Painting Cabinets

LATEX OR OIL: Ultimately it’s your decision, both latex paint and oil paint will do a good job. When using white as a finish coat keep in mind that oil will turn yellow (and start doing so within 6 months) where latex keeps it color without turning yellow. Latex will dry faster and have virtually no odor. Traditionally oil has been a tougher film, but the 100% acrylic latex paints are a close second. The oils will level a little better than the latex but with a little finesse the latex can be made to look very nice. When using latex always use a top quality 100% acrylic latex, they are tougher than traditional vinyl latex and have better adhesion then some oils.

APPLICATION: A sprayed finish is the best. Now there is a draw back to spraying existing cabinets. You have to mask off the entire area that is going to be sprayed – ceiling, walls, countertops, appliances etc.. Taking the doors and drawer fronts out of the kitchen to be sprayed is a good idea, then you can brush or even roll the cabinet frames.

For brush or roll applications there are additives that help the paint to level and dry smoother. For oil paint you can add FLOOD’S PENETROL or XIM’S X-TENDER. For latex paint you can add FLOOD’S FLOETROLXIM’S LATEX X-TENDER or WATER MIXED 8 PARTS PAINT AND 1 PART WATER. If rolling, stay away from foam roller and mohair rollers, they may tend to bubble the finish. On small surfaces like cabinets a 4” X 3/16” nap roller cover should give you the best finish.

If your plan does include taking the doors and or the drawer fronts off to be finished somewhere else, try to number them in an inconspicuous spot so you can put them back in the same place.

SURFACE PREP: Surface prep is about 85% of the job, but this is the part of the job most people try to cut corners on and that is why their paint jobs don’t work out as good as they should.

PAINTING OVER A CLEAR FINISH: After you decided to take them down or leave them up the first step is to clean the surface. Cleaning with LC-756 wax & grease remover will remove any waxes or silicone polishes, oils from your skin, cooking grease etc.. Solvent resistant gloves are recommended with this procedure. A two rag method works well, 1 with LC-756 on it to wet and soften the grease & oil and 1 dry to remove anything the wet one softens up. An alternative to this would be washing with TSP.. TSP is a very strong powdered soap that will cut the grease, oils, waxes but not silicones. It too requires wearing gloves as it is harsh on your skin. About 2 tablespoons per gallon of water and change the water often. When the surface is dry it needs to be sanded. This is to dull the surface and create profile not remove the clear finish from it (100 grit sandpaper should do).

PAINTING OVER A PAINTED SURFACE: Follow the same steps as above.

STRIPPING: Some old finishes need to be removed. If the finish is gummy and sticky (usually around the handle) or cracked and flaking you should take the time to remove it. After removal of the old finish you need to sand smooth with 100 to 150 grit sandpaper.

PRIMING: This is where your decision to either use latex or oil come into play. There are two latex primers to choose from. The best one and the most expensive is XIM’s UMA acrylic urethane primer. We use this primer for hard to coat surfaces such as ceramic tile, fiberglass, brick, glass, pvc and most plastics. Also UMA can be top coated with latex, oil (alkyd), urethane, epoxy or lacquer finish coats. The other latex primer we recommend is ZINSSERS 1-2-3acrylic latex primer. This primer will stick to most painted or clear coated surfaces. It can be top coated with latex or oil (alkyd) paint.

With oil primer we have a few to choose from. The best one and again the most expensive is XIM’s 400 WHITE oil base primer. Like it’s latex partner (UMA) the 400 WHITE will stick to the hard to coat surfaces but can only be top coated with latex or oil (alkyd) paint. ZINSSER makes two oil primers, BULLS EYE ODORLESS and COVER STAIN. Both have similar adhesion qualities and can be top coated with latex or oil. BULLS EYE ODORLESS is as it’s name says, it’s odorless. It’s high solids formula makes it the better covering (hiding) of the two oil primers and it’s non-yellowing. COVER STAIN has a very volatile odor and is the less expensive of the two ZINSSER oil primers.

DEEP COLORED PRIMER: If your finish coat is a deep color it is safer to use a deep colored primer to match. A great way to do this is by tinting ZINSSERS CLEAR SHELLAC. Although it is possible to tint all of the other primers you can’t make the deep colors with them. The shellac is a very fast drying material, and it also has a very volatile odor. Since this is a clear product to begin with, it dries very thin and generally you only have to scuff with a scotch brite between coats.

SANDING: After the primer has thoroughly dried you can sand with 150 to 220 grit sandpaper to ensure that the surface is smooth when you apply your finish coat. If the primer is already smooth just scuff with scotch brite to dull or remove any dust. After sanding or scuffing remove any sanding dust with a tack cloth or a lightly dampened cloth.

IT’S TIME FOR PAINT : When choosing your paint don’t skimp. Use a top quality 100% acrylic latex or a top quality urethane enamel (oil). Remember the information in the APPLICATION section on page 1 it’s very helpful. If your brushing a latex paint use a good quality nylon polyester brush and if your using oil use a good quality natural bristle brush. Shine does matter, the higher the shine the more durable the finish but if you don’t like highgloss a semigloss will work.

Painting Cabinets