Best Primer For MDF

MDF (short for Medium-Density Fiberboard) is a composite material made of wood fibers and resin. It is an incredibly versatile material used in a wide range of home and industrial projects.

It is used for furniture, cabinets, and also for wall paneling and trim.

MDF usually comes with the wood type color, but if you want to change this color or repaint it, then you need to start with a good primer.

The right primer bonds the MDF to the underlying surface protecting it from wear and tear, dust, and moisture. It also adds a nice first-coat finish before you apply your favorite painting color.

With so many options out there, it can be hard to decide which primer is best for your particular project.

To help you make the right choice, we’ve researched and compiled a list of the top primers for MDF, all of which offer excellent adhesion and protection without compromising on quality or price.

Below are the best primers for MDF we found on the marketplace. All of these are really popular.

#1. Zinsser 00908 B-I-N Primer Sealer For MDF

Primer Sealer For MDF

We think the Zinsser B-I-N is the best primer for MDF because it will not warp or swell the wood fibers.

Also, it does a great job of sealing the medium-density fiberboard, especially around the edges where it tends to get quite porous.

We also like how it is very good value for the money.

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Does MDF need a special primer before painting my furniture?

MDF is used in a variety of applications but due to its composition, it is always best to apply a special primer before painting.

Depending on the desired finish, either an oil-based or water-based primer can be used. Oil-based primers are generally more effective at sealing MDF boards than water-based primers.

Oil primers penetrate deeper into the board and form a strong bond with the resin. They also seal the MDF just before you the paint finish. By the way, the primer will seal the edges and allow you to add a top coat (paint) easily.

The added protection helps reduce swelling and warping that can occur when exposed to moisture or humidity.

Additionally, it gives the topcoat of paint increased adhesion for a longer-lasting finish.

While MDF does not imperatively require a special primer for best results, it is highly recommended by manufacturers for a longer furniture lifetime.

When properly primed, prepped, painted, and sealed your MDF can look beautiful for many years to come.

Best Primer For MDF wood to use before painting

#1. Zinsser 00908 B-I-N Primer Sealer to paint MDF – The Ultimate choice

Primer Sealer For MDF

In our opinion, the Zinsser B-I-N Primer is the best primer for MDF. First of all, it is solvent-based rather than water-based, which tends to work better in general for medium-density fiberboard.

Next, you need to know that MDF has porous edges, which the Zinsser B-I-N primer handles very well.

It does a pretty good job of bonding to porous surfaces and sealing them in.

And it goes without saying that the Zinsser B-I-N is also a great stain killer, which can work very well with MDF materials in preventing them from happening.

Finally, it is just good to know that it blocks odors quite well and dries in about 45 minutes. And it sticks to MDF without sanding.

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#2. KILZ Original MDF Primer

When looking for the best primer for MDF it is quite important to find one that is solvent based.

The KILZ Original is one such oil/solvent based primer that also blocks odors well.

And since it is not water-based, it won’t be so watery as to swell or distort the MDF.

If you plan on placing your MDF in any humid area, the KILZ Original is a must-have.

Next, we should mention that it dries to the touch in about 30 minutes and you can topcoat or recoat it in about 1 hour, which is pretty good compared to other primers.

We also just want you to know that this primer has very good coverage, at around 300-400 square feet for one gallon of this product.

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#3. Rust-Oleum Cover Stain Primer

Primer Cover Sealer For MDF
The Rust Oleum Cover Stain is the best primer for MDF if you are looking for spot repairs and spot priming.

As it is a solvent-based oil primer, it won’t damage or swell your MDF.

We really like the easy-to-use spray can which makes it easy for amateurs to prime MDF surfaces themselves without embarking on a grand project.

It comes ready out of the can so all you need to do is spray.

Also, it dries quite quickly so you can apply an additional layer if needed without having to wait a long time.

Finally, we just want to say that it has a high hide formula, which does really well with removing stains in your MDF and preventing them from appearing in the future.

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#4. XIM 11022 Primer Sealer Bonder

Primer Cover Sealer For MDF

We think the XIM Primer Sealer and Bonder is a great product for priming medium-density fiberboard surfaces.

It has low VOCs and provides excellent adhesion to MDF surfaces.

This solvent-based white bonding primer is great for MDF because it won’t warp it.

It also bonds quite well to MDF whereas other primers have problems adhering to it.

In terms of topcoats, you can use oil or alkyd topcoats or even latex topcoats. Unfortunately, strong solvent topcoats don’t really work like 2 part epoxies or urethanes.

And while we still recommend sanding down the MDF, it is not required for the XIM 11022 to create a secure bond.

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#5. Ames Super Primer – 1 Gallon Multi-Surface Acrylic Primer – Clear, Powerful Membrane Perfect for Wood, Tile, Concrete

Super Primer for MDFIf you have a big priming and painting project with MDF materials and are looking for an industrial-strength primer, the Ames Acrylic Primer is a great option.

First and foremost, it is an oil-based solvent primer, which works very well with MDF.

It dries quite hard and is good for areas that get high traffic. This Primer creates a really nice and powerful membrane that strengthens the surface. It, effectively, adds longevity to your coating project.

We also like how you get a mildew-resistant finish, which protects it from all sorts of gunk that can build up on your MDF. But more to this, if you have any leftover from your current project, you’ll be pleased to learn that you can use the primer for other interior and exterior applications.

For instance, you can apply it to concrete, stucco, cement, tile, brick, wood, and metal surfaces. So this is not a primer dedicated to one project, but to a multitude of projects.

Finally, just note that this is a 1-gallon jug so it is ideal for people with medium projects who want to save a lot of money.

And finally, it is made in the USA.

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FAQ about the best MDF primer

Here are some questions we receive about primers answered.

Is acrylic primer a good prime to seal MDF?

When painting MDF, it can be difficult to achieve an even finish but also to get an overall even paint finish.

This is why people turn to acrylic primers as these are really good as a sealer for MDF edges.

An acrylic prime layer creates a smooth base for the application of latex paint or any other type of paint, such as acrylic paint and even water-based paint.

Note that acrylic prime solutions also help reduce any potential warping along the edge of the MDF.

By the way, you need to be careful when Applying the acrylic primer. You really need to apply it correctly as it is key to achieving good results.

If you want to work with oil-based paints, then you need to make sure to apply two coats of acrylic primer.

Some people like to put three to four coats of primer, but we advise you against this.

Applying more than two primer coats may cause instability in the bond between the surface of your MDF and your topcoat color layer (as well as on the different side edges of MDF. This can result in chipping or peeling off layers over time.

So now you are warned, do not apply more than 2 coats of acrylic primer and you should be fine. This is especially true if you want to have nicely painted kitchen cabinets.

How to Paint MDF – The Best Method for Priming and Painting MDF cabinets

Painting MDF is really good as it is a low-cost way to revamp your furniture and create stunning cabinets.

However, if you don’t use the proper methods when painting your MDF board, it won’t turn out as expected.

To avoid disappointment and achieve the best results, here is an easy guide on how to paint MDF correctly.

  1. The first step is to select the primer. This is probably the most important step. So choose wisely. Acrylic or oil based primers are recommended as they provide better adhesion for the paint. These types of primers help seal the porous surface and prevent moisture from seeping in. This is essential for long-lasting results. Water based primers do not provide such protection against humidity.
  2. The second step is also crucial. You need to take safety precautions when using a primer such as wearing protective masks and gloves. The reason is that some of these products contain some chemicals and though manufacturers advertise their products to be safe, we prefer to protect ourselves than feel sorry later on.
  3. Now you are ready. This is the step just before painting MDF, that is priming. You need to prime your furniture with your selected primer. You are still able to choose between an oil primer, a solvent-based primer, or any other type such as a latex primer. We like the oil acrylic type.
  4. Note you need to apply a maximum of two primer coats. No more than that. And if it is a great primer, you may only need one coat.
  5. Now, wait for the primer to dry in a non-dusty area and low humidity location (best to apply the primer in low humidity, no dust area right at the start of your project).
  6. Finally, when the primer is dry, you are ready to paint. Get your favorite paint for MDF color (again a maximum of two coats – no more unless absolutely necessary). And ensure that between the coats, you let the first coat dry well.
  7. That’s it, your MDF project is finished.
  8. Just as a separate note, you can use the above method for any paint job, real wood project, small wood, or big wood scheme. This is also true for any metallic work.

Do I need to spray the best primer or brush it?

When it comes to painting projects, deciding between spraying primer and brushing can be a difficult decision.

Spraying primer application is an efficient way to cover large surfaces quickly and evenly, but brushing may be better for smaller areas due to its more precise coverage.

Understanding the pros and cons of each method can help you decide which one will fit your needs best.

Spraying primer is the fastest way to complete a project, as it covers large areas in less time than brushing would allow.

This method also produces an even coat and paint thinner layers with less waste of paint, making it cost-efficient.

On the other hand, spraying requires specialized tools like air compressors or cans that could require additional expenses and safety precautions due to overspray or inhalation risk from toxic fumes.

Overall, brushing gives more control when priming small areas or intricate details that are hard to reach with sprayers.


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