, Arizona,

View shawn_s's profile


7 posts in 2234 days

#15 posted 01-09-2013 03:40 AM

Like others have said, I have also had great success without sealing the edges. The key is a good primer. (zinsser, Stix, etc..) As far as the paint goes, I’m a big fan of the Benjamin Moore Advance. It flattens beautifly and once fully cured, it is very hard/durable. The trick to it is not to apply heavy coats. If you put it on too heavy you can end up with some nasty sags.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics