I'm about to paint my kitchen cabinets. Actually I did it once a number of
years ago. They were finished with varnish or polyurethane (not sure
which). I sanded, etched, and sprayed them with Zinsser, then with an oil
based enamel. They didn't turn out particularly well or bad for that
So anyway I need to re-do them and I'd like to do a better job than before.
Last time I bought a $100 Wagner airless sprayer.
So this time around I want suggestions. What material and what equipment.
I use a brush. I brush on a couple of coats of sandable enamel undercoat
sanding between coats. Then I brush on a couple of coats of oil based
enamel. Oil based paint is getting hard to find. I would shop at a high
quality paint store.
For painting kitchen cabinets, I'd use the same process I would any
other interior woodwork...
Sand, clean, prime with sandable primer. Depending upon the level of
finish I want, I may repeat this step up to two more times.
After all the priming has been done, clean them well. Use a tack-cloth
to get all the dust off. Let the dust settle for a day and do it
again. Then, after masking off all the rest of the house (a closed
doorway or drop cloth tacked up across an open doorway will do the
trick) and after masking off all the surrounding areas that I didn't
want painted, I'd begin with a high quality oil based enamel. If I
want an exceptional finish, I use a sprayer and thin the paint just a
bit. If I want to rush, I use Japan Dryer so the paint dries faster-it
lessens the amount of time between coats.
Spray a coat. Let it dry. Sand, clean, repeat. Two or three times.
Thin coats are better than heavy, unless you are a good judge of when
to stop spraying, in which case you spray until the paint flows
together, and then stop.
It is lucky you are doing this yourself. The cost in this kind of
project is the labor, not the materials and equipment. As for the
equipment, I like a HVLP sprayer.
(Remove the Primes before e-mailing me)
Today I purchased a Graco XR7 airless sprayer for about $450. Decided not
to get a bottom-of-the-line unit since I'll be using it a lot over the next
The paint salesman said that a good quality Latex paint, mixed with Floetrol
should give a good finish when applied with the airless sprayer. I am
somewhat dubious about that - I always considered latex to be a cheap
imitation of "real" paint (oil based). But based on his recommendations
I'll go ahead with latex. I'll start the process and post the results
Another thing I learned is that oil based paint is getting pretty hard to
find. Lowes had just a couple of cans. I wanted a very bright white for
the cabinets rather than just a plain white. That also helped me decide to
go ahead with latex. Also, nowadays all the oil based paint is labeled that
it is to be used only over metal substrate and only for commercial
applications. The paint guy said it's the same oil-based paint they always
sold, they just label it that way for legal reasons - to discourage
homeowners from using it because they usually don't dispose of waste
Surface prep is MOST important, if it were ME I would brush it and add
that flow stuff so its smoother.
Brushing washes the paint into the surface below, whereas spraying just
applies a coat. it doesnt adhere as well and cabinets take lots of
so sand all surfaces, wash down and rinse repeatedly, let dry a few
days, since water can get into cracks, use tack cloth, prime, sand
again, tack cloth again, then finish coat.
since I am basically lazy brushing is less work, and besides getting
into every crevice with a sprayer is tough.
let us know how it comes out
The formulation of oil paint has changed so much because of environmental
issues that it just isn't the product it was years ago. But conversely,
latex/acrylic paints have also changed, and are now much more like the old
oil-based paints. That's why you don't see oil-based paints around much
in the words of the immortal Sgt Schultz:
Latex paint can stick to items setting on it for years after its been
applied. I would shop at a paint store not Lowes. I would make certain I
had a good sales person and that the paint I purchased was suitable for
cabinets. Don't rush the dry time. I have never had latex paint work for
cabinets. If I was to try some today I would give it a through test before
Amen. And latex scratches easily. Will not dry hard enough for
cabinets. I painted mine with a brush 25 years ago using primer, and
then oil-based semi-gloss paint, and smoothed it with a flat paint pad
while it was still wet. Came out smooth as glass. I have painted them
only twice since. Three times in 25 years isn't bad! And they look
Here's an idea: how about prepping them well and painting them
carefully with a brush the first time around and using your paint
sprayer the next time? With a solid base coat (or coats) the sprayer
would work well for a second go around.
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