How to paint melamine kitchen doors

If you have ugly melamine kitchen doors, you may want to paint the surface for a new, vibrant look. Melamine is slick and nonporous, and it doesn't accept paint easily. For most smooth surfaces, sanding helps promote adhesion. With melamine doors, the sandpaper technique won't work, because melamine coatings are thin and sanding the surface exposes the door's core particle board material. Fortunately, there is another way to get paint to stick to slick surfaces. With a special primer and the right paintbrush, even a novice painter can paint a melamine kitchen door.

Unscrew the door hinges and move the door to a well-ventilated workspace.

Place the door on top of a protective plastic sheet in case of paint spills.

Mix 68 g (1/4 cup) of trisodium phosphate with 4.5 litres (1 gallon) of water in a large bucket. Once diluted, the TSP mixture won't be strong enough to irritate your skin.

Dip a rag into the TSP solution and wash the melamine kitchen door. TSP cuts through fingerprint oils and other residue common on doors.

Dry the kitchen door with a towel.

Apply bonding primer to the melamine door's surface, using a foam roller. If the door features any intricate details inaccessible with a roller, use a foam brush for these tight spaces. Bonding primer is a thick, high-adhesion primer. Foam rollers or paintbrushes provide the best coverage on slick surfaces.

Paint the door with oil-base or latex paint once the primer has dried. The bonding primer will have made the surface porous enough that a regular medium-nap roller or synthetic brush will work just fine.

Reattach the door hinges after the paint has dried.


Wear rubber gloves when mixing trisodium phosphate.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Plastic sheet
  • 68 g (1/4 cup) trisodium phosphate
  • Water
  • Bucket
  • Towel
  • Bonding primer
  • Foam roller
  • Foam paintbrush
  • Latex or oil-base paint
  • Synthetic paintbrush
  • Medium-nap roller
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About the Author

Richard Kalinowski began writing professionally in 2006. He also works as a website programmer and graphic designer for several clients. Kalinowski holds a Master of Fine Arts from Goddard College and a Bachelor of Science in education from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.