How to Sand Melamine

Written by kaye morris
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Melamine is a chemically engineered resin used in the manufacture of many products, such as dishes, laminate and flame-resistant textiles. In your home, you may find cabinets, bookshelves and other carpentry items that are constructed of plywood, pressboard or multi-density fiberboard with a melamine coating. Melamine is heat- and water-resistant, making it a good choice for wet areas of the home. Because it is a solid resin, it usually appears in a solid color on home items. It is possible to paint melamine-coated furniture and cabinetry, but in order to get good paint adhesion, you must properly sand the melamine.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Tarp or plastic
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Quart spray bottle
  • Sponge
  • Towel
  • Rag
  • Denatured alcohol
  • Orbital sander (optional)
  • 100-grit sandpaper
  • Microfiber cloth

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Remove all hardware from the melamine object. If possible, place the melamine object flat on a surface covered with a tarp or plastic, so it will be easier to work with.

  2. 2

    Pour1/4 cup of dishwashing liquid into a quart spray bottle and fill the rest of the bottle with warm water. Shake the bottle to mix the contents.

  3. 3

    Spray the cleaning solution onto the melamine and wash the melamine with a sponge to remove dirt, grease and oils from the surface.

  4. 4

    Rinse the cleaning solution away with cool water and a sponge, and then dry the melamine with an old towel.

  5. 5

    Dampen the end of a rag with denatured alcohol and wipe down the melamine to ensure that the surface is completely clean.

  6. 6

    Sand the melamine by hand or with an orbital sander, using 100-grit sandpaper. Do not allow the orbital sander to sit in one place, or you may damage the melamine. Maintain constant motion when sanding, as your goal is only to rough up the surface of the melamine enough for primer to adhere to it. Wipe away the sanding dust with a microfiber cloth.

Tips and warnings

  • Apply high-quality primer to the melamine object before painting it in the color of your choice.
  • Wear safety glasses and a mask while sanding the melamine.

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