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Furniture Rehab and Repair

Choosing the Right Type of Paint for All Types of Materials (page 3 of 4)

Paint is the ultimate designer's medium. For only a few dollars, paint transforms nearly anything into something fresh, dazzling and new. Discover the materials that accept paint and those that you should avoid.

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Fiberglass Tubs and Showers

Set up and Prep: Sudden blasts of hot water are hard on painted fiberglass baths and showers, and various DIY methods for refinishing have mixed results. The most effective way we've found calls for finishing with automotive paint. The paint should be applied with a high-volume, low-pressure paint (HVLP) sprayer.

Sand the surfaces lightly with 220-grit sandpaper. Wash the surfaces thoroughly with TSP or non-residue cleaner, and rinse with water. When dry, wipe all surfaces with lacquer thinner. Make sure you have plenty of ventilation.

Painting: Apply an auto primer. When dry, lightly sand with 320-grit sandpaper, and wipe away the dust with damp rags. Apply a polyurethane-based automotive paint, using an HVLP.

Heads up: Another solution is to opt for Rust-Oleum's Tub and Tile Refinishing Kit.


Set up and Prep: Clean the surface with a glass cleaner.

Painting: Glass painting is a popular hobby or craft project. Check your local hobby store for paints formulated to use with glass. Some may require an undercoating or special surface application.

Heads up: Lighter colors are better for light transmission.

Laminate Countertops and Cabinet Faces

Set up and Prep: Rough up the surfaces with 150-grit sandpaper. Remove all dust and wash with TSP or other non-residue cleaner.

Painting: Use a primer specifically formulated for non-porous surfaces. Finish with at least two coats of acrylic latex enamel, using a short-nap roller.

Heads up: Painting laminate countertops isn't a permanent solution; consider it a stopgap until you can replace the countertops.


Set up and Prep: Remove any rust and flaking with a wire brush. Sand with 220-grit sandpaper. Rinse with plain water, let dry.

Painting: Use an exterior-grade primer and paint that are formulated for metal.

Heads up: The method is the same for steel, aluminum and iron.


Set up and Prep: Sand lightly with 320-grit sandpaper. Wash with TSP or other non-residue cleaner, and rinse thoroughly.

Painting: Use a spray paint formulated for plastic. Alternative: Use exterior-grade acrylic enamel.

Heads up: After prep, don't touch the plastic with your bare hands — you'll leave oil residue that keeps the paint from sticking.

Vinyl Flooring

Painting: Sorry, not a good candidate. The surface offers poor adhesion, and flexing from foot traffic and day-to-day abrasion soon wears away paint.