Painting vinyl fake wood laminate cabinet sides

bigdogloverDecember 24, 2010

We're thinking of trimming out our island with recessed panel treatment and then painting it. The island is this -- the builder used a 48" base cabinet and covered three sides of it with something like chipboard covered with vinyl laminate printed to look like wood. At least the faceframe is real maple. The long side of the chipboard does look a little concave but I hope the extra wood on it will take care of this (we'll have either two or three recessed panels on the 48" side.)

I know we could replace the three sides with plywood and real wood veneer, but the carpenter says if we do that we're getting close to the price of just building a new island.

Should we try to make this sow's ear into a silk purse? And if so, what kind of primer should we use on the vinyl stuff? I don't want to spend the several hundred dollars on the carpentry and then have it look like painted vinyl.

Thank you.

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PS I forgot to mention I'm hoping to distress the paint.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2010 at 10:50AM
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Sounds like we had an identical cabinet issue - maple frames and doors with printed laminate exteriors which looked mismatched after 15 years. We just updated ours before Thanksgiving.

Scored the laminate surface with a course grit sandpaper, primed with BIN shelac-based primer, then painted with 2 coats of Cabinet Coat. We did similar in a bathroom last year and it has held well.

Your carpenter is giving practical advise about replacement costs when considering raised panels. We did consider a different color for the island but in the end, skinned 3 sides with bead boarding to give it some distinction. It doesn't show well in photos but in real life is pleasing and wasn't terribly costly.

Hope this helps. Good luck in whatever you decide.

Here is a link that might be useful: Updated Kitchen

    Bookmark   December 27, 2010 at 7:31AM
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fnmroberts, that is really helpful, thank you so much.
Your updated kitchen is beautiful and looks like new, not repainted. Did you have the painting done professionally? If not, can you tell me how and with what you painted the maple part? It's gorgeous and I like the beadboard on the island, though have my heart set on the panelled look for mine.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2010 at 9:17AM
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bigdoglover - thank you for your very nice compliment. We're pleased with how it turned out. For about 3 years we planned a remodel with new cabinets and a minor layout change but the present housing market in our area just does not warrent such an investment.

All the painting was DIY. Same products used on all cabinet surfaces, inside and out. We cleaned with Dirtex after sanding (get corners well) and using a tack cloth to remove the dust. BIN primer is a bonding primer. Recommend the original shelac (oil) based. It dries really fast. Sacrifice a good brush as cleaning one is nearly impossible. So long as surfaces are clean it attaches. One coat of primer. After priming, caulk any floating panels on the doors with a paintable caulk followed by 2 coats of paint. I'm sure other paints are entirely suited we just selected Cabinet Coat (brand) because it is durable. As to distressing, I can't offer any advise.

The doors and drawers were painted laying flat after removing hardware. Cabinets remained in place. The only difficulty was in learning how to apply the paint as it skins rapidly so there is little time to rework runs. Learn to make long strokes going with the wood grain. Recommend doing insides first to learn.

The raised panel look you are after possibly could be made through application of trim onto your existing cabinets. I've seen it done on home bars and the look is authentic.

Good luck. We did our kitchen from appliance purchase to completion in 37 days though we had some really fast turn-time from the granite fabricator during a slow period for them.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2010 at 11:35AM
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Thanks so much for the instructions, they're perfectly understandable and great tips. Same here with not putting a bunch of money into the kitchen at this time. I'm torn between leaving the wood, which looks good but is dark (maple stained medium cherry) or taking the plunge and painting. We were going to have a pro do it, then were going to just have them replaced with white -- but that's too expensive now.

I really appreciate your help.


    Bookmark   December 27, 2010 at 10:13PM
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