Really Necessary to Use Lacquer to Repaint Trim/Cabinets?

gilmoregalNovember 29, 2009

We have decided to have all of the woodwork in our home repainted in a soft white. This will include the kitchen and bathroom cabinetry. Currently, all of the woodwork is a medium brown painted/glazed finish which is original to the house (built in the mid-1960's). I have no idea what type of paint or glaze was used.

Our painter says that we need to use a lacquer for the best chip-resistance and recommends that we move out of the house for several days due to the fumes. I am willing to do this, but I wonder if it is absolutely necessary to use lacquer? Would any other paint be as chip-resistant? Will it yellow over time? I definitely do not want to take that chance. I asked him about BM Satin Impervo, but he didn't think it would work as well for painting over an existing painted/glazed surface. But he also prefers Sherwin Williams paints, so I wonder if that is influencing his opinion.

Would appreciate any input or suggestions before we move forward. Thanks!

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Faron79

Find a new painter!!!

I would avoid Lacquer like the Plague!!!
Due to:
* Yellowing/Ambering over time,
* It starts out a little amber too!
* High "fume" level, &
* It's NOT more durable. Pre-cat lacquers are nice...BUT...good equipment has to be used.

Your existing finish just needs to be thoroughly scuff-sanded, and ALL dust removed. This will also determine if existing layers are sound, and not flaking, etc.
* For BEST adhesion, use a top-notch primer. LIGHLTY Ssnd if necessary after ~6hrs. of drying.
* Now you've got the perfect substrate for new Cabinet paint.
* DON'T use an Oil paint...they'll amber over time too.
* Use one of the newer "Hybrid" Latex-Alkyd Cabinet paints such as ACE's Cabinet/Door/&Trim paint, or Cabinet-Coat by Insl-X.
* These are "Leveling"-type paints. This means...use good technique & brushes, and allow 16-24hrs. between coats.
* ACE's Ultra-White tint-base in this series is a nice, clean White. CC's is a little grayer.
* Both can easily be tinted though.

>>> Main benefit to painting this way...NO noxious fumes, and NO $$$/Inconveniance being out of your home.
>>> ACE's Cabinet-paint is VOC-legal everywhere. You can sleep in your house at night.

Faron

    Bookmark   November 30, 2009 at 12:19AM
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Faron79

Find a new painter!!!
(OR...ask him to broaden his perceptions...)

I would avoid Lacquer like the Plague!!!
Due to:
* Yellowing/Ambering over time,
* It starts out a little amber too!
* High "fume" level, &
* It's NOT more durable. Pre-cat lacquers are nice...BUT...good equipment has to be used.

Your existing finish just needs to be thoroughly scuff-sanded, and ALL dust removed. This will also determine if existing layers are sound, and not flaking, etc.
* For BEST adhesion, use a top-notch primer. LIGHLTY Ssnd if necessary after ~6hrs. of drying.
* Now you've got the perfect substrate for new Cabinet paint.
* DON'T use an Oil paint...they'll amber over time too.
* Use one of the newer "Hybrid" Latex-Alkyd Cabinet paints such as ACE's Cabinet/Door/&Trim paint, or Cabinet-Coat by Insl-X.
* These are "Leveling"-type paints. This means...use good technique & brushes, and allow 16-24hrs. between coats.
* ACE's Ultra-White tint-base in this series is a nice, clean White. CC's is a little grayer.
* Both can easily be tinted though.

>>> Main benefit to painting this way...NO noxious fumes, and NO $$$/Inconveniance being out of your home.
>>> ACE's Cabinet-paint is VOC-legal everywhere. You can sleep in your house at night.

Faron

    Bookmark   November 30, 2009 at 12:23AM
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Faron79

OOOOppps!

Ignore my 1st reply!! Got a not posted error...but it's there anyway?!??!
FAron

    Bookmark   November 30, 2009 at 12:26AM
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gilmoregal

Faron -

Thank you SO much for your suggestions. I was afraid that someone here might tell me to find another painter.... :(
He is a nice guy and has done some work for friends/relatives, but I think I had been questioning whether he was the right one to do our work. We plan to have all the walls/ceilings repainted as well, so it is not a small (or inexpensive) job. Unfortunately, he works in partnership with the contractor we had hoped to use in some other aspects of our home update, so we will probably have to start looking for another contractor as well.

You mention the importance of sanding before priming. I read somewhere that you should not sand anything that was painted pre-1978 due to the possibility of lead-based paint. Our home was built in the mid 60's, and I do not know what type of paint was used on the woodwork. Is there any way to test a cupboard door to tell? If not, and we assume that the paint is lead-based, what would be your recommendation for prepping the surfaces for painting?

I am familiar with Cabinet Coat as we considered it for my daughter's kitchen cabinets. However, none of the whites were what she wanted, and we were told at the paint store that it could not be tinted successfully. I did not know that ACE makes a cabinet paint that is tintable, so I will definitely check it out.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2009 at 2:00PM
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paintguy22

Why can't you just keep the painter, and have him use latex?

In regards to chipping, oil based paints and lacquers are going to chip long before a latex paint will and here is why. Latexes are flexible. Oil based paints and lacquers are brittle. This means that when you have movement in the wood, oil based paints and lacquers are going to crack while latexes will flex. This doesn't mean that latexes will never crack...it just means that you will need to have more movement in the wood before it does. The bottom line is that I have gone back into houses 10 years after I painted them with oils and they look bad, but the ones I painted with latex still look good. The reason they look bad is because when the caulk moves, the oil paint falls off so there is just cracking everywhere. It's really the same deal with lacquer. By the way, I'm not sure I ever heard of a painter suggesting lacquer for trim. It's the kind of product that can only be sprayed and it is super smelly stuff.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2009 at 3:34PM
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gilmoregal

Paintguy -

I appreciate your input. I wish I could remember exactly how the painter explained that lacquer was the best choice. I think he said something about it 'melting' into the previous finish rather than sitting on top of it, but I may have completely misunderstood what he meant.

What type of latex paint would you use if you were painting my woodwork?

And I am still wondering about how to prep possible lead-based paint without sanding it.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2009 at 4:15PM
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Faron79

G-Gal,

I should'a clarified my "Find a new painter" comment!
I hinted at it by saying "Try to broaden his perceptions...".

Yes, Lacquer does "meld" into a previous layer of same...BUT...this is only a "PROPERTY OF", rather than a "HUGE BENEFIT OF" Lacquers.
>>> As PG says...it doesn't make Lacquers "tougher".
>>> Polyurethanes are actually one of the tougher coatings...at least in the normal homeowner/contractor realm.
>>> And yes...Lacquer odors/vapours are rather "stiff"!

Lead-testing:
Small "swab-type" kits are at many hardware stores.
The better ones are sent to a lab for testing.

If lead-positive...use a good Oil-primer such as...
Zinsser's Cover-stain; their shellac-based BIN primer; or their Odorless-Oil primer.
>>> Good LATEX-primer choices include...C2-One primer; Zinsser's 123; FPE'S ECO-series primer, or the FPE Eurolux Primer/Undercoat.
(The FPE paints/primers are fairly "High-end". I've been lucky to play around with some samples. All I can say is...Wow!)

I've tinted CC a few times. They have a separate tint-base besides their "White" & "Almond" pre-tinted bases. I begin by leaving out any white in a formula, and using half the normal formula to start, and tweaking from there...

ACE designed their Cab/Door/Trim paint as just another tint-base in the line. So...with this stuff, just pick-a-color-and-go!

Faron

    Bookmark   December 1, 2009 at 12:53AM
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paintguy22

I would sand the trim, but just wear a dust mask. I would use a high quality acrylic bonding primer like C2 One. As a topcoat, I like Aura, Muralo, Grahams or C2.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2009 at 8:30AM
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gilmoregal

I am resurrecting my original post, because we put the painting project on the back burner for awhile. But we are finally moving forward, and the painter is scheduled to start next week.

I wondered if your recommendations had changed at all since I first posted this question almost two years ago? My painter is still pushing hard to use lacquer - he says that it will adhere better to my woodwork because it already has a lacquer finish. (I don't know what kind of finish it has, so I am taking him at his word.) But would this make any difference, assuming he sands and primes the wood before painting? All of the cabinet doors and drawer fronts will be new wood - but the boxes and other woodwork will be painted over the original finish.

I just want the most durable finish available - regardless of the formula. If I need to tolerate a small amount of yellowing, I guess I am willing to trade that for durability. Would really appreciate your input so that I can let the painter know what I want him to use.

Thank you.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2011 at 11:34PM
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paintguy22

It does make a small difference. You really don't have to sand that well if you are applying the lacquer over the lacquer but if you are switching to latex, then the sanding really needs to be done well. It probably doesn't add that much labor time to the job overall though. Maybe the guy just doesn't want to sand at all or he is an old timer that hasn't arrived in the latex era yet. Some painters get stuck back there and refuse to learn about new technologies.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2011 at 1:29AM
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gilmoregal

Paintguy - I appreciate your input. The painter isn't an old-timer, but he and his dad worked together for many years, so he may be more comfortable with the products that his dad used. I hope it isn't because he doesn't want to do the sanding, because I want the prep done correctly....

    Bookmark   September 15, 2011 at 11:05AM
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gilmoregal

I talked to the painter and explained that my primary concern is durability. My neighbor had her cabinets painted last year, and her painter used lacquer. She is already noticing wear and chips. For what this job will be costing, I do not want to be unhappy in a year.
I suggested BM Satin Impervo Alkyd or possibly BM Advance. He said he was not familiar with Advance but would get more info. about it and let me know the cost comparison between the two. Today he left a message saying that both are designed for brush application, not sprayer. So he thinks I would be happier with lacquer.
The online literature says both products can be sprayed on. So I am confused. I plan to stop by the BM store today to discuss.
I am wondering if this is my 'sign' to move on to another painter....

    Bookmark   September 22, 2011 at 10:51AM
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paintguy22

Of course all those products can be sprayed. But, lacquer is the easiest thing to spray. In order to spray latex, acrylic and oils, you have to be pretty good.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2011 at 8:20PM
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