I ran into a little problem awhile back. We were using some borrowed dressers that the owners needed back, so I started searching for some replacements. I wanted something French country and curvy, and when I stumbled upon two dressers on KSL (Utah’s Craigslist) for $150, I was super excited. We went out and bought them, hauled them home, and then I realized that CRAP–these are not solid wood (as claimed to be by the original owners) they were all veneer! No wonder they were so shiny! I like to think that I can tell the difference, but it was dark when we got them.
I had this uncomfortable feeling in my stomach, feeling like I’d blown $150 on some crummy dressers, but after a little research, I decided to go for painting the veneer. I’ve painted veneer before–yes, with chalk paint, and it didn’t work very well. It just scratched right off. So I decided to follow procedure to the T. So follow along, and I will tell you how to paint laminate and veneer.
First, (after removing all the hardware) I lightly sanded down the surface. I have a hard time not sanding at all, after one too many bad experiences. What’s a few minutes sanding? Then I wiped them down and used a Deglosser. After that, I used an oil-based primer (Kilz brand) and rolled on 2 coats.
Now here is the crucial part which I have never taken stock in before…letting the primer dry for a full 7 days before putting on the real paint. It is tempting to skip this, but I did not want these dressers to turn out badly. I needed to redeem myself for the dumb purchasing error I’d made. So I waited. Paint takes longer to cure than you realize. I think I ended up waiting more like 10 days because of bad weather.
I lightly sanded the primer and wiped it again. Then I used my new paint sprayer to spray all those drawers and dressers. My sprayer is great–I will save that for another post.
I sprayed 3 coats and let it dry for a few more days. I then lightly distressed and sanded it again. Then I sprayed a polyethylene coat to seal it. I also decided to spray the hardware gold since the fake gold on it was flaking off pretty badly. I will probably replace it in awhile, but there are a lot of handles and that will add up $, so I’m going to wait on that.
Now for the real question: How has it held up? I didn’t really want to push my luck by taking a rake to it but so far it hasn’t chipped once. It has helped up beautifully and the fresh coat of paint looks amazing on it. Believe me when I say, this is a fool-proof way to get what you want. If you are painting laminate, don’t skip steps because it is worth your extra effort. If you take shortcuts you will end up regretting it, I promise.
How to Paint Laminate and/or Veneer:
- Sand & Degloss surface
- Oil-based Primer
- Let primer cure for 7 days (no less!)
- Paint over primer, several coats
- Seal with poly or wax