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How to Refurbish Particle Board Furniture

Repair Inexpensive Furniture on a Budget

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How to Refurbish Particle Board Furniture
Photo © Jami Delia

Particle board furniture is usually a really cheap option when you need to decorate your home on a tight budget, but the furniture does not always withstand constant use or time. If you're noticing your particle board bookcase, end table or coffee table starting to peel, chip or fade, refurbish the item instead of tossing it.

Mending and painting old furniture will help you save money and put the items to use for longer (who doesn't like getting more than what they paid for?). You can even give the item a new look with stencils, different colored paint, wall paper or decoupage. Use whatever you already have on hand to save even more money.

Repair Chips and Cracks

Particle board furniture can easily chip when hit with the vacuum cleaner or from constant wear and tear. Cracks can also occur when a heavy item is placed on the surface. Luckily, you can repair these blemishes with wood putty or filler. You can find wood putty or filler at a local home improvement store or you can make your own to save even more money.

Apply the wood putty or filler over the crack(s) with a putty knife and swipe back and forth until the crack is filled with the putty or filler. Then, let the putty or filler completely dry (this can take a few hours to overnight). For chips or chunks missing from particle board furniture, you will need to mold the filler or putty into the shape of the missing piece. This will take some time and patience as the putty or filler dries.

After the filler or putty completely dries (make sure that it is not tacky, sticky or soft), gently sand over the repaired area with high grit sandpaper until the surface is smooth.

If you have a very large crack, you can also apply wood glue and reinforcements to repair the crack.

Repaint

Whether you've repaired damaged areas on the particle board furniture or you just want to give it a new look, paint the item. Before painting the item in your choice of color, sand the entire item with high grit sandpaper to remove any old finish, lacquer or gloss. This will help the primer and paint adhere better to the item.

After sanding the item, apply primer to the surface.

  • Use grey primer if you plan on painting the furniture item in a dark color.
  • Use white primer if you plan on painting the furniture item in a light color.

Depending on the current color of your furniture and the color you want to paint the item (e.g., an end table is black, but you want to paint it yellow), you may need to apply multiple coats of primer and paint to get the best result.

Let any and all primer dry completely before applying any paint. Be sure to let each coat completely dry before applying the next one so that the paint does not become tacky and to get the best results.

Remove Water Marks

When water sits on particle board furniture for a long period of time, it can create bubbles and permanent stains on the surface. Don't fret, with patience and a bit of elbow grease, you can repair and remove these blemishes. To remove water damaged sections of particle board furniture, you will need to remove the damaged areas. The size of the water damaged area will determine how much you will need to remove and replace with new wood.

Example: A cup with condensation sat on a particle board end table for a week. When the cup was removed, a permanent ring was left on the surface of the table. The size of the water ring was only about three inches, so it was removed with a sharp blade and repaired with wood filler.

For large water damaged areas, such as the bottom of a dresser or bookcase, you will need to remove the damaged areas and replace with new pieces of particle board. If the furniture item is not that important or sentimental, you may want to evaluate the cost of the repair versus purchasing a new piece of particle board furniture.

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