Cabinet painting help needed

tealeaf1012February 11, 2013

I posted this on the painting forum, but I don't think that forum is very active. I am hoping someone over here can help me! I am a little stressed about wanting to make sure I do the best job possible with this project.

I have 1990's golden oak cabinets that I am planning to paint cream/white. I have cleaned them and am planning to sand. I was planning to use zinsser cover stain on as the primer and benjamin moore advance for the paint. I am worried about the fumes in the house with the coverstain. Is oil based the best option, and is it safe as long as I don't have the kids overexposed to the kitchen for the first few days it is drying?

Are any of the other zinsser water based primers as good, such as the smart prime or the odorless oil based stain blocker (how is that possible by the way to be odorless and oil based?) Does anyone have experience using these other products on cabinets... especially for ones with noticeable grain like oak?

Would it be a bad idea to use a water based primer on the boxes in the kitchen (where my kids are going to be), and then use the zinsser coverstain on the doors when I paint them in the basement (where the fumes won't be as bad for the kids)? Is that a good compromise, or could the finish look different if I use different primers even with the same paint on top?

I am just wondering if I have any other alternatives for me. I want the smoothest finish and the best coverage for the grain. I am afraid a latex/acrylic won't absorb well enough into the wood.

If I use a water based primer, is the advance still ok to put on top? I get confused because the advance is considered a hybrid...

I would love the easiest cleanup possible, but don't want to give up the durable hard finish of an oil.

Also wondering if I should consider fine paints of europe brushing puddy, or is that just more work than it's worth? I don't think I actually mind the wood grain showing slightly as long as it is fully covered color wise.

Sorry for the 10,000 questions!!

Thanks in advance, Tara

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No, you NEED an oil based primer here. Shellac based preferably. Otherwise you will have bleedthrough of stains from grease or wood tannin. If you are worried about the fumes, wait a few weeks until spring weather will allow you to open the windows. Good ventilation is all you need.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 6:41AM
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I use B-I-N Zinsser shellac based primer for all my painting projects, am a huge fan of the stuff, works great -- as in the paint adheres well when this is underneath it. The water based zinsser is not the same, and does not work well in my experience, I'd avoid it. However good ventilation for the shellac based stuff is a must, not optional. Do not prime when you can't have windows open for cross ventilation. Do not. It dries fairly quickly (compared to oil-based products), if you can't wait for spring, at least wait for one warm day.

Primer is not going to completely cover your grain, you'd need to use a filler for that.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 8:19AM
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I used the brushing putty on some cabinets I redid last year. It definitely fills the grain better than anything else will but it will add huge cost to your project and tons of time. I didn't find it to be the easiest product to work with and I had to do two coats of it (with significant dry time in between). I should have done three but that would have required buying more and it's very expensive. Plus if you are worried about fumes (I don't blame you), I recall it being far worse than the Zinsser. But here's the rub: if you don't do it (or use some other product but I don't know what), you will see grain through the paint. It's actually not a look I mind, especially in dark cabinets. I learned (too late) that it is very sensitive to temperature and it worked much better when I added Floetrol to it. If you do decide to use it, call FPE and talk to them over the phone for some advice. They are so helpful and nice.

I second that you have to use an oil-based primer, unless you will sand down to bare wood, which would be labor intensive and unnecessary.

I was planning on refinishing our kitchen cabinets myself until I did the cabinets in my office at work first. It took so much time (at least three weeks and that's working in them every day they weren't drying) and so much money in paint,etc. and I wasn't thrilled with how they came out. I will say they have held up very well and they are fine for my office but I wouldn't want to look at them up close in my kitchen every day.

This post was edited by wi-sailorgirl on Tue, Feb 12, 13 at 8:35

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 8:33AM
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Yes, oil is the only way to go on the primer. I was worried about the fumes around my kids, too, and started with the water based primer before switching. It was a disaster! Ended up redoing quite a few.

Could you send the little ones off to grandma's or somewhere fun for a day or two while you open all the windows and get the cabinet boxes done? By the following day, the smell dissipates a lot. I hate to recommend a toxic product, but I just don't think you'll be as happy with the outcome otherwise.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 9:31AM
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