Top 3 Best Paints for Particleboard

When it comes to finishing wood, there are a lot of options available. You have a variety of finishes you can apply to solid wood. You can apply stain, polyurethane, varnish, shellac, oil, wax, and even paint it. However, for pressed or manufactured wood, like particle boards, you don’t often have a lot of options available. If it is a veneer top, then you can treat it like normal wood. However, the best finish for particle board is none other than paint. To give you a hand and save you time searching for the best paints, we did it for you. Here are the top 3 best paints for particle board to give it a new look.

The best paints for particle boards are Rust-Oleum Chalked Paint, Rust-Oleum Latex Paint, and Rust-Oleum Universal Enamel Paint. Chalked paint is very famous these days among people who flip over old furniture and refurbish it. It gives a rustic look to old particle board furniture. Water-based latex paint takes on particle board well, it also repels water once dried. Enamel is all-purpose and once it dries repels water and stains really well. It can be cleaned with ease too.

Particle boards are very susceptible to water, so applying a coat of paint is a great way to prevent water damage. Enamel and latex paints form a layer of protection which gives the dull particle board an aesthetically pleasing look, and also prevents it from absorbing any moisture. 

Another thing to keep in mind is that if you are refurbishing an old drawer or cabinet made out of particle board, you need to apply a primer and filler before painting over it. Otherwise, your paint won’t adhere as well as you want it to.

1- Rust-Oleum Ultra Matte Chalked Paint

The Rust-Oleum brand has products that usually cater for a multitude of materials. This matte chalked paint can be used not only on normal wood but pressed wood, like particle boards without problems. Not to mention it gives old particle board a very rustic look which is trending amongst people these days. People prefer the look of rustic looking furniture with chalk paint over glossy one.

This Rust-Oleum Chalked Paint has a latex-based formula, however, it dries to a smooth chalky finish with a matte look. You can repurpose this paint to use it on other surfaces as well, like metal, ceramic, wood, and plastic. So if you have any other materials used in the furniture, like metal hinges, you can use this same paint to cover the whole piece uniformly.

Lastly, it has a low odour, which is great since you can use it indoors with little ventilation. Usually, it is recommended to paint outdoors so that the fumes do not bother you. However, the low odour formula of the Rust-Oleum Ultra Matte Chalked paint does not bother you too much and can be used in a garage or indoors with proper ventilation.


  • Provides a rustic look to furniture which is aesthetically pleasing.
  • Low odour formula allows you to paint indoors.
  • Adheres to surfaces with minimal preparation.


  • Dries too quickly.
  • Requires a top coat of sealer.

2- Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch Latex Paint

Rust-Oleum’s Painter’s Touch Latex paint is a great way to finish particle boards. It is one of the best latex paints for wood, as it adheres to particle board really well. This particular paint dries to a glossy finish which is a classic for particle board furniture. It forms a layer on top of the particle board to create a protective finish that helps prevent water from damaging it.

Latex is a pretty durable finish, which can withstand a lot of abuse. However, it is also very easy to peel off like rubber. Since latex is made out of water and rubber mixed together, when the water dries off, the rubber forms a protective layer around the particle board. This makes Rust-Oleum’s Painter’s Touch latex paint a perfect way to seal off your particle board furniture when refurbishing it.

Latex is very easy to remove in case you plan on refurbishing your particle board furniture. The biggest issue with it is that it dries fast, so you will have to apply the paint really fast. Also, you can also peel off the paint by accident if you scratch the surface too hard.


  • Protects particle board against moisture.
  • Gives the particle board a glossy finish for smooth touch.
  • Has a low odour.


  • Dries too fast so when you commit to painting a piece you have to finish without breaks.
  • Can be peeled off relatively easily if scratched too hard.

3- Rust-Oleum Universal Enamel Spray Paint

Nothing beats the enamel paint when it comes to finishing particle boards. It is the most durable paint finish for pressed wood of any kind. Rust-Oleum’s Universal Enamel Spray paint is all you need for painting your particle board. It is a spray-on paint, which means it is incredibly easy to apply. It does not require you to apply a primer on the surface before applying. Rust-Oleum’s Universal Enamel Spray paint already contains primer application in it.

Just lightly sand the surface and apply it to your particle board to get the best results. Enamel paints are more durable than acrylic and latex paints. They do not get peeled off easily. They do have slightly more odour than other paints though. It also takes more time for the paint to cure properly, however, Rust-Oleum’s formula is quick drying so it dries relatively quickly compared to other oil based enamel paints.

Other than the odour, it is hard to find a lot of flaws with enamel paint. Once dried it protects particle board from water damage. Not to mention, enamel paints can cover almost any surface with ease, so you can apply it on metal hinges and plastic melamine coating, and it will still adhere to it without any problems.


  • Easy spray on application.
  • Durable paint finish.
  • Does not require priming the surface.


  • Odour can be off-putting for some people.

Does Particle Board Require Preparation Before Painting?

These days paint manufacturers are focusing more on products that do not require any preparation on wood before application. However, for the best results, it is always a good idea to prepare the surface before you coat the wood with paint. Depending on the type of particle board you have bought, you will need to prepare it before painting it.

If you have bought a primed particle board which is ready to paint, then you don’t need any extra preparation. You can just go ahead and apply a coat of the paint of your choice. If you are refurbishing an old piece made out of particle board, you will need to sand it lightly with a high grit sandpaper.

After lightly sanding, you can apply a primer and then coat it with paint. In most cases, after sanding the particle board lightly, you won’t need to apply a primer. However, if you want the best results, you shouldn’t skip priming the surface before applying paint to it.

Lastly, you may find some primers claiming that you can apply paint directly over them without sanding the surface. A lot of these products give great results without requiring sanding at all. Scuffing the surface lightly hardly takes any time, so you should still sand the particle board to help give the paint maximum adhering quality.

FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions

Does particle board require sanding before painting?

Yes, it is always a good idea to sand your particle board with a high grit sandpaper before painting on it. Although you can purchase particle boards that have primer applied on them that do not require sanding or preparation.

Can you use a roller to paint your particle board furniture?

Yes, you can definitely use a roller to apply paint to your particle board furniture if it has a wide enough surface area. You can always go back using a paintbrush on areas that did not get covered properly with the roller afterwards. This will help you save time when painting bigger projects.

Can you seal your particle board after painting it?

Paint already seals the particle board and prevents moisture from entering it. You can always apply a wax coat to give an extra protective layer over your paint finish if you want. Not to mention, it will protect your paint from getting scratched.

Final Thoughts

Particle board is one of the best substitutes for wood for cabinet projects. Other than being cheap and reasonably priced, they are also readily available. You can find old furniture made out of particle board that can become good as new with a good paint job. If you are in the market to make money, you can flip particle board furniture and sell it for a profit. You can also use that particle board furniture for your own purposes as well. Paint is a great way to finish it as it seals the particle board and prevents moisture damage. Not to mention it looks great over the furniture too.

Martin Swizz

Hi! This is Martin, I like to research, experiment, and learn new things related to wood carving and other kinds of woodworking.

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