Problem----painting cabinet hinges?

julizeSeptember 12, 2010

We've decided to do a low-budget remodel in our kitchen, which basically means we're painting our existing cabinets. We originally had planned to buy all new hardware, but after a lengthy process of trial and error, I think we've finally realized the kind of hinges that fit our cabinets just aren't made anymore. Every new hinge type we've tried seems to leave a significant gap between the cabinet door and the framing.

OK--on to Plan B.

Plan B is to clean up our existing chrome hinges and paint them with a metallic oil-rubbed bronze paint, to match the new cabinets knobs & pulls we selected. As of today, the hinges have all been thoroughly cleaned with a 50% mixture of vinegar and water. We also are priming them with a Rustoleum spray-primer.

We've now painted two test hinges with both primer and the Rustoleum oil-rubbed bronze paint. The primer went on smoothly and evenly, and we allowed both hinges to dry for at least a day after priming. Here's the problem--in both cases, when we sprayed on the actual paint, it began to bubble significantly within seconds.

Has anyone else ever had this problem? I have absolutely no idea why the paint would be bubbling or how to prevent it. Both of the test hinges had a small amount of rust on them--could this be the problem? Are we using the wrong kind of paint? Could it be residue from the vinegar?


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According to my personal painting expert (DH), what you are experiencing is called alligatoring. Sounds like your primer is not made to be top coated after 24 hours, and should wait at least 4 days before top coating. If you use an automotive primer instead, it should be cured thoroughly by the next day, and will not shrink the primer underneath.

Also, for future use, you should use acetone (true acetone, not nail polish remover) instead of vinegar as it will remove any grease in the cracks of the hinges.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   September 12, 2010 at 8:18PM
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Keep us posted on how this turns out. I pondered painting my hinges but worried about paint interfering with their operation.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2010 at 9:23PM
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Circus Peanut

You could also try a primer called Penetrol - great for priming metal before paint. You can get it at hardware stores or big box stores - painters use it to thin oil paint, too. Just dip the hinges or brush the Penetrol on with a soft brush and allow to dry for a day. This worked very well for my claw foot tub feet before repainting.

The Rustoleum Oil Rubbed Bronze is a good color, have fun!

    Bookmark   September 12, 2010 at 9:24PM
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Would that work on a painted wrought iron bed frame as well? I am thinking of re-painting ours black with a light wash of silver in spots because it is currently green with gold accents. I think the b & s combo will refresh it and work better when we remodel the bedroom. Does it make a difference that it has its original factory paint job on it already? Thanks in advance... sry to hijack but it seemed like a too similar question to start new...

    Bookmark   September 12, 2010 at 10:25PM
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julize, I was wondering how spray painting the hinges worked out? We must have similar cabinets because I am having the same problem with the newer hinges. I am debating between replacing our current with brushed nickel or continue painting the ones we have.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2010 at 8:45PM
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I wonder about other's experiences in painting kitchen cupboard hinges... and what colour to choose? I'm painting my old oak cupboards BM Cloud White, and plan to get black knobs to match the quartz countertop (black with brown & white flecks). Is that too much contrast? Should the hinges be the same colour, or something "invisible"? Any help is much appreciated!

    Bookmark   October 30, 2010 at 11:51AM
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