I'm converting a part of the basement into a utility/hobby/storage room. For various reasons, we chose waferboard as the material for the walls in this project. Can I possibly work the surface to the point that when it's primed, I can paint it and it'd be almost as smooth as drywall?Can I get internal waferboard walls smooth enough to paint over like drywall?
If you really want to smooth it out, prime with a latex wood primer - NOT drywall primer. Mix a mid grade latex flat wall paint with drywall topping compound to about the consistency of toothpaste and trowel over the primed waferboard. You may need to play with the consistency just a bit, you want as much paint in the mix as possible, but not so much that it runs when you trowel it. You just need enough to fill the voids, not a coating on the whole thing. You may need to repeat this due to shrinkage, but two times should do it. Sand smooth and prime with drywall primer. You should be good to paint.
Now the whys, for those that must know. The first coat of primer seals the surface and allows the second coat to bond. Drywall primer requires a bit of a porous surface, so a wood primer is a must. Oil primer would work, but you would have to let it dry a few days.
Paint must be mixed with the compound in order to get it to stick. Drywall compound also requires a bit of a porous surface to bond, it is not possible to duplicate that so the paint is added to borrow some of the binders from it.
Normally priming over paint is not a good thing, but in this case there will be enough compound in the mix to require a primer for proper topcoat adhesion. This layer of primer is priming the compound/paint mix, so the drywall primer has a surface to grip to and will further smooth any remaining rough edges.
Having gone through all of that, I would point out that it is possible to create some really nice effects with waferboard. Prime with the latex wood primer, paint with a color slightly darker than what you want to end up with. Allow this coat to dry and apply a second coat, this time lighter than your final desired color. Wipe down with a lightly dampened cloth to remove the bulk of the paint. Creates a really nice finish. You can play around with the base and top color to create some very attractive designs.Can I get internal waferboard walls smooth enough to paint over like drywall?
Coat it with epoxy resin like you were building a boat. Sand smooth and paint. You'll need good ventilation and skin protection.
i dont think you should sand it i think it would look cool if you leave it and the paint would be fine... but yea if you want to sand it it would look fine too