How to Paint Tempered Hardboard

Written by ryan lawrence
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Tempered hardboard is a form of fiberboard. This engineered wood surface is often compared to particle board; however, it is much stronger and heavier than cheap particle board surfaces and tends to resist cracking and chipping much better. Paint won't permanently bond to bare tempered hardboard. To create a strong finish, you must apply a coat of bonding primer. If the hardboard is stained, it won't accept water-based primers. Be sure to choose the correct base, depending on the condition of the hardboard, or the finish will peel.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Tack cloths
  • Professional painter's tape
  • Canvas dust sheet
  • Shellac primer
  • 2-to-4-inch natural-bristled paintbrush
  • Denatured alcohol
  • 2-to-4-inch polyester paintbrush
  • Gloss latex paint or acrylic enamel
  • Latex or acrylic primer (optional)

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  1. 1

    Wipe down the tempered hardboard with tack cloths.

  2. 2

    Cover areas next to the hardboard, using tape. Use a low-tack painter's tape that will peel away without leaving adhesive residue.

  3. 3

    Slide a dust sheet beneath the tempered hardboard. To prevent pooling and bleed-through, use a heavy-duty canvas dust sheet.

  4. 4

    Coat the tempered hardboard with shellac primer, using a paintbrush with natural bristles. Shellac tends to run down vertical surfaces; be sure to smooth any drips before they have a chance to dry. Let the tempered hardboard dry for two hours.

  5. 5

    Thoroughly rinse the paintbrush, using alcohol.

  6. 6

    Coat the tempered hardboard with gloss latex paint or acrylic enamel, using a paintbrush equipped with polyester bristles. Smooth any flaws before they have a chance to dry. Let the tempered hardboard dry for two hours.

Tips and warnings

  • If the tempered hardboard is not stained, you may use an acrylic or latex primer; however, these coatings won't bond to stained hardboard.

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