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Would I be mad to paint MDF bookcases myself?

(18 Posts)
IfItAintBrokeDontFixIt Wed 18-Nov-15 12:06:31

We're having some fitted MDF bookcases installed in our living room at the moment, and DH and I are unable to agree as to whether we should get them professionally painted or if I should do them myself.

I want to do them myself as it will save a lot of money and I currently have time to spare to do it (expecting it to take several days). I'm of the view that as long as I prepare everything properly- undercoat and sand everything first- and do it carefully, I'll be able to do a good job. And of course save us £££ in the process. The guy installing the bookcases has said he will email me details of how to do it all (e.g. what coarseness of sandpaper I should use etc). There's quite a lot that needs doing: there are two bookcases that are probably 6ft wide each and run from floor to ceiling.

DH thinks that I won't be able to do as good a job as a professional and that I'll end up ruining the new bookcases. He's gone on and on about it so much that I'm now starting to doubt myself and wonder if I'm completely mad to consider doing this myself.

What do you all think? Has anyone got experience of doing a similar job themselves?

Anastasie Wed 18-Nov-15 12:11:23

Unless you have form for ruining furniture then I think he is being unreasonably cautious.

It'll be fine

IfItAintBrokeDontFixIt Wed 18-Nov-15 12:18:18

Thanks Anastasie, nope haven't had a DIY disaster before. DH thinks that it's going to be super complicated...and I suspect, though he would never say this to me, that he thinks I'll get bored halfway through and make a hash of it hmm

mamapants Wed 18-Nov-15 12:24:13

I don't understand if you have the time available why anyone would pay for a job like this to be done. Have always done all the painting in my house/ houses.costs a fortune paying someone and they rarely do a better job than you'd do yourself

PrimalLass Wed 18-Nov-15 12:26:37

It will be fine. Use Zinsser BIN primer with a mini foam roller. It dries very quickly.

FreckledLeopard Wed 18-Nov-15 12:28:12

It's boring and fiddly but perfectly do-able. I did the undercoat for our MDF shelves, then lost the will to live and got a handyman to finish off.

I don't see how you'll "ruin" anything and am sure you will do an excellent job.

IfItAintBrokeDontFixIt Wed 18-Nov-15 12:39:33

Ooh I'm so pleased with your responses all! I thought you'd all say I was daft to even consider it.

Agree it'll be boring Freckled but I have quite a high tolerance for monotonous physical jobs and I can have a radio in the room to keep me company.

Totally agree mama, DH just seems to be of the view that professionals are professionals for a reason and will always do better. However I don't think the professionals that painted the inside of our house did that wonderful a job...

Thanks for the primer tip PrimalLass.

bonzo77 Wed 18-Nov-15 12:45:34

You might need more than one coat of specialist primer (ours took 2). If there is any actual timber you need to use "knotting" on the knots or they end up showing through later on.

IfItAintBrokeDontFixIt Wed 18-Nov-15 12:49:23

Thanks bonzo, yes the guy installing the bookcases recommended that I do one coat, then sand, then another coat, then sand again. So I will do that to be on the safe side. No real timber at all, whole thing is entirely MDF so I don't have to worry about that luckily.

silversixpence Wed 18-Nov-15 14:15:25

It's fine my husband did ours and he is lazy not that careful and they look great.

SmellTheGlove Wed 18-Nov-15 15:17:56

Seconding Zinsser BIN. Best undercoat ever. Or Zinsser 123, Which is water based so easier for cleaning up. Check what paint you are going to use - there's a Dulux satinwood which gets bad reviews online for taking ages to dry - our carpenter used it I think and our shelves are still slightly tacky after 6 weeks! Can't be arsed to sand off and start again so we're living with it. I used dulux trade satin for all my woodwork which gives a lovely finish and dries quickly.

yomellamoHelly Wed 18-Nov-15 19:23:48

Have also found PVA glue painted on to any raw edges works really well to stop leaching of paint into the mdf.

Crikeyblimey Wed 18-Nov-15 19:52:42

Yep. Mix some pva glue in your paint so it covers better. Took many coats when I did some bookshelves but it looked ace eventually.

ohhelpohnoitsa Wed 18-Nov-15 20:16:43

Use annie sloan paint and you wont meed an undercoat or sanding. Google elaine colliar chalk paint to find out how to make diy annie sloan paont even cheaper. Good luck.

IfItAintBrokeDontFixIt Thu 19-Nov-15 10:54:23

Interesting advice about the glue, I would never had thought of that!

I've read bits and pieces about Annie Sloan paint ohhelpohnoitsa but I feel about dubious about the idea about cutting out the prep side of things. Does it give the same finish as normal paint? Have you used it before and had good results?

Crikeyblimey Thu 19-Nov-15 20:33:50

Mdf is really porous so you kind of need something to seal it. That's why pva glue helps.

Devora Thu 19-Nov-15 22:59:42

Of course you can paint shelves! I'm not good at DIY, but painting shelves really is the shallow end of the pool - I'm sure you'll do a great job. Plus, if you don't, it can be easily fixed.

Merrow Mon 23-Nov-15 14:20:15

I'm about to tackle this - I don't suppose you would mind passing on the advice about sandpaper coarseness and things? A badly painted bedroom is the extent of my experience, but I'm determined to not to mess up the bookcases!

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