How to Stain Melamine

living room with big window image by Pavel Losevsky from

Melamine is a heat-resistant substance used in the composition of bathroom and kitchen surfaces. This material is often included in items such as floor tile and Formica counters and cabinets. A melamine surface isn't readily receptive to stains, but patient use of the correct materials will allow a change in colour and texture. Planning is essential for this project, because the surface will need to be left undisturbed for a number of days. This home renovation project can be completed in about a week.

Wipe the melamine surface with Trisodium Phosphate (TSP), using a rag. Rinse well with clear water.

Rough up the surface with a hand-held sander, using 150-grit sandpaper. This will allow the primer paint a proper surface to adhere to. Run the sander evenly along the entire area to be stained. Wipe away the dust using a tack cloth.

Use a paint sprayer or small paintbrush to apply a stainable latex primer coat, available at most home improvement centres. Let the primer dry for two hours.

Use a natural-bristle brush to spread on a gel stain in your choice of colour. Strie, or drag, a wood-graining tool along the length of the surface. Move it slowly enough to produce a relatively straight line. This will create a natural wood grain effect.

Allow the solvent in the stain four or five days to dry before applying the topcoat. Keep all items away from the melamine surface as it dries.

Spray three coats of polyurethane topcoat. Each layer needs to dry for two or three hours before the next application. Check that the surface is completely dry before using it.

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