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Refinishing MDF - Can I get some advice, please?
#1
Hello,

I recently bought a second-hand tank - a complete setup, for very little money - but there are some areas of the tank that need some attention.

The cabinet that came with the tank is MDF - and sadly, in the last 10 years (well, that's when the cabinet makers stopped trading anyway) the MDF has suffered a little with moisture.  So what I want to do - particularly on the inside of the hood - is to seal/prime and paint the MDF to prevent further issues from developing.  thankfully the structure is, overall, very sound indeed.

What I'd like to ask is - can any of you recommend sealers/primers or paints that you've used yourselves for this sort of thing in the past?
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#2
Clear yacht varnish is always a very good top coat, whatever you use underneath. Wink
If at first you don't succeed....
...get someone else to do it! Big Grin

Enjoy your fish, shrimps and snails!
Ian

All my posts are from a desktop.
Mobiles are way too complicated for me, although I do have one now. Wink
[-] The following 1 user Likes plankton's post:
  • GruntPuppy
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#3
on solid wood i would use danish oil or yacht varnish. Wouldn't trust water damaged MDF in all honesty.
[-] The following 2 users Like fr499y's post:
  • Annie, GruntPuppy
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#4
Yeah, doesn’t it all break up once water damaged Sad
Bikini Bottom - 168l
Bronze & Albino Cory, Black Widows, Cherry Barbs, Green Tiger Barb (rescues), Amanos.
The Kremlin - 58l 
Bronze Corys.
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#5
Pretty much. Its basically very compact saw dust.
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#6
Thank you all for your posts.

It looks like the moisture effect is limited to the hood - and not widespread - it's a couple of internal bits starting to show signs of exposure to moisture, the structure itself is sound. Oh, the lid has a slight curvature to it - but that could easily be sag from resting on a couple of rubber pads for over a decade. I just want to seal the mdf to prevent further ingress, then paint inside - probably white, to maximise downward light reflection (I've got some self-adhesive mirror film to stick on the inner top surface).

The outer surface veneer was looking rather tired - happily I tried cleaning it before I committed to buying self adhesive vinyl to cover it. I tend to favour a furniture polish called "wood silk" which is silicone free and has a decent beeswax content. Seeing as the tank is totally empty right now (and I don't spray direct onto the furniture, just onto a cloth anyway) I had a go at the hood's outer surfaces, and they've come up very nicely indeed. I shall do the same with the cabinet over the next few days, hopefully. It pays testament to the quality of building materials how well this (at least 10 year old) stand and hood are coming up. In the middle of writing this, I couldn't resist doing a small test patch on the stand itself Tongue

Tomorrow I shall look at getting either some yacht varnish, or possibly (recommended by a friend) Plasti-kote MDF primer, and a white or silver top-coat paint to go over the top of it.

It's just a shame the glass isn't going to be so easy to clean up.... unfortunately the previous owner tried to "help" by starting to clean the glass before I collected... and used one of those infernal magnetic cleaners. They're fine, until they come with added gravel... which is one did. I feel another thread coming on...

I'm going to buy a mechanical polisher on Monday, to take advantage of eBay's nectar point offer.
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#7
Paint first, varnish later. Wink
If at first you don't succeed....
...get someone else to do it! Big Grin

Enjoy your fish, shrimps and snails!
Ian

All my posts are from a desktop.
Mobiles are way too complicated for me, although I do have one now. Wink
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#8
(04-05-2019, 07:46 AM)plankton Wrote: Paint first, varnish later. Wink
The only problem with that on MDF is the wrong paint will cause the MDF to blow totally.
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#9
How about "sticky-backed plastic then" or a sealer that isn't varnish?
I doubt any paint will "take" on the varnish......??? Wink
If at first you don't succeed....
...get someone else to do it! Big Grin

Enjoy your fish, shrimps and snails!
Ian

All my posts are from a desktop.
Mobiles are way too complicated for me, although I do have one now. Wink
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#10
I think Plankton is right there. Paint will peel off a varnish. Best bet is to get an MDF primer. Then paint of whatever colour then a varnish to moisture protect it. Or a gloss paint should do a reasonable job of protecting against splashes too.


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500L Sooperhooge Goldfish tank Smile
200L The Barbarium….Tiger barbs and a very grumpy BN plec
200L Marine Reef.....stocking in progress!
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