Painting Cabinets Advise


I bought paint-ready custom kitchen cabinets. They will be arriving shortly and I'm wondering what the best way to paint them is. I want to achieve a smooth cream, white finish. I will need to paint only doors since the insides of these frameless cabinets will be finished. Should I spray them or use a brush. Also would oil based paint be the best? What kind of primer should I use? How are the "glaze" finishes achieved on cabinets?
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mkownas wrote...

For spraying cab doors, lacquer works best. Use a flat white undercoater tinted with a little UTC to give the color you want, then top coat with clear. Waterbased lacquer will work fine. Nitro lacquer will have a yellowish tint to the topcoat, so make a start to finish sample to make sure you like the end result.
If you're not already familiar, comfortable, and set up to spray lacquer, painting the doors with a brush would work fine, especially since you want to add a glaze. The brush strokes will give extra nooks and crannys for the glaze to settle into, and will actually enhance the antiqued look.
I don't know if there is really any advantage to using oil paint or using modern latex paint; they can both give fine results, and it's probably best to use the one you're most familiar with. Use the primer that's made for the paint you choose. If you choose latex, you should raise the grain & lightly sand the doors first, or you won't get a very smooth finish. Oil-based paint won't raise the grain, and will give a glossier finish if that's what you're after.
Glazes are available as either latex or oil based tint bases. Pick out a paint chip color you like, and the paint store folks can tint the glaze for you. The UTCs in the glaze tint tend to stain the underlying paint finish a bit, so if you want cream as the final color, you might try starting with a just barely off-white paint, and topping with a yellowish brown glaze. THe glaze will dry plenty dark enough to provide a nice accent, and should stain the paint to your cream color. Again, do a finish sample using exactly the same steps and procedures you intend to do on the doors, to make sure the final color is acceptable.
In short, lacquer will give you the smoothest finish. Oil-based with a real good brush will give you a nice finish, but the glazing will exagerate the brush strokes. Flat latex, without raising the grain or using a primer, top coated with glazing, will give you the most antiqued look.
-- Timothy Juvenal www.tjwoodworking.com
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Some years ago I did a kitchen's worth of cabinets from low cost kits. I finished them starting by sanding with 100 grit and then 220 grit. An orbital sander helped a lot. Then I applied one coat of shellac with a brush. Sand. Apply one coat of oil based gloss enamel with a brush. Let dry at least a day, two is better. Sand again with 220 grit. Apply a second coat of enamel with a brush. Let dry again, sand again with 220 grit. Wipe off the dust. Wax with Butcher's floor wax. This finish stood up well for 9 years, at which point, I sold the house. The finishing took some time, but the results were good enough to brag about to guests.
At the time I didn't have a spray gun. If you have a one, then spraying on lacquer is the way to go. You have to spray lacquer because lacquer dries so fast that the brushmarks don't have time to level before the stuff is hard. The shellac primer is cheap, offers a good surface for the finish coats and dries fast. The air pollution folk are driving oil based paint off the market, but I feel oil paint makes a stronger film, better able to stand up to the fingerprints, grime, and scrubbing that kitchen cabinets are subjected to. It would be worth shopping around for oil based enamel. You might mention to your decorating consultant (significant other) that custom colors are available and could achieve a more custom look than off-white (aka landlord white).
David Starr
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com says...

If the doors are made from MDF, use a water-based primer/undercoat, that is the advice that I have received from paint pros. For doors I would recommend either brushing with oil based enamel paint, or spraying with laquer or oil based enamel -- latex type paint is not considered to be wear resistent enough for doors. With all spray applications, if you can spray properly and use gloss or high gloss products, you will get a very smooth and shiny finish. (remember to sand lightly between coats) If you want super looks, consider taking your paint and the doors to a professional spray painter, they have dust free, temperature controlled spray booths that will give an unequalled result.
-P.
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