If your interested in priming Mdf, and what mdf primer to buy, along with painting or priming Mdf materials, then scroll down to those titles below.

Otherwise by reading this entire page I hope you learn a little more information about Mdf primer, Mdf priming and Mdf painting.

There are a few schools of thought in relation to Mdf painting so below are descriptions of the recommended spraying equipment, tools and products to use.

You'll also find advice regarding the best way to coat your Mdf projects.


Mdf is the most popular kind of fiber board but there are others for you to choose from.

Hdf (high density) board is also made but the higher the density the better the finish and with that better finish comes more cost.

For most of the projects one would do "mdf" will work just fine. ldf (low density) fiber board is commonly used as a floor underlay.


One of the advantages regardless of painting or priming Mdf is its density and with density comes no grain. When you add these two features together the woods surface ends up being smooth and unblemished when coated properly.

Other strong points for using Mdf would be its lower cost, ease of use when cutting and stiff sturdy properties if used in building cabinets or shelves.

There are disadvantages when painting or priming Mdf or using any type of fiber board. Number one is most but not all Mdf is made with a substance called urea formaldehyde.

Proper ventilation, face masks and goggles should be worn (due to the dust) when sanding, shaping or cutting Mdf. A mask should especially be worn when using an electric type machine to do any of the above mentioned jobs.

Gasing off of the formaldehyde is also a concern. It's always good to check with your Mdf supplier as to how the product can be used. Some Mdf projects (depending on the boards formulation) may not be advisable (e.g, a childs bed).

Also, when painting or priming Mdf be sure to cover the entire wood surface with at least three (or more) coats of non-toxic paint (discussed below).

Smaller irritations with Mdf may include dulling of tool blades (because of the glue), its excessive weight and tendency to split, chip, or bend along with raising of the surface when nailing or screwing.

Even with Mdf being one of the best types of wood products to paint problems can arise when coating its surface. Moisture in the wood is one such issue causing painted areas to crack, bubble or lift.

Having a dust free clean board is also important. Keep in mind to that edges of Mdf tend to absorb coatings more readily than the flat or top and bottom of the wood.

Applying two coats of primer onto an entire Mdf piece (with emphases on the edges) will, in most cases, solve the problem.

Another thing to consider, if you're looking for an ultra smooth finish, is to sand the surface, (120 grit paper) prime then sand again. If the feel of your wood is not to your liking sand and re-prime until your satisfied with the final look and feel. With that said, in some situations you can't make a silk purse out of a pigs ear.

Almost any type of coating can be used for your Mdf project. Products that seal the wood such as primer followed by paint for instance as opposed to stain or a danish oil work the best.

Wood stains will do the job though. Be sure to cover your stain with clear coats like polyurethane or a Varathane top coat to finish your project.

Most recommendations when coating Mdf are for two applications of oil or alkyd primer and then oil finish coatings.

A sprayed coat of colored lacquer will give the most professional finish but I find for most of the projects I do waterborne or a very high grade (low or no VOC) latex is my preferred option. It has easy cleanup, durability and shows a beautiful finish when completed.

First thing to consider when painting Mdf, is to have a clean, sanded, dry and dust free piece of wood. If you're looking for the ultimate finish spray on colored lacquer, otherwise apply two coats of kilz or binz (don't forget the edges) then use the best (low voc) alkyd (oil) base paint you can find.

Sand the wood and re-prime if needed. Feel the surface before you decide to add the final coating. If your wood is rough, prime it again, re-sand, feel, then apply the last paint coat.

When I paint Mdf a good latex wood primer works fine, then I sand the surface. Sometimes I re-prime then sand again. In most cases, though I spray on two coats of high quality waterborne paint after the first coat of primer (sanding between coats).

If I'm doing closet shelves for instance, three coats (extra for the edges) of a good quality waterborne or a top of the line latex product works fine for me.

Using a paint sprayer, such as an HVLP painting system, will give you, by far, the best finish. I have also sprayed doors and shelving with an Airless (the contractors work horse), having excellent results. Airless sprayers are great for Mdf just be sure to use the correct spray tip size. I like a smaller sized tip such as the 209 or 211, it is slower and will plug often (if you don't strain your paint) but results in little or no sags and runs. A 311 or 313 tip works fine too if you need to go faster (be attentive of causing runs though).

Here's the pages to learn how to spray with an airless along with some (perhaps) much needed HVLP how to assistance.

There will be people who don't want to use a paint sprayer and their project is to big for spray cans (bombs). When this is the case brushing (if needed) and a very low napped (less fluffy) type roller, will give you a more than adequate Mdf paint job.

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