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Discussion Starter #1
Hey Guys,

I'm living in a house that we built about 18 months ago. The painter finished the custom cabinets with lacquer. We have had a lot of problems nicking the finish on the cabinets. If one of the kids runs a plastic toy into a cabinet, it gouges. If I accidently hit the cabinet door with my finger nail when I am reaching to open it, it leaves a nick or scrape. I can only assume that this isn't typical.

I have a feeling that the painter made a lacquer mix that produced a finish softer than most. I would have personally preferred polyeurothane, but didn't realize he was using lacquer until after the fact. He did mention that you can't put poly on over the top of lacquer.

Any ideas why I'm having such an issue with the durability? What is the best solution?

Thanks,

David
 

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Nothing should be that soft. I think you are right on the money with it being a funky batch of laquer. You MIGHT be able to make it stronger with a coat of paint over it, but that is really hard to say without looking at it and paint is only as strong as it's weakest layer. You could also try a hair drier on a spot and see if the heat may help re-activate the chemicals in the laquer and make it cure properly.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I don't think paint is an option. These are custom knotty alder cabinets that are only a year and a half old. Is re-applying a lacquer coat a good possibility to resolve this? I think the painter only used one coat on everything.

Thanks,

David
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I also remember the painter had to go to Sherwin Williams to get something he was mixing with the laquer when he was working on the cabinets. I can't remember what it was called though. I would know it if I heard it.
 

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Cheap lacquer. lacquer is very hard. Polyurethane is harder. What makes it harder is finer resins (the binder). A smaller resin will cross-link with others to form the film as it dries. The smaller links are flatter, thus you get less area exposed at the surface and a more durable and harder film. Cabinets are typically coated with post catalyzed nitrocellulose lacquer. If your painter bought these products from a local paint store, he would not have gotten the correct materials. He may have got "precats" The other issue is shelf life. these products will only last about 6 months (precats) after the hardener was added. Seems like you either have cheap materials, old materials or a lacquer that did not have the catalyst added. Applying a new coat will chemicaly bond with the old coat. (scuff sand first) to fix the problem. Another possible problem was the area was too cold when the job was done. Or no sealer was first applied.

PS... polyurethane can be applied over a lacquer finish.
 
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