Paints & Coatings Resource Center

Ask the Expert Question-and-Answer Archive

by Ron Joseph

August, 2003

Painting Over Melamine Desk Top

Q. I need to refinish a metal desk with a melmanine top. What type of paint/coating will provide a durable work surface? I believe I can use a liquid prep and spray for the metal but am really stumped about what to use on that melmanine top. Sand it? Liquid prep? Epoxy paint?

A. You need to be careful about applying a coating over the melamine top as you might not get good adhesion. If I were to coat my desk top, I would scuff sand it, solvent wipe with MEK/Acetone (50%/50%) and then apply one or more coats of a clear polyurethane, such as those that you can purchase from a hardware store.

Again, my concern is adhesion. If it is possible for you to find an edge of the desk that is not visible, then perhaps try this procedure and test it before you coat the entire top. If the system fails, then you can expect the paint to come peeling off in sheets, which is not exactly what you want!

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