Anyone paint oak cabinets...and regret it??

momto4boysMay 21, 2009

I went to Benjamin Moore's today to get paint to take on our kitchen cabinets. Dh took tomorrow off, and with Mon being a holiday. That would give us four days. A GREAT start.

Well, I left empty handed.

The paint guy had me so scared about doing this, I was in tears. I FINALLY decide to just do it, and now I'm freaked out. He tells me oak isn't meant to be painted over. The grain shows terribly. And he has people coming back all the time, dissapointed in the end result.

Dh said it's like the guy at McDonald's talking me out of a cheeseburger, LOL.

I think it was more like him trying to talk me into a grilled chicken sandwich :) Doesn't look as good. Not what I REALLY want. But, better in the long run.

As he was trying to convince me to just use a gel or one step stain to change the appearance of my horrid honey oak cabinets. He showed me several examples. Not bad. Not painted cabs, though. Sigh.

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It's a good idea to have a look at oak cabinets that have been painted and make sure you like it. We had someone try to talk us out of it too, but we had seen it done and like the wood grain showing through. Here's a picture of our island, the grain is obvious, but I love it! Keep in mind, we had them sprayed, I'm not sure how you are going to do it, and what the difference in how it looks might be.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2009 at 7:28PM
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I echo pattyk64's advice. Look at oak cabinets that have been painted. I've seen several examples lately and I've decided that I do like seeing the grain show through. I'm not as brave as you - we're hiring this done.

One of the contractors I talked to said he hears all the time that oak should never be painted but he said the problem is when it's painted badly. This is a company that refinishes, refaces and paints, not just paints, so I don't think he has a bias for or against painting.

I will say that the samples I saw in his showroom were all oak doors that had been painted and distressed. Not at all what I want to do but I was able to check out how well they were painted.

I think the key - at least I hope so - is to do proper prep, tedious but necessary work with protective top coats over the paint. I asked both contractors how they painted oak cabinets. They sand, prime, sand, prime, sand, paint, sand, paint, sand and then add 2 top coats. One of them might have done another coat of paint, too, can't remember for sure. Oh, and they spray, too, not brush. Anyhoo, that's a lot of work and more than I'm willing to take on. And mind you, I'm not against DIY stuff. Hubby and I are finishing up the more than 200 ft of stacked rock wall work in our garden, a project we began just over 2 years ago. Don't even ask me how many tons of rock I've picked up ... and picked up and picked up and picked up. ;-)

Love your kitchen, pattyk64! What color did you choose to paint? Is that a dark brown or a black?

Here is a link that might be useful: painted oak cabinet door

    Bookmark   May 21, 2009 at 8:48PM
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Thanks lisa_a!
The island is black and the perimeter cabs are BM Navajo White. We still have the painting and backsplash to do, but it's feeling really close to being done. :D

    Bookmark   May 21, 2009 at 9:50PM
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I didn't paint my oak kitchen cabinets, but I do regret that it was done.

We bought this house almost 2 years ago and the previous owner had painted all the oak kitchen cabinets white in an attempt to freshen up the look. The layout is so atrocious I knew it would be a full gut as soon as we could afford it so I wasn't that worried about it. Now I wish it had not been done because it was done so poorly that even ugly oak cabinets would have been better. The grain shows through alot, which looks nice in pattyk's brown colour but horrible in white. Also they did not do any prep or sealing, just painted with latex wall paint so it is now chipping around the knobs and on the corners.

This does not mean that I think you should not paint your oak cabinets. If done correctly it can look really good. I had a friend paint her oak bathroom cabinets red a few years ago and it was stunning. It took her almost a month working whenever she could around job and family schedules to do all the sand/prime/paint/seal so many times but the effort was very much worth it.

Good luck and don't forget to keep us informed and post pictures.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2009 at 9:52PM
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The oak cabs in my basement of my old house were painted, and the grain showed through. Didn't bother me, but it was a basement.

When I redid my master bathroom, I painted our oak vanity cabs. I sanded lightly, did a coat of Kilz 123 primer, sanded lightly, did a second coat of primer. Then sanded again, and did two coats of paint (sanding lightly in between). Worked like a charm. I didn't see noticeable grain, if any at all. I then took some glaze and worked it into the corners and I loved it. I ended up painting over the glaze only because when we put it back in our bathroom, the paint/glaze color didn't work with our tile and wall paint, so I painted it a solid white.

I am not an expert and I probably should have put a sealer or top coat on the cabs after painting, but as far as grain showing through, if you take your time and do it right, it can work like a charm, and the grain will be nearly invisible!

    Bookmark   May 21, 2009 at 10:28PM
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Do not paint the oak without looking at another piece of oak painted. My sister painted an oak fireplace cabinet and it cost her the money of the cabinet, the paint, and hours and hours of work. She said she would never do it again. I like the grain of oak when it is stained, but I personally do not like to see the grain through paint. Maybe you could buy some type of used oak furniture at a garage sale and try it on that first. I think there is some truth to what the guy at the paint store said. He would have loved to have sold you a bunch of paint and he didn't.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2009 at 10:29PM
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Please post more pictures of your kitchen, pattyk64. I'd like to see your perimeter cabs painted in Navajo Cream. TIA!

    Bookmark   May 21, 2009 at 10:32PM
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I had saved these pictures from a post last year, and for the life of me, I can't find the original thread or the poster's name. If anyone can claim their kitchen (and I remember she told the process which she used to do this), please do so! My apologies, but I thought I'd share the pics anyway... This IS painted oak!!!!

    Bookmark   May 21, 2009 at 10:44PM
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The kitchen's not done yet, so I don't want to take an overall pic yet, but here's a few of the Navajo White cabs. Sorry that the lighting is not the best, but when the kitchen is completely done, I'll post more.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2009 at 11:37PM
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The pics annettacm posted were by nodirthere. Here's the link to it that I saved:
We painted ours and distressed them and love them but if distressing is not what you want, I thought nodirthere's turned out beautifully.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2009 at 12:09AM
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Sorry for the hijack, but pattyk_64, would you mind sharing what granite is on your island? It is very lovely.

Thank you!

    Bookmark   May 22, 2009 at 2:42AM
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Thanks shelayne, it's called Caledonia Dark. I'm very happy with it, it's a nice mix of black, tan, grey & cream.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2009 at 3:03AM
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What's the look you are going for? Are you trying to hide the grain? It can be done but obviously it's more work. First clean doors with TSP. Prime(light coat)then use a grain filler or spackle, sand, prime,let it sit for a while. The more it dries the more the grain will show(very important).There's a lot of factors that determine how many steps after that. Like I said, what the final look you want is. What material you're using. How you apply it (probably best it invest in a inexpensive sprayer (it can do in a few hours what it would take days) foam roller would be second choice. I would have to know the other factors before I could say what additional steps I would do. Color? How detailed the doors are? Gloss level? Glaze if any? How much work you're willing to do? How perfect you want it. I could get an oak door to be as smooth as glass, but would I want to. Not trying to discourage you but a really good job is a lot of work.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2009 at 3:20AM
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Wow! Thanks for the responses, pics and links!
Patty, I think your cabs look beautiful. Honestly, I'm not against the grain (no pun intended, lol) I think the guy maybe tried to make me think that was a bad thing??
I'm looking at my bedroom door right now and it's white, and definitly shows the grain. BUT...I've never even noticed it until now.
We painted kid's bathroom cabinets last month. I will say, painting..not dh's strong point. That's probably where my fear is coming in. There are a LOT of brush strokes that I can see. Course, I have to get down level with them. For what they are, it's no big deal. But, when it's in my kitchen. TONS of natural light, and they're eye level. I worry that's where I'll have the problem.
My other fear is the durability. Like lulu mentioned, the chipping.
I have slight OCD. When things are out of order, or a mess I can't take it. (So no cabinet doors for awhile may cause me to lose my mind)
Obvisiously from my name here, I have four boys. And three dogs. We're all pretty rough on things. If I hear a crash in a kid's room, first thing I do is run in and check the walls, lol. Make sure there's no paint chips, THEN check to see if anyone's bleeding :)
How will I be with painted cabinets??? Will I be a wreck every time I hear a hot wheel smash into the toe kick, or dh banging a pot against the door???

I've struggled with paint color. First, we were going white. We painted the walls red, and FINALLY just replaced the counter a couple wks ago. Then, I decided I wanted to try black. I've now opted to ditch the red paint, and do uppers white and lowers a gray/green. It's the look I love and I'm drawn to all the time.
I have white appliances so I think doing the lowers a color other then white, yet not as stark a contrast as black will work ok.
I know it wouldn't be a perfect paint job. But, could I live with it being less then? And I know this should be a deal breaker for me, but we don't plan on being here more then another few yrs. Is it worth the work? Will it hurt my resale?
It's a 4 yr old cookie cutter house, that I'm just DYING to do my own thing with.

jdesign, and to answer a few questions. We planned on going with Benjamin Moore. The one I wanted they said I couldn't use in the color I chose. Not sure why again, cause I was zoning out by then, lol. I'd love to spray them, but dh is afraid to try. So, roller and brush it is. No glaze, not a fan of really high gloss. Didn't plan on distressing them. And dh doesn't want to deal with oil based. That's a problem..right???
We're really not that afraid of the work. Well, I'm not afraid of making dh do all the work and me just shouting instructions from the computer :) :)

Thanks again!!!!
here's a pic. we were also taking on tiling the backsplash this weekend. hmm, four days may not be enough :)

    Bookmark   May 22, 2009 at 8:21AM
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Our oak cabinets were already painted cream when we moved in a few years back. We have been updating the kitchen a bit at a time and are now getting ready to repaint the cabs white. The grain shows a bit, but it doesnt bother me at all.

For some great cabinets painting advice check out the "paint" forum here on Garden Web. Lots of pics and such to help you make your decision.

Cheers! and Good Luck!

    Bookmark   May 22, 2009 at 9:38AM
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I painted two sets of kitchen cabinets white so far.
I learned to SPRAY from the CAN an excellent primer called b-i-n primer (bought at Lowes or HD) and Kylon white paint. Both dry very smooth. So NO brush streaks. The mor*ns on TV are always brushing and if you watch carefully the corners, edges and curves are horrible.)Read the cleaning instruction first. Paint does not stick to grease. I tested many, many primers which turned out to be garbage for painting cabinets. Kylon spray primer is also excellent but you have to sand it down lightly afterwards. (When I say a primer is excellent, I mean it dries flat and it STICKS; I tried many scraping tests. What's great on a porous wall may not stick on a slick cabinet.)

    Bookmark   May 22, 2009 at 10:27AM
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Go for it! I painted some oak cabinets in my last house, and was SO happy with the results. Definitely spray the doors, and be sure to fill in any gaps in the doors or framing first with caulk, because they will show when painted. I washed the cabinets with TSP, then used liquid sandpaper to rough them up. I used two coats of BIN primer, then used two coats of oil based paint. I also added a paint thinner that helps hide brush strokes (sorry, can't remember the name.) I honestly never sanded the whole time - maybe I should have, but I was happy in the end, and wished that I had the guts to do it sooner.

I understand your concern about chipping - an easy thing to do is to just simply keep a small jar of touch-up paint right in your kitchen, then pull it out and do a couple minutes of touch-up when needed. I had little kids in my painted kitchen, and I would touch up a few times a year. It really was not bad! Actually, I'm much more concerned about my factory painted new cabinets I have now, because touching them up will be less of an option.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2009 at 11:16AM
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Definitely recommend checking out the Paint Forum here. There are several pros that generously contribute their time and advice there. I've learned SO much about paint technique from reading/researching over there.

BTW, your kitchen is looking great! Love the changes you've made so far.

Here is a link that might be useful: Paint Forum

    Bookmark   May 22, 2009 at 11:24AM
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When we re-did our kitchen, my dad sanded, primed and painted our old oak/veneer cabinets to hang in the laundry room. They look nice in there -- they are white and the grain does show even with several coats of paint.

I think it is a cheap way to update an out-of-date kitchen. I probably wouldn't want to live with it for 20 years, but that's just me.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2009 at 11:34AM
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Your kitchen is lovely (love the red) and if those cabinets are oak, they are much nicer than mine. The grain pattern on mine is much more noticeable and therefore busier.

If you and your husband aren't good painters, DON'T paint your cabinets! I think you'll hate a poor paint job more than you dislike your existing cabinets, especially since you have OCD. As others have pointed out, this isn't a weekend project. It takes time and effort to do it well. Either save the money to have a professional paint them or leave them alone. There are other ways to make the kitchen your own: add a backsplash, change the cabinet hardware, cut our a door panel or two and replace it with glass (or hire someone to do this) are just a few ways to add your personal stamp on your kitchen.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2009 at 1:32PM
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Thanks everyone!

We talked to a different BM guy today. He ALMOST had us convinced to rent a sprayer. That was after we said we'd use it for doors only, not the inside. Cause, way do we wanna take on that mess.
I THINK dh could do it. Luckily, rain is in the forcast for the weekend so that'll give us some time to gear up. IF it's what we decide to do.
Lisa, I agree. What we have is better then a mickey mouse job..for SURE.

We ended up at Lowes, bought a tile cutter, subway tile, grout, the works. And dh is currently putting in my backsplash :) I know the white will be too stark with the oak. Least, I THINK. If we can pull it off, we may just leave it alone.
But, if not we're thinking about taking doors off cabs tomorrow and sanding/priming. Doing the same to the boxes and maybe even getting a coat of paint on them Sunday, then again Monday. And rent a sprayer next weekend for the doors.

We could rent a sprayer for $60, or buy a cheapo one for about the same. One any better then the other? Anyone know?
And am I going to regret not using oil based paint??

    Bookmark   May 22, 2009 at 6:36PM
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We have a friend who painted his oak cabinets and definitely regrets not using oil base paint. We are planning to paint ours and will use oil base.

On the sprayer, we plan on using the cheapo from Harbor Freight. DH is skilled at this stuff and believes he can get good results with the cheaper sprayer. Either way, it's best to practice on something else first.

There is a paint I read about somewhere that is not oil base, but adheres like oil base paint and cleans up easier. Maybe someone in the paint forum has heard of this.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2009 at 7:07PM
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momto4boys-you may hate me if you get this stuff, not because it does not work, it most definitely does. you will probalby not be too happy with the fumes and the extra work involved. but, it does work. i was going to do this with my ash cabinets before we decided to go on and just rip them out and get all new made. this stuff is so awesome and just the neatest stuff to work with. it has a strange/different feel to it. i don't know how else to describe the way it feels when brushing it on. it goes on like rubber almost. its really thick, but very creamy. it self levels beautifully! when it dries, you sand it down. its sooooo smooth. i did a bathroom vanity to practice on before i did my kitchen. in the end though, i'm glad that we decided to do new cabs because it was the middle of winter for one and the smell would have killed us. check it out. it from finer paints of europe

Here is a link that might be useful: brushing putty

    Bookmark   May 22, 2009 at 9:38PM
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No regrets here after painting our oak cabinets!

If you do your homework and know it's what you want, don't let paint store guy discourage you.

I say take your time and you will be okay. I did my kitchen in sections and it took two of us approx 4 weekends to sand, prime, paint and glaze my cabinets.

I'm no expert but the amount of graining may be dependent on how rough/grainy your cabinets are to begin with.

For instance, my kitchen came out pretty smooth with some oak grain showing through. I really like the look.

On the other hand, I have a cheapie Menard's cabinet we used elsewhere that was an unfinished oak to begin with. I painted it without sanding and it is very grainy. I'm okay with the look but if it were in my kitchen I'd be unhappy.

For sanding we used a small orbital sander - worked great. Then primed with Kilz Premium. Painted with Behr Satin finish, glazed with a raw umber I bought at Lowe's. The cabinets were done over a year ago and no regrets and no chipping.

We have just two of us and two large dogs so maybe they would show more wear if we had little ones? But I figure if a certain cabinet starts to look bad I'll just strip and re-do if necessary. My attitude is, It's only paint!

Painting was the answer for us and a lot cheaper than new cabinets. In my case the layout was good and the cabinets were in good condition so I could not justify new.

Here are some pics...

Before painting

After painting (both pics are the same paint color, just different lighting)

    Bookmark   May 22, 2009 at 9:54PM
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where did you buy your drawer pulls?

1 Like    Bookmark   May 22, 2009 at 11:03PM
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They are from Richelieu, which I think is a Canadian company. They are available at Rona here in Canada, not sure where else. We ordered them through a contractor friend of ours.

Here is a link that might be useful: richelieu pulls

    Bookmark   May 23, 2009 at 2:37AM
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Do it - it's going to look wonderful.

If you do decide to go the brushing route rather than spraying, you can minimize those brush marks by using a small foam roller. I usually brush on a light coat first and then go over with the foam roller with a minimal amount of paint on it.

Ben Moore's Aura is suppose to be great for cabs, but not good for spraying. I've had mixed results with putting it on, but must admit that the end product is hard as rocks and dried hard VERY quickly.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   May 23, 2009 at 10:34AM
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Prestonbeary - Your cabinets look great. Just looking at the pics makes me want to start painting today.

Momto4boys - There are several other painted oak kitchens on FKB that turned out great. In your household almost any finish you choose will show wear, especially without the glaze or a distressed look. You should probably stay away from white cabinets.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2009 at 10:56AM
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steff, I really do think we'd regret not using oil. We'll see. Maybe slap on some rubber gloves and open all the windows and give it a try :)
I've got some furniture pieces I've been wanting to paint. Maybe I should give them a try first. See just how bad it is to work with.

teppy, I felt the same with chalkboard paint. Just thought it was cool to work with. I'll definitly look into this, thanks!

preston, Beautiful!! Seriously, now I want glazed cabinets, LOL. But, I don't think I could pull that off with my white appliances. That finish really makes it look ilke a piece of furniture, doesn't it? I could see where any imperfections and all the grain looks like it's just meant to be.

budge, I've heard of the Auro. But, can't recall the BM guys showing it to me in all the times I've been there. There was one they suggested, until I said I wanted to go with a darker color. And guess that's not an option for a darker tint. I'll ask about it when I go in again.

steff, I agree. White lowers for sure wouldn't work well for us. One of the reasons I want to do dark. That, and I just love the look! Guess I'll just have to keep the kids, dogs and husband out of the kitchen :) And keep a little can of paint under the cabinet for when I start swingin' pots and pans around myself, lol. I'm probably harder on them then anyone else. Yikes!

    Bookmark   May 23, 2009 at 11:40AM
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So I've been following this thread but don't know as I've kept all the details straight. How's the backsplash coming? If you do white uppers and dark lowers depending on what your backsplash color is, could you keep the red paint? (less work...and I think it looks good) Your kitchen has good bones from what I can see in the pictures you've posted.
I'm currently painting 30 year old dark oak cabinets BM Aura white dove. These are in my utility room and a select few uppers with glass fronts to reuse in my kitchen to create a hutch. I basically used the directions from the link below.
I don't expect 'new' cabinets but I do want them to look refreshed. I'm changing out the hardware and hinges too.

Here is a link that might be useful: cabinet painting directions

    Bookmark   May 23, 2009 at 12:17PM
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Oh, the backsplash is coming...slowly. DH has never attemtped such a DIY project before. So, we shall see by the end of the day :)
The backspash is just white subway tile. When it's finished, if it doesn't look freakishly stark with the oak cabs, there's a small chance we'll leave things as is for now. I had green counters until a couple of wks ago. I painted the walls red knowing we'd change them out. But, were unable to get to them right away. I've lived in a Christmas kitchen for two yrs, lol. And it's been driving me NUTS! I'd really like to keep the red, because I love the way it looks in the eat in area. Just not a fan of it in the kitchen with the oak cabinets. I mean, it's "ok". I just don't think it's doing the oak any favors.
But, open to the living room that has lots of works.
If we painted the cabinets, it's gotta go. I want to do gray/green lowers. Something similiar to this. But, I know it's not going to look exactly like it. Different appliances, we won't be raising the cabs, doing floating shelf, etc. (although that was the plan a few months ago. I got tons of negative feedback on raising cabs)

White dove is what we just did in the boy's bathroom, and I loved the color. It wasn't Aura, though. It was BM paint, low luster metal and wood enamel. (just ran out to garage to see what it was) It's the same thing they suggested for the kitchen. But, it's been over a month since we did that. And I could easily scratch them up if I wanted to. I tapped on the inside with my nails yesterday, and it left marks :( But, they said it could take about a month to cure. Thus, the reason my boys are brushing teeth in OUR bathroom these days :)

    Bookmark   May 23, 2009 at 12:47PM
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Lol. I LOVE raised cabs. Just sayin, I musta missed that thread!

    Bookmark   May 23, 2009 at 10:22PM
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pattyk_64, are your white cabinets glazed? It doesn't look like they are but it's hard to tell in photos. I've been hunting for photos of white/cream painted oak cabinets without glazing and they're pretty hard to find. I think I prefer the unglazed look (that said, your cabinets are beautiful, prestonbeary!).

What led me down the glazed path is that I had been told (can't remember by who) that glazing helps hide the dust and such that will collect in the nooks and crannies of raised panel doors. Wood doors hide a multitude of sins but white or cream painted doors bare all. Was someone feeding me a line of blarney about the usefulness of glazing?

Another question for you, pattyk_64. I realized after looking at your cab photos a few times that you have raised panel doors on the perimeter cabs and inset doors on your island. I don't think I've seen the two styles mixed in the same kitchen before so I'm curious how this came about. TIA!

How goes your project, momto4boys?

    Bookmark   May 24, 2009 at 1:30PM
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I'm about to fire my tile guy :) (dh)
He has one run ALMOST finished. Another to go as well as some bullnose pieces to add.
And to think, we had plans for back splash in ONE day. And getting cabinet doors off, primed and one coat of paint in the other three. HAHAHAHA!
Clueless do it yourselfers. What can I say ? :)

    Bookmark   May 24, 2009 at 3:50PM
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lisa, my cabinets are not glazed, we also prefer the cleaner look of them this way. It's too soon to tell about keeping them clean, as they haven't been installed very long yet. As far as the raised panels go, we have them everywhere, no inset drawer fronts on the island. Maybe the black paint is playing tricks on you?

    Bookmark   May 24, 2009 at 4:42PM
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Thanks, pattyk_64! We have a spare door from the laundry room cabs that are a slightly different style - recessed, not raised panels - but I'm tempted to paint one just to see what I think of the doors in unglazed paint.

No, it wasn't the black paint, it was the big corner posts in the photo that fooled me. Now that I look at the photo again, it's obvious the doors and drawers are overlay and it's just my eyes playing tricks on me.

If you dh is like my dh, he will be happy to be fired, momto4boys! LOL Sorry the project is going so slowly but I think that's the nature of DIY.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2009 at 6:58PM
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Yea, he'd be pretty ok to get the boot :) He told me earlier, his new LEAST favorite thing...tiling, lol. Plumbing has been the front runner until now. Change is good, lol.

Looks better in person. But, still rather shocking to see something there after all these years.
I don't think the cabinets totally suck with the white. But, I think it makes me want to go "all the way" :) And paint!!

    Bookmark   May 24, 2009 at 8:49PM
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I recently painted my old yucky oak cabinets. Mine did not look anything like yours. Mine were gross. I HATE oak and I actually think yours look quite nice. I like them with the new backsplash too.
I painted mine with Cabinet Coat Paint tinted to Ben Moore White Sand. I used the Cabinet Coat brand since it was mentioned numerous times on the paint forum as well as recommended at my fancy pants paint store. As far as oil vs. water based, if you search on the paint forum you'll see that they recommend a high quality water based paint since apparently oil based will yellow over time. If you're planning white uppers, that is potentially a problem. If your lowers are going to be darker then the yellowing might not matter there. I brushed since I don;t like the look of sprayed. I tried spraying before with one I got at HD for about $80 and hated the finish. I waste dmore time than if I had just brushed so I knew I was going to brush this kitchen job. Wasn't hard, just time consuming.
I am a mom to 3 boys and one cat and my cabs have only been painted for a couple months but I have not had any chipping and I tried pretty hard on the inside of a door, not to mention the various Matchbox cars smashing into them.

At first I had intended to paint and then glaze them as well but I stopped once they were painted b/c dh thought the glaze would be too dirty looking. I did not like the painted only look so kept trying to perfect the glazing ( that was frustrating) and I finally ended up with a glazing technique that we both agree does not look dirty but rather much, much warmer than the painted only look. And for the time they were not glazed, boy did they get dirty...or at least they showed it a lot more. The glazing makes it very forgiving for spills which happen A LOT around here.

One thing to consider is that your subway tile is white and how closely or not do you want to match the cabs to it.
Our appliances are white and will remain that way until I save up enough for new ones in SS. Our counters are beigey laminate- again not a perfect color match but I can live with it until we can afford to change them out. I can live with the off-white/glazed cabs with white applicances and off white counters but I know it would bug some people...perhaps those with OCD???
That brings me to the issue of no doors on the cabs--- that WILL be tough to live with. It absolutely drove me crazy! And it will probably last for 2 or 3 weeks so take that into consideration.
And it WILL take longer than you think- I was hoping 3 weeks and it took > double that although I did add quite a bit of wood trim in addition to painting.
As for the grain showing through, I did a lot of sanding and priming and coats so it dowesn;t show through too much, just enough so they don;t look like that fake white cabinet stuff. I was initially all worried about hiding the grain but most of it hid itself in all the coats- what was a huge issue for me just turned into a non-issue easily.

With all that said, do I regret it? Not for a second. But my cabs were gross. Yours are not and already you've updated with the backsplash and new wall paint will go a long way too.

Anyway, I can email you some directions I got from GW if you want.
Good luck with your decision.

Here is a link that might be useful: Chooch's painted /glazed cabs

    Bookmark   May 24, 2009 at 9:38PM
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If your DH thinks tiling is bad (heck, it is the one thing that even I can do), he hasn't seen anything yet until he paints those cabinets....if he takes all the steps to do it right, and if he doesn't, they will chip like crazy...PITA~~~~ And besides, if you paint them white, with the white subway and appliances, I think you might be getting too much white in there......and I certainly do hope you decide to keep that red painted walls....still love them~~~

    Bookmark   May 24, 2009 at 9:55PM
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I think you intend to sell before too long. I had a friend of mine who DID paint their oak cabinets....and they were not in nearly as good as shape as yours....she put her house on the market and lost a sale because of the paint......the buyers wanted stained wood and thought they could not afford to replace the cabinets, so didn't buy the house. If you don't intend to stay long, I certainly would not paint them because of her experience.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2009 at 10:01PM
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Yep, I agree with phoggie...keep the red walls, white subway tiles, and oak cabinets for now. I like the white appliances with the soon to be done tile. DH is a gem!
So I have two little women but I grew up with four brothers. WOW, you are in for some fun! ;)
Is the cabinet hardware new or will you be changing it out? I'm thinking a satin nickel might look well with all your accessories.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2009 at 10:18PM
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chooch, I've also heard a LOT about cabinet coat. But, seem unable to get it around here. I may call one other place. I think your cabs came out GREAT! I just realized with all our molding in the kitchen, the glaze may not look so great. Ok, dh pointed it out. Course, he doesn't like anything that looks "old", so he'll do all he can to get me off that train, lol.
What did you not like about the sprayed on finish?

phoggie, I'm pretty sure painting will be a picnic after this tile job. UGH! We're on, 23? And I think, maybe..just maybe he's ALMOST done. What the heck???? I have no clue what it's taking him sooooo long. Ok, he's a perfectionist. But, STILL! I'm ready to beat him over the head with the level, seriously, lol. Could I have done better? Probably not. But, my kitchen being in chaos right now is wearing on me. So, yea..having my cabinet doors off and everything a mess for possibly a month for painting. OY! Maybe not such a smart plan.
And yep, we hope to sell in the next few yrs. I was in 5 homes in our subdivsion this weekend, all for sale. All cookie cutter, like mine. All builder oak cabinets, the laminate we JUST ditched, with the wood trim around it. (blech) I can honestly not tell you one thing that was different about any of them. So, when I think of resale..I worry I'll turn some off. But, deep down I hope I'll set myself apart. IF it's done right.
If we do lowers green, I know that's not very neutral. We thought about black, but I think it's too stark. I honestly figure if we're in the position to sell in a few yrs, then putting some money out to repaint the cabs again professionally may be the way to go.

owls, that's the old hardware. I actually bought some orb knobs and pulls last wk to go if we opted to leave it as is. I put some up today. Eh, it's "ok". If we paint, though..I want chrome. Least, I think I do..:)

    Bookmark   May 25, 2009 at 8:52PM
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Owls, I was going to post the same blog. I must've found it here somewhere, and you cannot argue with the results although it is obviously a lot of work.

Our cabinets aren't oak, but original knotty pine, so we have some grain to hide as well.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2009 at 9:22PM
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You may get better performance from an alkyd primer (like Zinnser B-I-N), some say yes some say no. Most recommend a water based paint for top coating - because of the tendency of white alkyd paint to yellow, fumes and clean up. Most pros seem to think there is no advantage in terms of performance or durability to using alkyd paint anymore.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2009 at 8:13AM
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PattyK, do you remember the 'model' name of those pulls? I can't find them on the Richelieu site... thanks!

    Bookmark   May 31, 2009 at 11:54AM
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Here's the number: BP30342195

If you click on the link that I posted above it should take you directly to the page with those pulls on it.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2009 at 2:38PM
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patty_64, what type of paint did you use for your cabinets? I know you sprayed but did you go with an oil or acrylic and whose brand? What about the primer?

I saw some oak cabinets yesterday that were lacquered. I could see and feel the grain but less so than some other cabinets I've seen. They looked and felt really good. Not sure if that's the way to go, though. I don't know much about lacquer. Has anyone gone this route?

Sorry for the hijack of your thread, momto4boys but it made sense to have all this info about painting oak cabs in the same thread.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2009 at 12:08PM
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    Bookmark   June 5, 2009 at 11:32PM
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Oak 101. Oak has a very pronounced grain. Especially in the more common rotary cut that is in all the pictures above. There is hard and soft grain - the soft being more recessed then the hard. If you want to paint over this and don't want to see the grain, or less of it, you need to fill the soft grain level to the hard. One way to do this is with many coats of primer and sanding in between. You need to sand so you almost sand all the paint off because you won't sand the recessed areas and they will eventually fill up to be level with the higher ones. The paint also needs to dry well because it will shrink and sink into the grain. A faster way to do this is to use a grain filler. It has more body than paint and will fill faster. One thin coat of primer, then grain filler or spackle (muralo professional grade spackle #689 is supposed to be the best). A skim coat put on with a putty knife. After it's dry, sand, prime, then paint.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2009 at 3:45AM
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bump again. Got a question for you, pattyk_64 about your paint and for others regrading lacquer paint for cabinets.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2009 at 6:26PM
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Jdesign- I agree-if you don't want grain- better to fill than sand- my cabinets have held up beautifully (nodirthere pics above is my kitchen)- the only problem I had, was 3 bottles of red wine (NEVER put a wine rack on top of the fridge!) came crashing splattering all over the cabinets before the paint was cured and 2 cabinets had a faint stain I had to repaint- I was going to put a final poly over the paint but never did (I was told it would yellow, and I didn;t want that)- I haven't had any problem w/getting anything off of them since and switched to white regrets at all ...I think the leaving the grain is a more country/rustic look.that (my opinion) looks better in black or darker colors, I have seen light cabinets w/full grain showing and it just wasn't the more dressy look I was going for- it depends on what look you want. I had looked into just replacing the cabinet doors as an alternative- will cost more, but save on the work- just throwing that out there-.very rewarding- go for it!

    Bookmark   June 9, 2009 at 11:27AM
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Thanks, jdesign, for the tips.

momof3kids, thanks for the info! I bookmarked your kitchen in the FKB weeks ago and I go back to it regularly. I've read your painting steps but I'm unclear as to who did what during the process. Did you do all the prep work and hire the painter only to paint or did the painter do everything but the glazing? If you did the prep work, how long did it take you to do a door? How finicky was the work? We don't have that many cabinets to paint so maybe this is a doable task.

While visible wood grain might give a country/rustic vibe, I think cabinet style and finishing touches add to that. I don't want edges rubbed off or heavy glazing, if I do glazing at all. I think our home can handle the wood grain showing, provided the cabinets are not distressed, and especially because we have fake wood doors with grain (isn't it funny that we're working to remove oak grain but pay more for fake wood doors with grain showing?)

I want simple and classic. We have a lot of family heirlooms and antiques but I'm hard pressed to say what style we have. It's not formal, it's traditional but not fussy (like yours), and it's most definitely not country. Or if it is, it's clean country, a term I coined to say it might have the flavor courtesy of our family pieces but it lacks all the fuss, dried flowers and baskets (and roosters! Aren't roosters a country touch? Or maybe I'm clueless when it comes to this stuff). I love aktillery's kitchen. It and others inspired me to go with painted uppers and stained lowers. That look could be country but it certainly isn't in aktillery's kitchen.

Anyone know anything about painting oak cabinets with lacquer?

Here is a link that might be useful: aktillery's kitchen

    Bookmark   June 9, 2009 at 12:13PM
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Hi Lisa-
My cabinet painter had an enamel lacquer as an option. It's thicker than the regular paint. Again... preference. Although I really like the look and durability, I think oak grain adds just a bit of character and makes the pieces look like they are made of wood. Ours (that you saw) show SOME grain. My options were enamel (to show basically no grain), paint (to show some), a stain (to show all the grain). I chose what was behind door number 2!!! Are you really thinking of DIYing this?

    Bookmark   June 9, 2009 at 1:01PM
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Does anyone know about lacquer? Yes, a lot. What is it you want to know? There is a brushing lacquer but 99.9% of lacquer is always sprayed. Spraying is a more professional looking job. Same as I wrote above applies to lacquer. The more you fill the grain the less you see it. The lacquered cabinets you saw did not have less grain showing because they were painted with lacquer but because more prep was done to them. Lacquer is not a thick paint. It's thinner than most. Especially in a sprayable consistency. Several coats are needed for coverage. I agree that darker colors look better with some grain showing through. Are you equipped for spaying?

    Bookmark   June 9, 2009 at 1:32PM
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My painters are in my kitchen painting my ugly oaks cabs as I type. They sanded then primed with Zinnser and are painting them with oil based satin finish by BM (HC-109). They look phenomenal.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2009 at 1:39PM
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We are in the middle of painting our oak cabinets. I spent a week using Pore-o-Pac to fill in the wood grain. It's a brushable pore filler. I did 2 coats of this on each door. Fronts only. Before I applied it, I sanded and washed each one with TSP. We have sprayed the BM Fresh Start primer twice, and I have to say--I don't really see the grain (on the fronts). Next step is the Impervo enamel top coat. The can says it can be used in a sprayer, so that is what we are planning on doing. I just need to decide between BM White Cloud and BM White Down.

We were going to glaze them as well, but on the practice/scrap door, it made the white down too yellow. So, we aren't sure about glazing right now.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2009 at 1:47PM
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Oooh, post pictures as soon as you can, megsy!

faleash, am I thinking of DIYing this? That's a definite maybe. ;-) I certainly couldn't get to it any time soon. My life is insane and will stay that way for, what, another month at least with a brief lull before it starts all over again (I realized I haven't had a decent vacation in almost 3 years - and that's just wrong!). If I took any of it on, I think I'd do prep and have the cabinets spray painted by professionals.

jdesign, I should have worded my question more precisely. The cabinets I saw were prepared in this manner: light sanding and caulking corners & joints, primer brushed on (helps to push it into the grain, he said), sanding, primer sprayed on, sanding, then 2 coats of color sprayed on, then glaze topcoat, then 2 coats of sealer lacquer. Earlier, I posted a link to a photo of the cabinets I saw but I'll add it here, too. The grain was visible but not ugly, IMO, and the finish was very nice to the touch.

I was told that lacquer is one of the hardest (or the hardest?) paint finishes, which should mean it wears well. It also cures relatively quickly compared to other paints. I wondered how well it holds up over time. Does its hardness make it more brittle and prone to chips or more durable and resistant to them? I don't know and I can't seem to find an answer.

I'm getting multiple quotes for the task in case I chicken out or just can't squeeze another task into my schedule. The more info I have about the process and the pros and cons of the different paints, the better. Thanks!

momto4boys, how goes the tiling project? And what did you decide about painting your cabinets?

Here is a link that might be useful: painted oak cabinet door

    Bookmark   June 9, 2009 at 2:01PM
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Some cabinets are much improved by painting but your cabinets look very nice in the picture you posted. The style is very current. They don't look yucky at all. If you are planning on selling soon I don't think you should paint.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2009 at 4:13PM
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Hi everyone, I'm new to the site. My kitchen looks very much like a photo above. I would really like to try painting my oak cabinets, but I think I'll try to paint my bathroom oak cabs first as a tester. I would love any suggestions for my budget kitchen makeover - I can't afford to change everything right now which is why I'd like to paint my cabs, perhaps add backsplash & then a fresh coat of paint on the walls. What colors for walls and cabs do you think would go with my white tile countertops (hate them, but I gotta live with them for now)? Oh, and I have white appliances also (can't update now) I appreciate any advice! here's a link to my kitchen

Here is a link that might be useful: my kitchen needs help!

    Bookmark   June 9, 2009 at 9:00PM
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I think your kitchen would look fantastic with painted cabinets and a new coat of paint on the walls. Since you have the white tile counters, I would probably opt for cabinets painted in a sage green with a darker glaze (like Teppy's island) or perhaps a gray color. Then choose a nice color for the walls based on what you paint your cabinets.

However, if you like a monochromatic look and want white cabinets - that would be a very clean look with the white tile counters. Then you could use almost any color on the walls.

You may want to start a new thread to get ideas for your kitchen.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2009 at 10:33PM
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downsy beat me to the suggestion, joyski. You'll likely get more design idea responses if you start a new thread about your kitchen. You can always pop back in here with questions about painting your cabs or to find out more about how to do it.

Do you know how to start a new thread? Just go to the very bottom of the forum page to find the blanks to start a new thread.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2009 at 10:57PM
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downsy and lisa_a,

thanks for responding, i will start a new thread.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2009 at 1:15AM
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Lacquer is not the hardest finish. Catalyzed conversion varnish, CV for short, is the hardest and the best, followed by pre. cat.(pre-catalyzed lacquer) and then regular lacquer, NC lacquer(nitrocellulose).

    Bookmark   June 10, 2009 at 12:56PM
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Thanks, jdesign! CV is clear for use on stained wood, correct? So for paint, pre-catalyzed lacquer and NC lacquer are my choices. What about yellowing? We're going with a lighter color so the yellowing factor is an issue for us. Our 15 year old white woodwork (oil enamel, I think) has varying degrees of yellowing, depending on the room. Some of it is really bad.

Acrylic will yellow the least, if at all. Oil may or may not yellow and if it does, it won't yellow as badly as oils used in previous years (the answer changes depending on who I talk to, very confusing). Ditto for lacquer. It depends on the formulation. New formulas don't yellow as badly as old ones. Or so I've been told. Sheesh, it's one thing to discuss the pros and cons of painting oak but what to paint it with is a whole other issue.

I think it's time to wander over to the paint forum. Is anyone interesting in learning what I find out? If so, I can post a link to the discussion.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2009 at 2:07PM
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No CV comes pigmented also. This is where it gets a little technical and confusing. CV is self-sealing which means it can be used as it's own primer. It can be used alone as the only material you use to paint the doors with or you can top coat with clear CV for and extra layer of protection and to adjust sheen level. They make a CV primer or some use a vinyl sealer as primer or color coat then top coated with a clear CV. Vinyl sealer is compatible to use under CV. These different combinations are used because because of issues such as re-coat windows, pot-life ect. All of these materials come pigmented, white only, and need to be tinted they have different sheen levels from 10-90. It's probably best to let me know what look you really want.What capabilities you have if you plan on doing it yourself or if someone is going to do it and what they are comfortable using.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2009 at 4:49PM
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Wow, I didn't know this thread was still going. Thank you to those who have continued to offer advice and steps on how to get this done. I'm trying to piece all this together and decide what works best for us. Yes, I still want to paint them. Probably even more now that the backsplash is done. It looks ok how it is. But, I just wanna go "all the way" :)

lisa, here's some pics of the backsplash. was a SLOW process. but, dh did a great job!!!

and here's a before and after from where we were a couple months ago. ugly green counters, with the lovely red paint, lol.
maybe I can just ditch the red and either try to work a green in the space. Or pull the lenox tan from the living room (open floor plan) and be done. We'll see.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2009 at 6:37PM
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Thanks, again, jdesign.

It seems the best painted finish is a sprayed finish and I don't think we're up to that. It takes a practiced hand and I don't really want to practice on my kitchen cabinets. ;-) Prepping them is another thing but let's put that aside for the moment and consider this a task we'll hand over to the pros.

When you ask what I'm looking for, do you mean sheen? Or glazing technique? Or all of the above? We want a satin sheen, something with a bit of gloss so it's easier to clean than flat paint but not high gloss. We don't want them heavily glazed. We prefer a more subtle look or perhaps even no glaze. I've linked to one of my inspiration photo below. We're planning to use a creamy tan very similar to the color on the cabs in the kitchen I've linked.

We're going with a honed or satin-finished granite and glazed ceramic creamy-tan subway tiles for the backsplash, if that matters.

We don't want them to yellow or at least have that be as mimimal as possible. As I wrote, our white painted woodwork has yellowed a lot - and so has the clear finish on our GO cabinets.

One of the painters giving us a quote uses lacquer. Another uses BM, although I can't recall if it's Aura or Impervo they use (they go to the same local paint store that I go to). The other prefers SW enamel. Price is only one aspect for our decision. We're willing to pay more if we gain a great finish, good coverage and long lasting results.

If our choice is also the least smelly, that's also a good thing. I have asthma so the less a product is likely to trigger an attack, the better.

pattyk_64, are you out there? I'd still like to know what paint you used on your cabinets. Thanks!

Here is a link that might be useful: Great American Kitchens - Past Perfect

    Bookmark   June 10, 2009 at 6:45PM
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I love the way your kitchen looks with the new backsplash! Your dh did a great job!
I still like your red walls, too.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2009 at 9:06PM
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momto4boys, we were posting at the same time so I missed your post and pics until now.

WOW, it looks great! Fresh and crisp-looking, and it ties in well with your white appliances. They aren't as noticeable as they were before the new b/s. Thumbs up to your dh!

    Bookmark   June 10, 2009 at 10:38PM
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lisa_a so sorry I missed your questions! I have been checking in here periodically but seem to have been missing this thread until now.

We did have our cabinets sprayed with lacquer. I don't know anything about what primer was used or anything though. If you have any other questions, feel free to email me.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2009 at 11:08PM
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Thanks, pattyk_64! So far, you're the only person I've heard from who had her cabs sprayed with lacquer. Your cabs don't have as high a sheen as the lacquer painted cabs I saw last week. I really do like the way they look. The painter comes today to give me a quote so I'll see what else I can learn from him.

When we started this project, I figured it would be a simple update. I mean, how hard could it be to just paint oak cabinets? Why it's as easy as picking white paint! LOL

    Bookmark   June 11, 2009 at 10:22AM
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prestonbeary, did you brush the paint or spray your cabinets? I looked at your photos above again and your cabinets look very nice.

jdesign, the painter who gave me a quote today uses pre-cat lacquer. That's the 2nd hardest according to what you wrote above. I can live with that. He also said that whether we glazed or not, we'd still get the same number of coats. Forgot to ask him about sheen, though. Sheesh. But I should give myself I break. I've exhausted. I woke up at 4:30 when hubby got up to go fishing (and I'm not a morning person!).

Do you have recommendations for number of coats of primer, paint and protective top coat? Does it matter whether it's brushed or sprayed? I have been told that brushing tends to put more paint on in each coat. Is that true? Thanks!

    Bookmark   June 11, 2009 at 6:57PM
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Laquers, CV's, pre cat's., any solvent based materials are never brushed. They all contain hot solvents that flash off in seconds. You wouldn't even get halfway down the door with the first brush stroke before it would dry. It wouldn't be pretty. They do make a brushable lacquer but this is hardly ever used and no reason to. If you're going to hand brush something you would use a different type of paint.

The thing is I could tell you what I think or what I would use but it comes down to what your painter is comfortable and experienced with. Regular lacquer is not good in a wet environment. It will lift if exposed to water for any length of time. Pre-cat. is not bad but personally I would use conversion varnish because it's harder, practically water-proof and essentially the same process as using the pre-catalyzed lacquer. This is the finished used by all major cabinet brands. One reason someone might be reluctant to use it is pre-cat. is shot right out of the can as is where as CV you add a catalyst and it's only good for about 6 hours (pot life) so if you don't clean your equipment well you're in a lot of sh%#t. This is why it's a harder finish. You'll find out just how hard if you get lazy and let it sit in your gun overnight. Nothing breaks it down.

You asked about the smell. Everything except water-based is going to smell. If you have asthma you don't what to be anywhere near the others when they're being sprayed. The smell pretty much dissipates overnight. Depending on atmospheric conditions it may linger slightly for another day or two. The majority of the spraying (the doors) should be done in the shop anyway. John

P.S. I wish I could just paint our cabinets for you so I don't have to keep writing these long answers. It's not that I mind it's just I don't type that fast or spell that well.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2009 at 2:56AM
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I wish I could just paint our cabinets for you

Me, too! Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, though. I really appreciate your guidance especially since typing isn't your strong suit.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2009 at 6:46PM
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this blog has been my inspiration! I went for it, here is my 80's Era honey oak country kitchen before......

    Bookmark   July 12, 2013 at 12:09AM
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And after...... we custom mixed a Benjamin Moore oil paint, then (this was really hard to find) used a flat sealer over it, it is actually matte in finish but totally washable and extremely durable! (we also did soapstone, crown, farmhouse sink, new fixtures, pulls, rebuilt some of the cabinetry and a tile backsplash ...).

    Bookmark   July 12, 2013 at 12:13AM
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And after...... we custom mixed a Benjamin Moore oil paint, then (this was really hard to find) used a flat sealer over it, it is actually matte in finish but totally washable and extremely durable! (we also did soapstone, crown, farmhouse sink, new fixtures, pulls, rebuilt some of the cabinetry and a tile backsplash ...).

    Bookmark   July 12, 2013 at 12:14AM
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Really nice job - I love what you have done there!

    Bookmark   July 12, 2013 at 8:10AM
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