Do I need 2 coats of primer on kitchen cabinets?

magglepussSeptember 5, 2010

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. We are painting the oak cabinets in our kitchen.

Here is what we have done so far:

removed the doors and hardware. Washed with tsp. sanded, all doors, cabinets, and drawers. We have alot of trim on these doors, so sanding was very time consuming.

I am still in the process of applying the first coat of primer, using BM fresh start.

We plan on painting the uppers with BM aura paint, and the lower's with BM regal pearl finish. (Base cabinets are going to be a dark color and it would not color match with aura).

Plan on sanding after primer, and in between paint coats.

I cannot see any grain through the first coat of primer, so my question is, do I need a second coat of primer?

It would save me at least 2 days of painting if one coat was sufficient. Maybe an expert here can explain why I need, or do not need the second coat.

Thanks so much for your advice.

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Like most "procedures", there will be varying opinions...!

>>> When you say "I can't see any grain through 1st coat of primer."
Do you mean:
a) The grain colors are visually hidden (but TEXTURE OF grain still shows) now, or...
b) The pitted TEXTURE OF THE GRAIN is now filled/hidden?

If you're happy with how the grain looks after the 1 prime-coat, you're good to paint!
You must've had smoother Oak to start with, OR, the previous finish was thick enough to fill most of the grain-pits. Many Oaks cabs are fairly "course-grained".

Use a good portable light source and look critically at the surface texture as-is. Turn off room lights, and just use your flashlight, etc. Use different angles of lighting.

Lotsa devilish details will now be revealed!!

I'd be REALLY surprised if Oak-grain is filled/hidden by 1 coat of primer....
Just realize that even TWO coats of paint won't fill in much more grain. That needs to be done (IF DESIRED) BEFORE any paint hits those cabs!


    Bookmark   September 5, 2010 at 10:47PM
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I'm no expert but I have done a lot of painting in the past few years including cabinets. I have found that often what I think is a smooth surface after prep, is really not so smooth once the finish paint goes on. That applies to walls, paint, trim, anything. I also woulda-shoulda caulked in more seams than I did.

How about painting one door and judging for yourself what it looks like then?

I used two coats of BM Fresh Start on my oak cabinets. And there is STILL grain showing through! (but not enough to bother me.)

    Bookmark   September 5, 2010 at 10:52PM
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Thank you both for your quick response. We have already spent many days on this project, 3 days alone just sanding. I don't want to take a shortcut now that will hurt the finished product, or negate all the hard work we have already put in. So, a second coat of primer it is.

Wendy, you must have heard us in our kitchen last night pointing out all the places that needed caulk or wood fill. This will get done today before second coat of primer is started.

Thanks again.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2010 at 9:08AM
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I don't see a reason for a second coat of primer. Finish paints cover better and fill better than a regular primer ever will. As long as you have applied a full coat of primer, the bond with the surface has been established and that is really all the primer coat is meant to do. Primer is a thin bodied product really that covers poorly and doesn't really have much 'filling' ability. It's job is to stick. Yes, I know painters that charge their customers for double priming and IMO this is called ripping people off.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2010 at 3:25PM
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Open a can of Moore's alkyd enamel undercoater and get back to me, Paintguy, about primers being "thin". That will be the heaviest gallon you ever toted; so full of solids, which fill the grain of porous woods like oak.
Nobody's going to comment on the choice of Aura and Aqua Pearl for cabinets? IMO not a really good choice unless your a flipper.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2010 at 4:47PM
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When you're checking for grain, I'd recommend doing that not just under bright light but also some indirect, shadowy light.

(PBI but Casey: What would you call an ideal paint... not primer ... choice for cabinets?)

    Bookmark   September 8, 2010 at 12:49AM
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Thanks to all for your input. I pulled out the fridge next to one of the cabinets. The side of this cabinet is not seen, but still needs to be painted. I used one coat of primer, and 2 coats of paint, and am very happy with the results. So, this is what I plan on doing. I am very happy with the results of the aura paint as well.

Thanks again

    Bookmark   September 8, 2010 at 10:52AM
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