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Your home should be your happy place.
Somewhere you can go to relax and get away from the world. A place to call your own. I feel like many people put off home renovations because the time and money involved. I’m here to show you sprucing up your home doesn’t have to cost thousands of dollars or take up all of your time. I'll show you how I am working to create my dream home in my spare time with my spare change. 

Check Out My Latest Posts

Wardrobe Overhaul
Bathroom Reveal
Ashley's Room
Ty's Room

The Best Way To Prime MDF

Let’s start by talking about what MDF really is. MDF stands for Medium Density Fiberboard, and it commonly used to build cheaper furniture and cabinets. MDF is made from wood fiber that are mixed with adhesive, heated and pressed. I like working with it because of its lack of grain allows for easier cuts (although dusty) and leaves a smooth painted finish. However, MDF is extremely susceptible to water damage and is not appropriate for use in all areas of the house.

While doing research on cabinet building for my custom wardrobe project (which you can find details of here), I spent a lot of time looking at which material to use for the cabinet boxes, plywood v. MDF. After much research and deliberation I decided to use MDF, mostly because I wanted a nice 100% smooth finish. Had this been a stand-alone cabinet or something that would eventually be moved, I would have gone with plywood.

The only issue with getting a smooth finish is the amount of time, paint and primer that it was going to take to get there. When I primed and painted the cabinet boxes I used Kilz “original” white primer like this one ( HERE ). If I’m remembering correctly I put on three coats of primer and two coats of paint and still did a few touch-ups after the last coat of paint. This was a long tedious process that I did not want to repeat when it came to finishing the doors. So the doors stayed un-finished for a few months. Partly because I didn’t want to go through the prime/paint process again and partly because I knew I would be finishing the walls next to the cabinet and didn’t want to ruin my finished cabinet with drywall mud.

This was OK but took lots of coats and lots of dry time. 

At first I felt like I was just being lazy (let's be honest, I was being lazy) but I’m so glad I waited. Just this last weekend I got around to priming the spare bedrooms after all the drywall work was finished (Yes, I said my drywall work is finished in the spare rooms YAY!!!) As I was finishing the last wall in my room, I had a ton of primer still left in my pan and thought “what the heck, I’ll just prime my cabinet doors with this while I have it here.” I was using the Kilz PVA Drywall Primer, which is specially formulated to soak into fresh drywall and eliminate paint from soaking into the porous surfaces.

The PVA Primer worked so well to soak into the porous surface of the MDF, especially on the cut edges. It even gave great color coverage so you can’t see the brown MDF through the white paint. I have not experienced any swelling in the MDF due to moisture. The primer dries quickly so I was able to prime and paint all in the same day, then I went back the next day and touched up a few places where I missed with paint.

This stuff worked like Magic. 

No patchy color, no flashing and no 5 coats of primer/paint. This is the best way I have found to prime MDF and it’s cheaper. It was only $10 a gallon versus $15-$25 a gallon for regular primer. You can’t beat that! I wil be using this everytime I work with MDF in the Future. 

I am so excited to share the finished project with you! I’m currently working on the finishing touches so stay tuned!

Have you found any hacks like this that made finishing a project easier? I’d love to hear what you’ve found!



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