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Old 07-15-2018, 08:46 PM   #1
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Painting oak trim, baseboard and cabinets


I have a few questions. Our house was built in the 80s.. our entire main floor is honey oak hardwood and all of our baseboards and trim are a light brown (oak like) color. Some of windows have white trim (we think as the windows were replaced by the previous owner) and the rest are that brown oaky color. As well our kitchen cabinets and closet doors are oak. We just dont want to paint things then it end up looking cheap and regret it

1. Is it sinful to paint oak closet doors, baseboards and casing white?

My husband wants to paint the baseboards and trim white and the doors dark. Are dark doors a bad idea?

2. What would be a good color option for our kitchen cabinets? I've thought about painting the cupboards an off white color and the island something darker like an espresso color? We also plan for stainless appliances

Thanks for any help you can offer!
Katelynn
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Old 07-15-2018, 10:13 PM   #2
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Re: Painting oak trim, baseboard and cabinets


I would go one step at a time, starting with the windows, make all the window trim the same color. Then think about whether you want to take the next step. Being a woodworker, I hate it when people paint over wood that someone spent a lot of time on.

Oak can be hard to paint because it is a very open grained wood, which doesn't matter much when it is stained and varnished, but makes it hard to paint because the paint will sink into that grain. Get up really close to it and you will see the open grain.
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Old 07-16-2018, 05:43 AM   #3
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Re: Painting oak trim, baseboard and cabinets


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Is it sinful to paint oak closet doors, baseboards and casing white?

IMO, YES! but it gets done all the time. I've done so on multiple occasions for customers. The primer is probably the most important aspect of painting over varnish/poly. I prefer a solvent based primer for the increased adhesion it provides. I'll sand lightly, wipe off the sanding dust with a liquid deglosser and apply the primer. Sand lightly when dry and apply the first of the 2 coats of enamel [your choice; latex, oil or waterborne] again sanding lightly between coats of enamel.


The open grain isn't as prevalent when painting over poly but a quick easy fix if any open grain presents itself after priming is to smear a little joint compound over the open grain and when dry sand it all off. That leaves the j/c just in the cracks, then reprime those areas.
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Old 07-16-2018, 03:11 PM   #4
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Re: Painting oak trim, baseboard and cabinets


You've gotten good advice from Mark and Chuck.

I would also paint all the trim around the Windows and baseboards
white to match your other white Windows. I agree the honey oak is
tiresome and often takes on a orangey hue.

Yes, although we're woodworkers ( hobby) I've only painted a few
things and are happy with the finished product.

So, painting the doors a darker color with the trim white would be a
refreshing change.

For the kitchen cabinets...60's cabinets are problems the same thing,
old and tired and could use a cosmetic facelift.

We made a double door cabinet for a built in wall cabinet where we previously
had an air conditioner in our Living room...we used old, old recycled oak
that we adopted from a church that was replacing the old oak kneelers.

I painted the new 'old' oak doors with a semi gloss paint to match our
off white walls. As Chuck pointed out -- oak can be hard to paint as the paint
will sink into the grain. We ran all the oak through a planer so
all the old varnish and stain was removed.

By hard to paint, I mean the paint doesn't fill in the gaps in the grain.
It looks like scaring...not that that is a bad thing, but if it's a smooth finish
that you want just painting the oak will not accomplish that. I've never used
a joint compound so I can't comment on that. Probably I should
have used a primer as well. We use primer first when we paint our white
raised panel doors.

I happen to like what it looks like.I gave it a few coats ( sanding between
coats) I did not use a primer...If you decide to paint the cabs and doors,
just make sure you prep and clean them well before painting them.

This is a close-up of the cabinet doors. You can see what I call the scaring.
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Old 07-16-2018, 03:33 PM   #5
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Re: Painting oak trim, baseboard and cabinets


Katelynn, Here is a suggestion for you...Before painting your cabinets, I would
remove a door and do a test run, paint it a creamy white, and see if you
like it. You can always sand down the door and remove the paint, (if you
decide you don't like it.) My only question is to the painting Pro's, does
she prime first or just paint? BTW...are the cabinets raised panel doors?

Before tackling the kitchen I would do all the trim and doors first.

Here is a look at the finished (very old recycled church kneelers)
a front view... I don't think it looks too shabby.

Like anything else, you need to look at things in its totality.
Hope this helps...
Joann...
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Old 07-16-2018, 03:42 PM   #6
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Re: Painting oak trim, baseboard and cabinets


Katelynn, welcome to DIY!

Summarily, and I truly do not mean to sound crass at all, but as long as you're not doing this work to sell the house, what other people think shouldn't be your deciding factor. Look at a lot of online pictures of painted kitchens and painted woodwork, and you'll discover exactly what you want based on what you like or don;t like about what you see.

Is it a "sin" to paint over oak? Absolutely not! ... and that's true even if you are the one who paid to have it installed. It's purely a matter of doing things tastefully and getting the results that YOU want.

That said, the members above have offered sage advice.

Enough about that. My wife and I just did this very same thing last August except instead of painting the oak doors, we replaced them with newly made hard maple doors and then painted them to match the cabinets. In terms of filling the open grain on the oak, I tried 3-4 different techniques on the oak doors before tossing them, and the absolutely BEST approach is exactly what was mentioned earlier... standard drywall compound. Don't use the light-weight patching stuff... it doesn't get into the deep grain as effectively.

What is CRITICAL when painting over oak (and lots of other woods, too) is to use Zinnser 1-2-3 primer to block the tannins from bleeding through and yellowing your final paint job. The fact that the oak is coated with poly makes no difference... the tannins WILL bleed through and yellow your paint unless they are blocked with a shellac based sealer, and that is exactly what the 1-2-3 is!

I've posted a quick before/after pic below of what we did last summer, and there is absolutely NO tannin bleed through. The paint we chose was General Finish's Milk Paint (Linen) -- three coats over the 1-2-3 primer, and then two coats of General Finish's High Performance Clear Coat (non-yellowing). All of this was done after filling the grain with drywall compound and sanding off the excess compound. Like I said, though, the doors and drawer fronts were brand new hard maple, but we kept and painted the existing oak cabinet face frames and end panels. You can also see how the finished cabinets look with stainless appliances, all of which are the same in both pictures.

Although it may look like we replaced the back splash tile, we did not. My wife used the 6 primary colors in the mottled light colored natural stone tiles around the darker medallions, and hand painted each dark tile to match the lighter ones around it... $18 worth of paint samples from Home Depot and about 4 hours of her time... even up close, you cannot tell any difference between the natural stone tiles and the ones she painted.

Incidentally, we have also just finished painting over the stained/poly'd birch wainscoting and trim throughout our family room (yes, we have an early 80's built home, too). My wife went with pure white eggshell for all of this with a very soft greenish-gray-blue tinted wall paint above the half-high wainscoting. The white updated the room beautifully, and the soft wall color makes the room SOOO comfortable to be in. We also have medium stained white oak hardwood flooring in that same room. She also sort of white-washed the red brick on the fireplace. the after effect is that now the fireplace POPS, and the antique reproduction needlework pieces on the walls POP, and the floor POPS... all so much more updated and better looking than before, and it's just because of the softer (less yellow) wall color and pure white woodwork/trim.
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Old 07-16-2018, 04:45 PM   #7
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Re: Painting oak trim, baseboard and cabinets


Quote:
My only question is to the painting Pro's, does
she prime first or just paint?

Raw substrates should always be primed first! When painting previously finished substrates a primer isn't usually needed unless adhesion or staining is expected to be an issue.
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Old 07-16-2018, 05:08 PM   #8
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Re: Painting oak trim, baseboard and cabinets


Along with what Mark Sr said, oak is notorious for tannin bleed.
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Old 07-16-2018, 05:32 PM   #9
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Re: Painting oak trim, baseboard and cabinets


I fought this trend of painting oak for years. It's a losing battle. No one seems to like the classic and timeless look of stained/clear-coated woodwork anymore. Here's just a few more things to consider........remember, once you paint them, you really can't go back to the original look, unless you want to do some seriously hard, toxic work.

Primer? Is it necessary? I say YES. Getting that good bond for the topcoats is essential for a long-lasting paint job. There are paints that DON'T require primer such as PPG's Breakthrough, but, hey, you're going to a lot of trouble to change the look so why not ensure a high quality job.

You will be doing touch-ups from time-to-time, usually once a year. No matter how careful you are, you will get dings and marks on the painted cabinets. Doesn't sound too bad until you consider that a light sanding, priming, and then two coats of touch-up will be required to get them looking good again.

And finally, consider that you will be doing more cleaning, especially if you paint with a lighter color. In a year's time, it's amazing how much food, food particles, grease, grime, and dirt attach themselves to your nicely painted cabinets. I just finished painting some oak in a kitchen and the teenage son dropped a bottle of A1 sauce on the floor and all that sauce sprayed up onto the new paint. I basically had to redo the whole kitchen because the A1 stained the new work.

So, I say go for it, but be prepared for the aforementioned problems/issues.
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Old 07-16-2018, 05:36 PM   #10
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Re: Painting oak trim, baseboard and cabinets


@F250 , I love the look of your cabinets. They look amazing. My only question is how did you get the Zinsser 123 to block the tannins in the wood? I always use Zinsser CoverStain or BIN shellac to prime and seal up any tannin bleed which is what @mark sr suggests in his post #3.
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Old 07-16-2018, 05:48 PM   #11
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Re: Painting oak trim, baseboard and cabinets


Yes, the painted woodwork is a little higher in maintenance. Our cabinets get rubbed down and cleaned on almost a daily basis by my wife who cannot stand anything on her cabinets, and the GF clear coat has protected the underlying GF milk paint beautifully. The only places we've seen which need touching up is right at the T&G joints where some air had obviously gotten trapped before we got all the paint coats on, and those very few places have bubbled.

I, being an avid woodworker and lover of wood also tend to avoid painting it if at all necessary. In our case, though, our oak cabinets had been there long enough for sunlight "oranging" of the oak color, and my wife HATED the orange tinge. Stripping and re-staining was not an acceptable option for us because my wife also HATED the cathedral style panels (and had been HATING them for almost 11 years since we bought the house). Staining new oak doors to match the 30 yo face frames and end panels would have not been desirable, either (we've stripped and refinished enough older oak furniture pieces to KNOW how challenging the tonal match can be). Finally, in our 30+ years of home ownership, we've simply grown tired of oak and would prefer to have cabinets out of either cherry or walnut, but replacing the entire set of cabinets was also cost-prohibitive. Ultimately, a new set of "refaced" cabinets by a contractor was going to run us $20-$25K for quality work (I used to work in a custom high-end cabinet shop, so I know what quality work is in cabinetry).

So, we bit into the task, did EVERYTHING ourselves, including me building drying racks and a temp spray booth and then learning to use an HVLC sprayer to coat the doors and DF's). In the end, we did the entire job, new doors and DF's included, for less than $5K (and a lot of hours!).
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Old 07-16-2018, 06:03 PM   #12
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Re: Painting oak trim, baseboard and cabinets


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@F250 , I love the look of your cabinets. They look amazing. My only question is how did you get the Zinsser 123 to block the tannins in the wood? I always use Zinsser CoverStain or BIN shellac to prime and seal up any tannin bleed which is what @mark sr suggests in his post #3.

Thanks, Gymshu. I have to tell you that the transformation was so significant that it took me over a month to NOT feel like I was walking into some super nice vacation home every time I walked into the kitchen.

From everything I read and what I recall, the 1-2-3 was the better tannin blocking approach than the BIN product. I know that it was the 1-2-3 that we used on the cabinets, though, because we still have four small panels to do to for a couple of cabinet end runs, and we still had the last can of 1-2-3 left over from the original job. I also know that we just used the 1-2-3 on the birch wainscoting.

You guys now have me questioning that choice, though, and I'm now hoping we didn't screw up with the wrong product and have to re-coat it all with BIN and topcoat -- we'll certainly know in about 3-6 months if that's the case, though, for the wainscoting because they were painted pure white. So far, though, on the cabinets, one year with no tannin bleed, unless the Linen color is masking any bleed that is taking place.

Regardless, this was our process:

Surface Prep
1- Degloss the poly surfaces
2- Fill deep grain with drywall compound
3- Sand off excess compound

New Doors and DF's
4- Brush on the shellac-based tannin-blocking primer (one coat) -- Hind sight tells me that I should have sprayed the primer on the doors because you can see some brush strokes in some places still telegraphing between all the other paint coats)
5- Lightly scuff the surface with 220 grit foam sanding blocks.
6- Spray three coats of GF Milk Paint (lightly scuff sanding between each coat).
7- Spray two coats of GF High Performance Clear Coat (non-yellowing), lightly scuff sand between the two coats
8- Install hinge and pull hardware and mount the doors/DF's on the cabinets.

Existing Cabinet Frames and End Panels
- Same as with doors and DF's, but everything was brushed by hand instead of being sprayed.
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Old 07-16-2018, 11:11 PM   #13
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Re: Painting oak trim, baseboard and cabinets


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Thanks, Gymshu. I have to tell you that the transformation was so significant that it took me over a month to NOT feel like I was walking into some super nice vacation home every time I walked into the kitchen.

From everything I read and what I recall, the 1-2-3 was the better tannin blocking approach than the BIN product. I know that it was the 1-2-3 that we used on the cabinets, though, because we still have four small panels to do to for a couple of cabinet end runs, and we still had the last can of 1-2-3 left over from the original job. I also know that we just used the 1-2-3 on the birch wainscoting.

You guys now have me questioning that choice, though, and I'm now hoping we didn't screw up with the wrong product and have to re-coat it all with BIN and topcoat -- we'll certainly know in about 3-6 months if that's the case, though, for the wainscoting because they were painted pure white. So far, though, on the cabinets, one year with no tannin bleed, unless the Linen color is masking any bleed that is taking place.

Regardless, this was our process:

Surface Prep
1- Degloss the poly surfaces
2- Fill deep grain with drywall compound
3- Sand off excess compound

New Doors and DF's
4- Brush on the shellac-based tannin-blocking primer (one coat) -- Hind sight tells me that I should have sprayed the primer on the doors because you can see some brush strokes in some places still telegraphing between all the other paint coats)
5- Lightly scuff the surface with 220 grit foam sanding blocks.
6- Spray three coats of GF Milk Paint (lightly scuff sanding between each coat).
7- Spray two coats of GF High Performance Clear Coat (non-yellowing), lightly scuff sand between the two coats
8- Install hinge and pull hardware and mount the doors/DF's on the cabinets.

Existing Cabinet Frames and End Panels
- Same as with doors and DF's, but everything was brushed by hand instead of being sprayed.
1-2-3 is water based, and is not suitable for priming varnished surfaces. BIN is what is needed. 123 doesnt adhere as good, and sure as hell doesnt block stains and tannin like BIN shellac. I dont know if you're mistaken in your products or what, but there is a VERY big difference between BIN, and 123.

Im not saying 123 doesnt work.... But it doesnt work anywhere near as good. I have used it in situations where I cant use any solvent based primers, but I still have to at least spot prime with coverstain in certain areas. It should only be used as a last resort.

Also, you cant just spray the BIN on oak. You need to backbrush or backroll, to work it into the grain. THEN, fill your grain, sand and prime it again. The second prime is a good time to use a waterbased sandable high build primer. 123 works, but theres better ones at paint stores.

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Old 07-17-2018, 08:05 AM   #14
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Re: Painting oak trim, baseboard and cabinets


Thanks for that clarification, woodco. I remember having to use MS for cleanup the first time, so we must have used the BIN on the kitchen because of the MS cleanup. Evidently, the can of 1-2-3 we had "left over" had to have been a mistaken purchase by my wife in attempt to have extra if we needed it and also have the "left over" for use on the additional four raised panels we're installing to finish up a few details. The 1-2-3 was never opened or used the first time, but it certainly is what we used on the family room birch wainscoting. That said, perhaps it will be adequate over the birch.

Now, to share the bad news with my wife that worst case, all the wainscoting and trim will have to be re-primed and re-painted again. At this point, though, I expect we will simply be taking our chances in hopes that the potential tannin bleed issue is minimal with the birch in the family room.
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Old 07-18-2018, 07:39 AM   #15
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Re: Painting oak trim, baseboard and cabinets


Talked with the wife last night, and we went back out and found the last original Zinnser primer can from the kitchen job, and it is indeed BIN. The 1-2-3 was purchased by mistake, but it is what she used on the birch wainscoting. If it bleeds and yellows, we'll just re-prime and re-paint... not too big of a job.

It's good to know that our oak cabinets won't bleed, and we caught this right before priming and painting a re-purposed oak entertainment center, so the timing on this discussion has been perfect!
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