Spraying vs. Rolling Kitchen Cabinets

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We are doing quite a bit of remodeling in our house including new countertops, redoing the hard wood floor, and painting the kitchen cabinets.
The kitchen cabinets were real ugly - 70's looking with huge knots. We bought some alkyd gloss Benjamin Moore paint and have been painting the cabinets with some natural bristle Purdy brushes but we can't seem to get a smooth finish. We had originally cleaned them with TSP, applied some oil-based Bullseye Primer, sanded, put on a coat of BM, sanded, and another coat of BM. Unfortunately you can still see the brush strokes. It looks good if you stand a foot away but if you look closely you can easily see the brush strokes. So, we decided to use foam rollers. We tried three different kinds from the local paint store and purposely asked for contractor grade foam rollers. Unfortunately these all leave a slight orange peel look. So now we are considering spraying.
My question is:
1) What are we doing wrong vis a vis brushing and rolling. What are some good tips to get a glass finish?
2) If we did want to spray, should we go HVLP with turbine, gravity fed, or what? I called all the local rent a centers in a 60 mile radius and no one rents the systems. I'd be buying one and do not want to spend more than $500; I'm even think of getting some touchup gravity fed gun from Lowe's or something.
Any ideas - all are appreciated!
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Also, was it a bad decision to use a $25 Purdy brush made for alkyd paint instead of going with a china bristle brush?
Should I have thinned the paint and would this help if I did thin it?
I really expected the BM paint to self-level but... so any ideas would be helpful!
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Also, was it a bad decision to use a $25 Purdy brush made for alkyd paint instead of going with a china bristle brush?
Should I have thinned the paint and would this help if I did thin it?
I really expected the BM paint to self-level but... so any ideas would be helpful!
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Assuming the cabinets are smooth to begin with I have had great luck with an almost sprayed finish look using the small 1" diameter closed cell foam rollers when painting with oil based paints.
You have a great brush but a brush typically works better on surfaces that are not smooth when painting with oil based paints.
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Thanks for your response, I appreciate it. The smallest foam brush roller I could find around here were 4", a 1" would have been marvelous and I'll have to check online to see if I can order some. What do you mean by closed cell - does that mean that the foam doesn't have the little holes all over that leave the orange peel finish?
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It's actually pretty hard to find 1" rollers online...
What are the thoughts on a mohair or lambswool roller?
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No, don't use a hair type roller.
Home Depot and Lowe's stock the 4" x 1" rollers. They are white in color. There are also the yellow ones that are very porous. Stay from them for this job.
And, yes the foam is not real porous like typical foam rubber. Not much paint soaks into them and the paint goes a long way. Be careful not to over load the roller until you get the feel.
Look here
http://www.quali-techmfg.com/Pages/rf.html
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So by 1" roller you meant 1" diameter right? I thought you meant 1" length which would be great for painting the structure of the cabinets. I did use some 4" Premium Foam Whizz foam rollers that worked OK but still leave a slight texture. I also tried a 7" Wooster pro tiz 3/16" yellow foam roller that did exactly what you said - very porous and they left a ton of bubbles. I had tried a candy stripe hair- type roller too and it worked better than the Wooster but not as good as the Whizz. I'll have to look for the white ones. Any other recommendations or specifics as I have to drive an hour to get to a Lowes or Home Depot. Thanks very much for your help!
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To add, I've been reading about those hotdog rollers recently and that looks like what you recommended; they carry that exact brand at Lowe's or Home Depot?
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IIRC Home Depot has the brand. A local paint or hardware store may even have the rollers.
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I painted our old kitchen cabinets over 20 years ago before foam rollers came into use. What I used was a small diameter x 4" long foam brush. I learned how to get a glass smooth finish with them and using a small natural bristle brush for tight corners where the roller couldn't fit.
To get the glass smooth finish took a few steps to avoid lint in the paint. 1 - Scrub the new roller with a stiff bristle brush. 2 - Vacuum the scrubbed brush to remove the lint. 3 - Put on the first coat with the roller, do not toss or clean the roller but roll it reasonably dry on newspaper then seal in aluminum foil for storage. 4 - Do not delay more than 24 hours or the roller will start drying, sand lightly to remove any lint that the first coat of paint picked up, vacuum clean, then use the roller again, it will be 99.9% lint free. 5 - This worked perfectly on semi-gloss oil paint, I still have the old cabinets, only now they are in my workshop as storage cabinets.

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GG.and.UN. wrote:

1" diameter. I get much better results with small foam rollers than with brushes. BM is my brand of paint, but gloss enamel is a bear. I tried it a couple of times, and found it dried too fast. I think it is also too brittle. Should probably be thinned, per the label on your paint.
It won't sand well unless totally cured. Beyond that, I would be very tempted to try a pro who can spray the doors. Trying for a glassy finish on knotty old wood is tough. If you want glassy smoothe, but not as high gloss, then semi might work a good deal better for you.
My one experience with spraying was using the little disposable spray kits available at box stores and paint stores. I used BM semi with them to do louvered doors. Spray pattern is very small, so they aren't suitable for larger surfaces. I used Penetrol to thin the paint, kept a small foam brush wrung out with mineral spririts to smoothe out drips and sags. Went very well.
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Our Benjamin Moore dealer likes to tell us that BM [Satin Finish] Impervo doesn't require additives but we often amend it anyway with a product called Penetrol to help level the paint. It only takes a capful or two per quart. Read the label directions if you opt to use it. I'm not sure that the Bullseye Primer was your best choice either. Is that a pigmented shellac like KILZ or Zinser? A final question: Have you removed the doors and laid them flat for painting? I've found that it always produces better leveling. Don't roll and roll and roll either. The more you work the paint the more likely you are to leave brush marks. Leon is on the money with the hotdog style rollers, we've had good success rolling slab doors and cabinet doors with them. Still, nothing beats a spray finish in my book.
--
NuWave Dave in Houston



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Thanks for your reply Dave, very informative. I've been thinking of using that exact same product to thin the pait and I'll pick it up when I go to Home Depot. I'm pretty sure that Bullseye is a Zinser product; so yes I think. Unfortunately I think your right about it being inferior and I should have went with a BM primer but it's too late for that. Zinser was recommended by the local DIY store and by Home Depot; though I usually don't trust too many recommendations from Home Depot. I'll pick up some of those hotdog rollers too. Oh, and yes we do have them taken down and laid flat.
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You may be looking at stripping, re-sanding, re-priming and re-rolling. Try sanding the stroke marks and dimples first then try re-rolling your finish coat. I'm certain Home Depot sells the hotdog rollers, we buy them in the six-pack but your Ben Moore dealer should also have the square-ended six inch rollers and we've even used 9 inch foam rollers on slab interior doors. Just try to lay down a good coat in, maybe, two or three passes and then resist the temptation to roll it out and roll it out. It will look dimpled initially but level out by the time it dries to the touch. Reload your roller often. Careful with the Penetrol; too much will flatten the sheen of the enamel. There are a lot of reasons to dislike Home Depot and their paint selection is reason no. 2 on my list. -- Dave in Houston
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GG.and.UN. wrote:

1. Nothing will beat spraying
2. No paint surface will be smoother than the underlying surface. It must be dead flat and smooth. It may be that the brush marks you are seeing are being telegraphed from a less than properly sanded undercoat.
3. Even starting with a perfect surface, a dried paint film will probably be less than perfect due to dust, uneven application, etc.
4. Oil paint is NOT dry when it feels dry. It takes several days - even weeks - to thoroughly dry and during that period the paint film continues to shrink. If it displays minor brush marks after it no longer feels tacky it may not after the paint is totally dry.
5. Good results can be achieved either with rollers or brushes. Or both. I used to paint my sizeable ketch topsides by rolling on enamel in an area maybe 3-4' wide from waterline to gunnel - around 25 sq.ft.; I'd then smooth & feather that with a 4" brush then "tip off" until the paint started to drag (set up) and then roll the next strip.
6. Paints from different manufacturers (or even the same manufacturer) behave differently and are also affected by temperature/humidity. Various additives, retarders and thinners can be used to control leveling and set up time. Marine enamels are about the best around. They are expensive.
7. Excellent colored surfaces are made the same way excellent clear ones are...apply material to a good surface, let dry, rub down with ever finer abrasives, polish. Lots of work. An easier though less perfect way is to apply material to a good surface, let dry completely, sand flat and smooth and then apply one more "shine" coat. That shine coat is a thinned down one applied as lightly and evenly as possible.
--

dadiOH
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Two coats of shellac, cut 2 lb. Spackle to fill the tearout. Those knots are history.

What was the open (workable) time for that primer? I just did a bookcase with Benny Moore Impervo satin (will definitely use again). Burgundy, so needed a dark primer. Rustoleum rusty metal (!) gave me plenty of time to lay the paint smooth with no need to sand. Dead opaque earth brown; one coat saved me three coats of Impervo.

Old, but well-cared for 2" Linzer black China bristle. Penetrol, 25%. Went on like glass. One visitor thought I used Formica.
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If you decide that you can't get the finish quality you want by brushing/rolling take a look at pigmented lacquer. Getting the tint that you want might be a little problematic but you can easily spray a flawless finish.
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Spray can or spray gun? Easy way to a pianolike finish, but expensive as hell to setup for. That's one job I'd send out, not for lack of ability.
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Well I stopped out to Home Depot and picked up some of the hotdog covers and some Penetrol and will give it a go soon. I'm going to resand everything and try again utilizing those two products. Hopefully I'll get good results! Too bad they don't make the hotdog rollers in 1" or 2" lengths for doing the framework of the cabinets. It's a pain to use the 4" rollers because of overroll (I hope that's the roller's version of overspray).
I did do a test roll with the hotdog roller and some Penetrol mixed with the paint and it seems like the paint takes much longer to dry. Does anyone recommend using some Japan Drier as well to counteract this or is it a desirable effect since the paint will have more time to level? The downfall to this longer drying time is dust and small hair particles...
Thanks for all the help!
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