Painting & Decorating Question

Painting mdf shelving

I need to paint some newly installed MDF built-in shelving. They have been very well made by a carpenter and I don't want to spoil the job. I want the finish to be a high gloss white. The MDF is beautifully smooth, so I'm not sure it will need sanding preparation (though I will, of course, make absolutely sure the surfaces are dust free before starting)

I simply need advice on how to go about it. Unfortunately, I'm not in a position to get a professional in.

What do I need for primer, undercoat and the gloss itself? Is spraying an option?

Any help and advice will be greatly received.



Many thanks for replying. Do I need an undercoat in addition to the primer?

The shelving unit is approximately 8' x 3' x 4" and has 6 removable shelves. Roughly, what sort of ball park figure would I be looking at to get this painted by a pro? Not after a quote just a rough idea of what it might/should cost.

3 Answers

Best Answer


The advantages with MDF are you can paint it with whatever you see fit. If you're only keeping soft items etc on them emulsion is fine but if you are keeping things that can scratch, I would go for an oil based product like gloss or eggshell.

I would also recommend priming with acrylic before applying a chosen paint.

Hope this helps,


Answered 12th Sep 2013

D. Hughes Painter & Decorating

Member since 12 Sep 2013

I normally use a multi-surface primer (Dulux) Followed by 2 coats of an oil based
top coat. (Dulux Gloss or Satin). Use a nice quality pure bristle paint brush (Hamilton). Use a fine sand paper and rub very gently making sure you rub the edges. then dust of and wipe down with a little white spirit and let it dry. Or you can buy a tac Cloth you can buy them from any decent paint shop for around 30p and wipe down with one of those. There is also MDF paints you can buy but they are a bit more expensive.
Hope this helps.

Sorry meant to say 2 coats of One Coat. you do not need undercoat with this.
As for Cost I normally look at all work before I give a Price
but you are probably looking at around 2 hours a coat = 6 hours so i would charge a days wages. Some will charge by the hour, but normally only for the first half of the day.
But I don't Think we are aloud to discuss money without going through the proper channels. So I'm afraid thats the best I can do for you.

Answered 10th Dec 2012


Member since 16 Jun 2008

Spraying is definitely an option! Use a good mdf/multi surface primer, then give two coats of (I would recommend) satin wood finish, then depending on the shine of the paint I would use a top coat of lacquer. Hope this helps if you do decide to have it sprayed.

Answered 15th Feb 2018

M C Decor

Member since 15 Feb 2018

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