How to paint a melamine surface

Updated February 21, 2017

Because melamine surfaces are slick and smooth, they can be extremely difficult for amateurs to paint. Often, inexperienced do-it-yourselfers end up with chipping and peeling only weeks or months after application. Even if they are able to get the paint to stick, many amateurs end up with dried brush stroke marks in their final coat. If you need to paint a melamine surface, you need to learn the proper techniques that can help you avoid problems with adhesion and promote a quality, smooth-looking finish.

Wash the melamine surface with regular dish soap and water. Rinse the melamine surface thoroughly with a wet rag.

Dry the melamine surface thoroughly with a rag. Use blue painter's tape to cover any areas you don't want to get paint on.

Use 80 to 120 grit sandpaper to rough up the melamine surface as this helps to promote adhesion.

Fill the 5-gallon bucket about halfway with melamine primer. Attach the paint roller cover firmly to the roller frame.

Use the roller to coat the melamine surface with primer. Proceed to step 6 quickly before the primer dries.

Use the 3- to 4-inch oil-based paintbrush to smooth the still-wet primer. Work quickly before the primer dries.

Repeat steps 5 and 6 until the entire melamine surface is covered with primer. Allow two hours for the melamine surface to dry before continuing.

Clean the paint 5-gallon bucket, roller frame, and the paintbrush with white spirit. Massage the white spirit into the bristles of the paintbrush with your fingers. Wash each tool a minimum of three times and dispose of the used paint roller cover with your usual garbage.

Repeat steps 4, 5, 6, and 7 except use melamine paint instead of primer.


Do not use the same paint roller cover you used for priming to apply paint. Instead, use a clean, new paint roller cover to apply the paint to the melamine surface.


Never use water to wash a paintbrush used to apply melamine paint or primer as this will ruin it. Never attempt to paint a melamine surface without roughing up the surface with sandpaper first or you will have problems with adhesion.

Things You'll Need

  • Dish soap
  • Rags
  • 80 to 120 grit sandpaper
  • Blue painters tape
  • 5-gallon bucket
  • Paint roller frame
  • Two paint roller cover
  • 3- to 4-inch oil-based paintbrush
  • Melamine primer
  • Melamine paint
  • White spirit
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About the Author

Ryan Lawrence is a freelance writer based in Boulder, Colorado. He has been writing professionally since 1999. He has 10 years of experience as a professional painting contractor. Lawrence writes for High Class Blogs and Yodle. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism and public relations with a minor in history from the University of Oklahoma.