Read this before painting laminate furniture

Posted On: May 17, 2017 - By admin
TV laminate furniture

In our house we laugh about our dwindling pre-marital assets, the furniture and other crap that we owned before my husband and I moved in together almost 10 years ago. We still have some pieces floating around, including what was once a black laminate media center that my husband owned.
I looked hard, but couldnt find a picture of the intact media center, so my description will have to do. It is vintage 2000, before flat screen TVs were common or affordable to grad students. It was made to be a corner unit, had a glass door in the middle and a hutch above the TV with a shelf for your cable box. Here is what it looked like before a little makeover.

TV laminate furniture

We got rid of the hutch when we bought our first flat screen TV (Super Bowl Sunday, 2008). To hide the dowel holes left from where the hutch attached, we simple put the original top of the hutch on the old TV platform making the double top you see in the picture. Until I started this project, they hadnt even been glued together. I am responsible for the missing glass door on the front of the unit. My foot went through it sometime between 2007 and 2009, we cant remember exactly when. The glass shattered into a gazillion little pieces all over our living room. I wasnt hurt.

After we moved into our current house, this TV unit eventually got relegated to the play room. Before we took it upstairs, I wanted to freshen it up a little bit I was so sick of black. I started searching for tutorials on painting laminate furniture. The how-to I found varied widely. I naively chose a tutorial (which I am not going to link to), where the author did not sand the laminate and simple used several coats of spray primer followed by spray paint. Sounded easy enough to me and I really didnt want to sand the thing.
The primer seemed to stick, and the paint went on beautifully. I painted the bottom white and my son chose blue for the top. I added a high gloss finish sealer that I let it cure for 24 hours before moving it (in retrospect, I should have let it sit a little longer). Then I brought it upstairs and began reassembling the shelves and doors. This is what happened.

The shelves simply scraped the paint off the inside of the cabinets. I cried. But, at least all the scrapes would be hidden. However, over time, other chips have appeared. Not a huge deal, but not the beautiful piece of furniture I envisioned.

The tutorial I followed reported great results, and she probably was being honest. What went wrong with my painted laminate furniture? I think what it comes down to is that all laminate is not created equal. The quality, plastic composition, sheen, thickness, age and condition of the laminate probably contributes to how paint sticks. And you may not be able to tell how paint will stick to your laminate furniture. So, if you choose to paint laminate furniture, here is my advice. 1) Lower your expectations. Chances are the furniture you are starting with is cheaply made, you are probably not going to come out with something that looks new and expensive. 2) Dont cut corners. Sand, prime, paint, seal, and let it cure as long as you can before reassembling the pieces.

Despite the imperfect results, I am so happy I painted my hubbys pre-marital asset. The fresh paint job helps it look great in our playroom, and it can get abused without anyone getting upset

TV laminate furniture

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TV laminate furniture

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