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Old 03-04-2019, 01:33 PM   #1
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Painting Kitchen Cabinets


I'm trying to develop a successful technique for painting our kitchen cabinets, & not having much luck. I'm ending up with either brush strokes or orange peel visible in the finish coats.

We're using Benjamin Moore Advance, with their Advance primer. We ordered new doors & drawer fronts, so I've been experimenting on the old doors after cleaning & sanding them.

I've tried applying the paint both with a roller & brush. I've used microfiber, velour, & foam rollers, and I've tried "tipping off" with both a polyester & foam brush after applying the paint. Nothing I've tried has resulted in anything I'd consider acceptable for a cabinet finish.

Benjamin Moore touts its Advance as being "self-leveling", but I'm not seeing much, if any, leveling happening from when the paint goes on until it dries.

I'm wondering if the paint needs thinning, so it would level out better? I've read that it shouldn't be thinned, since it's already thin paint. (The can I'm using is NOT what I'd call thin paint.) Our house has very low humidity, so maybe that's affecting it? Indoor temperature is about 72.

If anyone has any suggestions, I'd love to hear them! I'm a diehard DIY-er, but it's not going to take much more before I call a pro to do this painting. At least then I'd have someone to complain to if I'm not happy with the results.

Thanks for listening!
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Old 03-04-2019, 02:46 PM   #2
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Humidity should be around 30-50% for best results.

I always add 1oz/gal clean water to advance when brush/roll by hand.

Do not use microfiber, it applies advance too thin. If it's on too thin it can't level. I had best luck using Wooster prodooz ftp 3/16" nap.

Brush out any details with a medium nylon polyester then quickly roll a nice even flowing coat but be careful not to put too much paint on the surface or it will run. Once paint has covered the entire surface gently backroll in one direction the flat surfaces then leave the paint alone to dry. Over brushing too much will show brush marks.
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Old 03-04-2019, 05:17 PM   #3
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Re: Painting Kitchen Cabinets


I add just a bit of XIM extender to my advance, and I have found that laying it off with a brush looks damn near sprayed. The prodooz looks pretty darn good too, but I feel that the minimal brush strokes blend into the wood better than just the roll. You have to put just the right amount of material on... Oh, and use a nice soft brush. I use a Corona Vegas 2 1/2" sash.
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Old 03-04-2019, 05:23 PM   #4
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Re: Painting Kitchen Cabinets


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I add just a bit of XIM extender to my advance, and I have found that laying it off with a brush looks damn near sprayed. The prodooz looks pretty darn good too, but I feel that the minimal brush strokes blend into the wood better than just the roll. You have to put just the right amount of material on... Oh, and use a nice soft brush. I use a Corona Vegas 2 1/2" sash.

I will add that the reason I don't recommend the microfiber is that putting on too thin will cause orange peel. In particular the prodooz-ftp lay out very nicely. No stipple.


XIM extender is ok, but not the BM extender which has too much acrylic resin (same resin used in aura).


I like the E&J GenY, which is very similar to the corona vegas.
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Old 03-05-2019, 07:10 AM   #5
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Re: Painting Kitchen Cabinets


Also, (and hopefully) you have your doors laying FLAT when you are painting them. This allows the levelers in the paint to do their thing.
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Old 03-05-2019, 08:01 AM   #6
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Re: Painting Kitchen Cabinets


Thanks for all the replies; gives me more to think about.

I'm puzzled by the thin/heavy application with regard to orange peel. I've gotten smoother results by rolling it on very thin, as compared to putting it on heavier. As I mentioned, I'm not seeing much in the way of leveling out after application either way. I think the next thing to try may be adding a bit of water or Floetrol to the paint & see how that does.

I should mention that everything I've tried has been with doors laid flat. We do have a few fixed vertical surfaces that'll need to be done, which I guess will come with a new set of problems.

This is frustrating, but in a strange way I'm enjoying the process, since I'm learning something new. But with any luck, at my age, I'll never have to use this newfound knowledge again!

Thanks again.
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Old 03-05-2019, 08:09 AM   #7
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Re: Painting Kitchen Cabinets


I have been trying to learn how to do cabinets as well. I'm a handyman with a decent amount of painting experience. I've got a piece of hardboard in my basement with all different swatches with different paints and different tools and different techniques. I just wind up squinting at it in different light and then banging my head against the wall. Some guy can do it with a brush and roller, but in my experience the sprayer is giving me much better results with less of a learning curve.
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Old 03-05-2019, 08:11 AM   #8
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Do not add floetrol it is not compatible With modern paints. Use clean water or XIM or M1 extender.

Advance needs to be put on at the correct mil thickness. Not too thick and not too thin. If your not sure stop in to a BM store and ask them to show you how.
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Old 03-07-2019, 11:56 AM   #9
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Re: Painting Kitchen Cabinets


Just as a followup, if anyone's interested: I've done a few more test panels using the old cabinet doors, & think I have a process that gives us the results we're looking for.

I went out & found some M1 extender, & added a mid-range dose to the Advance paint. Rolling it on, followed by a slow rolling with a dry foam roller resulted in a noticeable improvement over what I'd been doing before.

I then upped the dose of M1 to the maximum on the label, 6 oz. per gallon, and it resulted in yet another improvement. Really smooth finish. We're pretty satisfied with these results, although I may not be able to restrain myself from trying a few more variations.

Thanks again for all the comments & suggestions!
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Old 03-07-2019, 08:43 PM   #10
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Re: Painting Kitchen Cabinets


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Originally Posted by stevedore View Post
Just as a followup, if anyone's interested: I've done a few more test panels using the old cabinet doors, & think I have a process that gives us the results we're looking for.

I went out & found some M1 extender, & added a mid-range dose to the Advance paint. Rolling it on, followed by a slow rolling with a dry foam roller resulted in a noticeable improvement over what I'd been doing before.

I then upped the dose of M1 to the maximum on the label, 6 oz. per gallon, and it resulted in yet another improvement. Really smooth finish. We're pretty satisfied with these results, although I may not be able to restrain myself from trying a few more variations.

Thanks again for all the comments & suggestions!
Make sure you try some vertical tests as well. That's really where my hangup is now. I don't know about the Advance, but with the Cabinet Coat, I go as thin as I possibly can with the foam roller and that works about right. More than that and it is a horror show of sags and runs. I tried doing the side of a cabinet with a brush. It looked like my five-year-old did it.
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Old 03-08-2019, 07:45 AM   #11
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Re: Painting Kitchen Cabinets


This thread is a friendly reminder of just how difficult cabinet painting really is. Oh, the DIY shows tell you it's a simple weekend project, and, for the most part, it can be. But throw in today's modern paint formulas with old-school brush and roll technique and you have a recipe for disaster. I absolutely dread doing cabinets anymore. Even if you get them just the way you want them, paint rubs and chips off, you're constantly touching up......they can be difficult to clean especially with kids and their grubby hands.
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Old 03-08-2019, 08:54 AM   #12
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Re: Painting Kitchen Cabinets


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Make sure you try some vertical tests as well. That's really where my hangup is now. I don't know about the Advance, but with the Cabinet Coat, I go as thin as I possibly can with the foam roller and that works about right. More than that and it is a horror show of sags and runs. I tried doing the side of a cabinet with a brush. It looked like my five-year-old did it.

Cabinet coat is one paint I will use with microfiber. The paint lays out like a sprayed look. I do not like foam.
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Old 03-08-2019, 05:08 PM   #13
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Re: Painting Kitchen Cabinets


I had the same type of problems with BM, so I bought different brands by the quart till I found one that works for me, looks like a sprayed finish now, I am very happy
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Old 03-08-2019, 07:02 PM   #14
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Re: Painting Kitchen Cabinets


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I had the same type of problems with BM, so I bought different brands by the quart till I found one that works for me, looks like a sprayed finish now, I am very happy
Don't keep us in suspense; what did you end up using?
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Old 03-08-2019, 09:07 PM   #15
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Re: Painting Kitchen Cabinets


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Cabinet coat is one paint I will use with microfiber. The paint lays out like a sprayed look. I do not like foam.
The microfiber mini rollers apparently aren't that easy to find. Nothing at Sherwin. Home Depot had a 6" with a 3/8" nap, but I wanted a 4" probably with 1/4" nap. Benjamin Moore store might have something, but I didn't look long before they gave me the foam.

I routinely use the microfiber 9" rollers on walls. I love how they stick to the wall. I can't vacay if I try. And I use less paint.
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