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Painting Glossy Surfaces

by | Aug 26, 2018 | Uncategorized

An old friend of mine sent a message the other day about painting a glossy set of shelves in her classroom where she teaches.  She asked is it possible to get paint to stick and be durable on a really glossy set of shelves. The answer is yes if it is done correctly.  If you have some old cabinets, shelves or woodwork in your home that you have been thinking of painting you might want to follow these steps so you don’t have to watch the paint fall off in the future.  


Anytime you have a glossy surface you are going to paint you need to find a way to degloss it first.  You can use a chemical deglosser that you get at a paint store. You need to put it on a rag and wipe it on the surface.  My favorite option is to use sandpaper to degloss the surface. You don’t need a heavy grit paper to do this and you are not trying to remove the old paint.  Just scuff it up and wipe off the dust with a clean rag. In many cases this is all you will need to do to prep the surface before painting.


In extreme cases where you feel you still have a very glossy surface or you were unable to scuff it as it was so hard then you should apply a bonding primer.  You can find many versions of bonding primer in various stores but we prefer the product made by XIM. Follow the directions carefully with dry time before you apply the paint but bonding primers can make a huge difference!  One you have a good coat of bonding primer you should be ready for paint.



I don’t suggest you use a regular paint on these types of surfaces.  We like you use an enamel paint which will dry harder and take more abuse.  Every paint company makes enamel paints that you can use but we have had great success with products from Benjamin Moore or Sherwin Williams.  You will likely want to apply two coats of paint with a brush/roller or spray application if you are good with a sprayer.


The odds of you painted glossy surfaces lasting a long time will have gone way up if you follow these steps.  If the surface that got painted will have heavy objects on it or be used as a counter or desk that gets heavy use I recommend getting a piece of glass to put on top to protect the paint.  


Take your time and talk to the people at the paint store for advice on each product as they are all a bit different.  Feel free to call Absolute Painting & Power Washing if you have any questions on this subject or the best products to use.  


Mike Hughes


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