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Can White Hardboard Be Painted?

Hardboard is a great building material that can be used for all sorts of things. Because of this, there will be many times where you might want to paint it. But is this possible? Especially when it is white hardboard you may be wondering if it can be painted.

White Hardboard

Whit hardboard can come in two different forms. One can be easily painted and the other will need a lot of prep work. So what are these two forms of white hardboard?

One is a primed hardboard. This will have a flat matt finish on it so it is easily distinguished from the other type.

The other type is laminated hardboard with a plastic coating on the top. This will have a really thin layer of plastic on top of the wood, similar to laminate kitchen worktops and cupboards.

Primed hardboard

This will often be white and is designed to be painted straight onto. This is a perfect surface to paint and is ready to go.

If this is the white hardboard you have then you can definitely paint it with zero problems.

You will be able to tell if this is the white hardboard you have as it will have a matt finish on it. It will not be shiny or plasticky at all.

Laminated Hardboard

This type of white hardboard on the other hand will be a lot tougher to paint. Paints really don’t like sticking to shiny plasticky surfaces. Even if they go on fine and dry well there can still be problems later down the line.

The paint never properly sticks to the plastic so can be chipped and scuffed off easily.

To remind this we need to do some prep work on the white hardboard. To start with we want to sand the surface down with high grit sandpaper.

Use something around 240 grit and sand the surface. We are not trying to remove the surface here just scuff it up.

That is why I recommend a high grit paper, the last thing you want is a rough paper that leaves big gouges in the hardboard.

Once sanded I recommend painting the plastic surface with a Zinsser primer. Bulls Eye or B-I-N will work really well.

Once this has been down you can add your final finishing paint as normal.

This should have done enough to make the primer stick to the plastic so you won’t have any problems with the finish.

What Is Hardboard?

Hardboard is the harder brother to MDF. MDF stands for medium-density fibreboard, hardboard is high-density fibreboard.

It is stronger than MDF and much denser. The fibres used in hardboard are exploded fibres which are then highly compressed. This is what allows it to reach such high density and strength.

Hardboard is often used as pegboard, or in furniture construction, particularly as a backer board.

You don’t see hardboard in thick sheets, you only ever see it in the really thin sheets.

I’m guessing this is because a thick sheet would be incredibly heavy and probably stupidly expensive as well.

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