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Old 07-27-2007, 05:33 PM   #1
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Painting Kitchen Cabinets

We are trying to update the kitchen of our new house. The cabinets are original (1956). We are planning to keep most (if not all of them), and have seen enough HGTV/Bob Villa/etc. that we'd like to try to simply paint them white.

But here's where the questions begin...
- Overacrhing Question: How do we paint them so they will have a hard, high-gloss finish (a contemporary-urban look and feel)?

We've been to enough open houses in the neighborhood to see many people that have done a bad job and they may not have been trying to go for a polished / slick look.

So trying to get that look and feel...
- - paints:
* Do we use a waterborne enamel or a latex enamel? If so, which one works best with a 4-6 inch foam roller? I've seen SW Pro-Classic, BM AquaVelet and Impervo, and Zinsser Perma-White all recommended, as well as "any “enamels” or “epoxies” in gloss, semi-gloss or satin finish especially those that are recommended for use on furniture."
* What does "kitchen and bath" latex enamel mean? Should we even consider it for the cabinets?
* Is B.I.N any better than 1-2-3? and are they that much better than other waterborne/latex primers?

- - technique:
* Do we use a poly acrylic topcoat over the enamel? If so, do we use a flat waterborne enamel or a satin finish one or or an eggshell or???
* How do we best ensure we smooth out/masque wood grains?
* How do we best ensure a glossy and smooth finish overall?

And finally: What's the number 1 mistake made by people painting their kitchen cabinets?


PS: please forgive, I'm posting this her and in the carpentry forum.


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Old 08-03-2007, 12:15 PM   #2
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So I went to the paint store and they said:

1) do NOT use poly acrylic topcoat over an enamel. AND...

2) do NOT use waterborne enamel NOR latex at all. USE:
a) acrylic enamel OR
b) acrylic epoxy

Does this make more sense to anyone? I know I'm a total newbie so I'd appreciate hearing what's worked for others.

Which acrylic do you think will really produce the polished / slick look we want? ...enamel or epoxy?

3) all my other questions about masking wood grain, glossy top coat, etc. means i need a professional or the examples I've seen were not very professional.

Geez, thanks. Not very DIY advice from the shop.

How have others taken care of these possible pitfalls? Again, I'd appreciate hearing anything about what's worked for you.



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Old 08-03-2007, 04:01 PM   #3
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Well, you don't say what the finish is now
So here's the general instructions for cabinet repaints:
Originally Posted by slickshift View Post
The Ideal Cabinet Repaint:

Clean with ammonia/water solution
Let dry

Sand with 180
This is to "rough up" the surface, not sand it off
Wipe with Tack Cloth

Prime with a white-pigmented shellac based primer*
(Use a disposable brush and take precautions
Plenty of fresh air and a respirator are good ideas when working with shellac)
Let dry

Sand with 180
This is a light sanding to smooth out the shellac a bit
Wipe with tack cloth

Paint first coat, using a good quality oil-based enamel, or a quality waterborne enamel, using the a good quality proper type brush (oil/water-based prefer different kinds of brushes)
Let dry over night

Lightly sand with 220
Wipe with tack cloth

Second coat quality oil based enamel, or a quality waterborne enamel, also with a proper brush

Enjoy beautiful cabinets
…and the long-lasting durable finish you applied yourself

*If the cabinets are in good shape, and not too dark, a quality oil-based (alkyd) primer may be used for priming (and TSP for cleaning)
I suggest a shellac because it works on just about any surface, dark, light, wood, laminate, bare wood, stained wood, polyurethane-ed wood, pickled wood, previously oil-based or latex painted wood, and even the questionable surfaces like inexpensive “paper” laminates if the surface is prepped and the shellac applied carefully
It’s also your best bet for plastic or melamine type surfaces

If the cabinets are known to have a quality, properly adhering, latex or waterborne finish in good shape, the primer step could be skipped if the surface was scuff sanded well-but it would still be better to do the step and use a quality water based enamel undercoating as a primer.
Use a shiny sheen for a glossy look, don't put a glossy clear over a flat
I don't care for the foam rollers either, they don't work particualry fast or well, nor do they look good IMO
I prefer the brushed look
A quality waterborne enamel won't leave many brush marks if applied properly with a quality brush
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