Painting mdf

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Forum topic by buck_cpa posted 06-03-2014 01:11 AM 1067 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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150 posts in 1914 days

06-03-2014 01:11 AM

Topic tags/keywords: mdf

Has anyone ever painted mdf sheets prior to cutting and assembling? I am charged with doing builtins in our closet. From experience, painting after assembly is a pain. But I wasn’t sure about sliding painted sheets across my tablesaw and other tools.

8 replies so far

View JAAune's profile


1802 posts in 2343 days

#1 posted 06-03-2014 04:15 AM

Cut everything to fit and get it ready for assemble then do the painting. You don’t want to be moving them around more than necessary once the finish is applied.

If you want pre-painted materials and are willing to work with mdf, ever consider melamine or pre-finished plywood as an option?

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View TheFridge's profile


9608 posts in 1512 days

#2 posted 06-03-2014 04:30 AM

I do it with mdf moulding. Don’t see why it wouldn’t work.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

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1802 posts in 2343 days

#3 posted 06-03-2014 04:31 AM

Fridge does bring up a good point. Are these pieces only visible on one side or two? It’s the backside that gets scratched up when feeding sheets through a table saw. The top face stays nice and clean.

-- See my work at and

View Matt in Franklin's profile

Matt in Franklin

294 posts in 1639 days

#4 posted 06-03-2014 11:54 AM

The method I used on some MDF panels for the sides of a cabinet was to cut the panels to final dimensions, then prime and paint them, and then assemble.

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1294 posts in 2099 days

#5 posted 06-03-2014 11:57 AM

+1 Matt at the least prime before assembly.

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View MrRon's profile


4795 posts in 3270 days

#6 posted 06-03-2014 09:42 PM

I assume you are painting by brush. The problem with painting prior to cutting/assembling, is you have to wait for the paint to dry before doing anything further. Maybe priming is ok, but there will still be some drying time required.

View ChuckC's profile


828 posts in 2961 days

#7 posted 06-03-2014 09:49 PM

A track saw or track jig for a standard circular saw is an option too.

If spraying is an option I would cut, assemble, and then spray.

View buck_cpa's profile


150 posts in 1914 days

#8 posted 06-05-2014 04:29 PM

Thanks for the replies. I decided to cut, dry fit, paint, then assemble. Been painting for 12 hours now – 17 sheets of mdf takes a while. I’ll post pics when i finish our closet.

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