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Thread: Painting Cabinets

  1. #1

    Painting Cabinets

    Good morning, all. I tried doing a search, but didn't find satisfactory results.

    I'm going to repaint a bathroom vanity and I'm looking for specific products recommendations for my DIY adventure. I've only ever rolled latex onto walls. When I do an Internet search, a lot of stuff comes up for pros.... spray this and that, catalyzed shellac, $75 gallons of paint, and discussions about alkyd vs waterborne vs enamel vs waterborne alkyd enamels. And then the box stores market specific "cabinet paints" which are also super expensive.... {head spinning}

    It's currently painted black with what I assume is some sort of latex paint. It's kinda glopped on and the thick parts still feel a bit soft to the thumbnail, even though it's at least 6 years old (was like this when we bought the house). Does not appear to have any sort of clear topcoat.

    My desired end result is simply a nice looking cabinet that is reasonably durable. Not a mirror finish. It doesn't have to be bullet proof and stand up to 5 year-old triplet boys or anything. Just a nice cabinet that doesn't look like it was painted by said 5 year-olds.

    Anyway, I am planning to sand everything down, not to the bare wood/mdf, but to get a smooth surface. Then brush on Zinsser Cover Stain, then apply 2 coats of paint. Sanding 220 or 320 between all coatings.

    What paint? Thin it?
    What tool(s) (other than spray) to apply to the paint? Brush, roller, foam roller, nasal aspiration??

    Any help and product recommendations are greatly appreciated.

    EDIT - I forgot my #1 priority! This is a face-framed cabinet. So I need a paint that won't cause the doors and drawers to stick on the overlap when they're closed! Thanks.
    Last edited by David Agnew; 11-23-2014 at 06:34 PM.

  2. #2
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    Well, I'm not able to get such a finish unless I spray; tough to do on an installed cabinet. Regardless, my choice of paints would be the same. To me the only paint choices would be a 100% acrylic waterborne (like BM Moorestyle interior acrylic, Pratt and Lambert Accolade, or comparable) or an oil based alkyd interior enamel. I would prime it with Zinnser BIN shellac based primer. It pretty much guarantees adhesion to anything, but even then I would clean the existing finish very thoroughly before applying it. If this will be done in place, I would likely go with one of the acrylics. They are really durable with no need to top coat with anything, none of the "blocking" (sticking to itself and other stuff), and have a nice appearance...which gets back to the application. I (because I'm a clutz with a brush) would try a few practice boards to see what it looks like. Apply the BIN to the existing, then smooth it....it will almost certainly be easier. I would try to brush the paint with a very high quality brush, and thin the acrylics as much as they allow (I think with Olympic Icon that's 10% is I recall, check the label and do not exceed what they suggest), I agree there is a lot of contradictory opinions on such matters, most of them (to me) just seem to make things harder than they really need to be. Whatever you choose to do, DO NOT use anything that might be considered wall paint, it's good for walls and not much else.
    Last edited by fred hargis; 11-23-2014 at 07:15 PM.

  3. #3
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    What Fred said - with one exception... You say there are 'blobs' of paint in spots. Before doing anything else, I'd try to remove them. Since you say they're still somewhat soft, I'd try slicing them off with a single-edged razor blade to get the surface as smooth as possible. After that, follow Fred's advice.

    I like the Benjamin Moore product, and would also suggest looking at the General Finishes lineup. I have no experience with the P&L Accolade, though.
    Jim D.
    Adapt, Improvise, Overcome!

  4. #4
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    I don't mind a brush and even get a good job on a 6 panel door.

    No denying - spray gives the best finish.

    However - with the right stuff - brushed can be very nice - but it is brushed and it does look brushed.

    THIS >> http://www.homedepot.com/p/Flood-Flo...6-04/100198078 << will help with brush strokes and help to level the paint. Slows the drying a little bit so you can feather out the paint.

    I do NOT like Behr paint AT ALL - so I will NEVER recommend it.

    My 2 favorites are Sherwin Williams and Benjamin Moore. My 3-3d choice is Valspar Premium.

    I just painted a pile of doors and trim with Ben Moore - I used the Floetrol and I thinned a "little" with water. I also use a GREAT quality brush designed for Latex and a smooth surface.

    Latex / Acrylic paints are Great paints - but they do not give the same "hard" surface as oil based. Oil based is also easier to "layout" than latex / acrylic.

    More than anything though - it is technique. Brushed CAN be done nicely - but it IS a learned event.

  5. #5
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    On a cabinet if it get the humidity of the bathroom. BTW the reason the latex still feels soft would be the amount of humidity you get in bathrooms, One really great product is One Shot paints. Very hard you can thin a bit with gum turps and get a small 6" sponge roller and roll it on and then back roll it as it begins to set up, this will give a look like spray.
    I dream a lot. I do more painting when I'm not painting. It's in the subconscious.
    ::: Andrew Wyeth :::
    colonialrestorationstudio.com

  6. #6
    Thanks for all the input, guys. Of course, lots of your suggestions were more $75 cans of paint! The keywords you guys have provided helped me sharpen my Googling. Especially the term "non-blocking".

    I think I've settled on Sherwin Williams ProClassic Alkyd Interior Enamel. It's oil based and, obviously, an Alkyd Enamel. I happen to have a couple decent quality natural bristle brushes to use. The TDS claims it doesn't need thinning, but I'll ask the guy at the store. It's also a little cheaper than some of the other products, so that's a bonus. It'll probably stink, but the bathroom has a window and an exhaust fan, so I *probably* won't die of fumes.

    Jim - yeah, the bottom edges of the doors are thicker... think they were painted vertically in place and it ran. They may need scraping. The entire thing is getting hit hard with 100grit on my ROS, so we'll see.

    Thanks guys. Pictures today or tomorrow.

  7. #7
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    I've heard nothing but good things about ProClassic, I'll be interested to hear your opinion......

  8. #8
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    YES Sherwin Williams Pro Classic - yes I have used that and it is VERY excellent --- BUT

    STILL - get a brush - MAKE - specifically for the paint - soft bristle
    The natural bristle may not give as good a finish.
    Talk to the people at the Sherwin Williams store and tell them exactly what you are doing

    STILL - use the (Floetrol) or whatever the paint store recommends --- talk to the people in the store - they may have a different produce for the oil based.

    STILL - thin a little - not a lot
    Last edited by Leo Voisine; 11-25-2014 at 05:47 PM.

  9. #9
    Well, I won't call this a disaster, because it's a builder-grade 1981 bathroom vanity that's already been painted once, but.....

    I guess I'd forgotten how hard it was to work with the Cover Stain primer. I'd previously used it on simple bookcases with no fancy routing, raised panels, etc. Large flat surfaces that were easy to level w/ the ROS. Cover Stain doesn't self-level worth a darn. I think I would've been better off going with sanding down the piece, then applying 3 top coats instead of trying to use primer.

    So, I brushed on about 30% of primer coat#1 before I gave it up as a bad job and pulled out a 3/8" nap roller. Going from black to white, 1 primer coat didn't do it.

    Primer coat #2 was 100% roller where-ever I could get it. This looks great. Except the basically-no-self-leveling aspect of the Cover Stain means it's practically a textured surface. Feels like the texture they put on basic refrigerators for many years.

    So I pull out the 320 grit on the ROS and go to town, leveling the surface. It worked ok on the flat parts. I only burned through 2 corners and a bit of one edge. But the ROS isn't going to work on the curves. So the routed bits look like a fridge while the flat bits are decently smooth.

    I picked up a 1/4" nap roller cover to apply the top coat. So I'm going to see how that looks. My guess is that I'm going to end up sanding the whole thing back down and simply use top coat for everything. Too bad the re-coat window is 24 hours.


    Re: thinning - the store said not to. The can says not to. I'm probably going to thin it just a little.

    I was using this project as a starter for two projects I have in mind (fireplace mantel and mudroom built-ins). Screw this. I'm buying an HVLP setup for those.

  10. #10
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    The "no thinning" thing is an EPA CYA. Thinning increases the COD of the paint....thin away (oil based only) and it will work better. Waterbornes can actually be screwed up by thinning excessively, so follow the label on them.

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