Refinishing MDF raised panel doors


  #1  
Old 11-24-09, 02:39 PM
T
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Georgia
Posts: 2
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Refinishing MDF raised panel doors

We had planned a full on reno of our kitchen, but aren't in a position to do it right now.

That being said, I need to do some work on our cabinets. They were all built locally in 1995 and structurally are in great shape. The doors however are double raised panel doors milled out of a single piece of MDF. They were spray primed and painted white to match the trim in the house.

Since we have a total redo planned for the future, I don't want to put a lot of $ in the doors. OTOH, I don't mind putting some effort into them. I have the gear to spray prime and paint them and I'd like to freshen them up.

Many of the lower doors have suffered nicks in the bottom 'rail' (I use that term loosely, since they are milled and it isn't a real rail) and moisture has entered the nicks and caused the MDF to swell.

I'm not a big MDF fan, so I don't work with it very often. I am thinking that I would just sand them down, seal them, sand them again and prime and paint. Since the damage is on the bottom of the bottom doors, it won't be super obvious, but I am concerned about matching the smooth finish of native MDF.

I am looking for advice before I start. Is this the correct way to rehab them? Is there a better way to go about this?

Thanks,

John
 
  #2  
Old 11-24-09, 03:48 PM
XSleeper's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 27,204
Received 1,948 Upvotes on 1,748 Posts
My advice would be to first sand any swollen areas flat. If there are nicks, fill them in with bondo (2 part body filler, available in most hardware stores) Try to smooth the bondo as best as you can since you don't want to sand a lot. Once its sets up, sand it flat. Your nicks will disappear.

You can probably prime with a brush, just the areas that need primer. After it dries, sand the primer down with 180 grit. Not a bad idea to sand the whole door a little to scuff up a slick surface. Then repaint. If you sand your primer to blend it in with the old painted surface, you shouldn't have much trouble with the new paint, provided you spray the whole thing.

Hang them from the ceiling with a wire, and a hinge screw so that you don't have to touch them when you spray. But if you are worried about runs, lay them flat... put shims under them to keep them up off the spray table. IMO, waterbourne acrylic paints work nicely. But I'm sure some professional painters will chime in shortly.
 
  #3  
Old 11-25-09, 04:15 AM
M
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: USA - N.E.Tn
Posts: 45,738
Received 861 Upvotes on 753 Posts
I'll second the use of waterborne enamel. It dries as hard and wears as good as oil base enamel but won't yellow like oil enamel does. Do you know what type of enamel is currently on your cabinets? If they currently have oil enamel, you need to stay with oil or prime the entire door if you wish to switch to waterbourne or latex enamel. Depending on how it looks after sanding, the raw areas might need a 2nd coat of primer.

You also want to label the doors so you know exactly where they go. I like to use a magic marker on the back side of the hinge [on the cabinet] with the corresponding number on the hinge part of the door.
 
  #4  
Old 11-30-09, 04:56 PM
T
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Georgia
Posts: 2
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by marksr
I Do you know what type of enamel is currently on your cabinets? If they currently have oil enamel, you need to stay with oil or prime the entire door if you wish to switch to waterbourne or latex enamel.
I am pretty sure that the paint is oil based. I rubbed the cabinets with a soft cloth and denatured alcohol and no paint came off.

I definitely do want to go with water based paints. I've had great luck spraying cabinet doors with the lay-flat-on-standoffs approach.

I've also had good luck with the bondo home putty, but I hadn't thought of tackling such small areas with it. It would give me a pretty good shot and restoring the 'sharper' edges of the doors.

Thanks for the tips.
 
 

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: