Vanities are exposed to excessive moisture due to their location beside a shower or tub enclosure. Even water-resistant paint won't prevent volatile pressboard, or particleboard, from swelling. If the paint on a vanity begins to peel, it means that moisture has already penetrated into the pressboard construction. To properly repair the paint on the vanity, you will need to seal the pressboard and apply a fresh coat of paint.
Remove the door from the vanity using a Phillips screwdriver. Remove drawers if it has them. Spread a plastic drop cloth on a worktable and place the door and drawers on the drop cloth. Spread a drop cloth around the base of the vanity.
Put on rubber gloves. Scrub off all of the peeling paint from the door, the drawers and the vanity with a steel brush or a detail abrasive brush accessory on a rotary tool. Apply a coat of chemical paint stripper to all of the remaining painted surfaces with a brush. Pressboard vanities are made to be affordable; there will not be any paint on the inside. Let the stripper sit on the wood for the required time, according to the manufacturer's instructions on the can.
Scrape off the gelled stripper with a putty knife. Scrape from the top down, letting the gelled paint drop off the bottom onto the drop cloth. Scrape the doors and drawer fronts. After all of the paint is removed, let the vanity dry for one hour.
Sand all of the surfaces with at least 100-grit sandpaper attached to a hand block, a rotary tool with a sanding disc accessory or an oscillating tool equipped with a hook and loop pad accessory fitted with 120-grit sandpaper until the wood is smooth. Spray the vanity generously, including the inside, with one coat of aerosol lacquer sealer. Let the sealer dry for one hour.
Sand the vanity inside and out with 180-grit sandpaper attached to a hand block until smooth or the oscillating tool fitted with a 220-grit sandpaper accessory. Use a paintbrush to apply up to two coats of enamel water-resistant paint to all exposed surfaces on the door, drawers and vanity. Wait 24 hours for the paint to dry, then rehang the door and replace the drawers.
Tips & Warnings
- Use extreme care when handling paint strippers; they are very caustic and will burn skin on contact. Always wear rubber gloves when using strippers.
- You can apply paint to the inside of the vanity if you choose to, but it's not necessary because you have already sealed it.
- Turn on all ceiling fans and wear breathing and eye protection when working on the vanity. Don't breathe excessive fumes from paint or lacquer.
Things You'll Need:
- Phillips screwdriver
- Drop cloths
- Steel brush
- Rotary tool (optional)
- Detail abrasive brush accessory (optional)
- Rubber gloves
- Chemical paint stripper
- Paintbrush, 1 1/2 inches wide
- Putty knife
- 100-grit sandpaper
- Hand block
- Sanding discs (optional)
- Oscillating tool (optional)
- Hook and loop pad accessory
- Sandpaper accessory (optional)
- Aerosol lacquer sealer
- 180-grit sandpaper
- Water-resistant paint
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