Any tips for painting my own cabinets with farrow and ball paint?

threeapplesDecember 4, 2012

the cabinet company wants $3500 to hand brush our paint on the small amount of kitchen cabinets we have so i thought perhaps i could have them prime it and i could do the painting myself. i've never painted cabinets before--is this a crazy idea? does anyone have any tips? thanks very much.

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I hope it's not a crazy idea. Painting my cabs are in my DIY plan. So here types a partner in your hairbrained scheme to NOT pay ridiculous amounts to a painter for something we can surely and hopefully do ourselves!!!

I'm still looking for advice also, actually. I do know sanding the primer and in-between coats is pretty crucial to a smooth finish. And to use enamel paint (do you sand in-between the coats with enamel? Does enamel need 2 coats?) I am planning on buying some enamel paint and practicing with it before the actual painting party begins. I figure the wasted paint will be beneficial in the process, whether I master the task or it beats me. The cost of a gallon is a pretty cheap way to determine a DIY job or pay a professional. But hey!!! Those 'professionals' learned at some point too!!!

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 6:50PM
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What look are you going for: a perfectly smooth coat or a hand brushed look? I would assume you want the brushed look. I am painting my own cabinets in the near future, in fact, I am hosting a painting party because my house is old and I am going for the "brushed on by the local handyman fifty years ago" look so it will match the rest of my house. Alcohol will be served at this party...

Anyway, I prefer oil paint and primer (I assume F&B does too). It lays on better, stays wetter longer, and looks better on wood, IMHO.

I just painted some doors with Ben Moore high gloss oil and I love the look. My dad said, "hey there's some brushstrokes on that door. Do you LIKE it that way?" I knew then it was perfect.

When I paint my cabs, I am going to let the paint cure for a month before I use them.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 6:54PM
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I forgot to say, I always do primer and two coats, sanding between each coat. Even with the sanding, you see see the brushstrokes, and I'm a meticulous painter.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 6:56PM
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I would never undertake painting something as important as your kitchen cabs unless you were expert at it, and if you were you wouldnt bother asking.

Cabinetmakers will all tell you that they use specialized paint applied in a paint booth and that if you use anything else it will never hold up. Maybe you don't care that it won't hold up, if you want a certain look.

I did a kitchen 10 yrs ago with Rutt and it looked perfect the day we moved. It was too perfect, like a car, and for this house I wanted to see brush strokes. I was advised to use the hard as nails paint process and then glaze it (very vey subtle, you would not say they are glazed if you saw them) to get brush strokes.

Not cheap, but looks great and wears well.

I think you can always tell a professional paint job. I'd hire them.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 8:20PM
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oh my goodness, i'm so nervous now. how do i know how much to sand in between coats? yes, i like seeing the brushstrokes. farrow and ball recommended a particular formula of their paint, but i can't remember which one.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 8:20PM
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For what it's worth, This Old House has a how to article I've ;inked to below.

I think you need to be clear about what you expect from your paint job. I'm currently renovating my bathroom. I've installed beadboard and painted it, and have repainted the built-in vanity and am making new beadboard doors to match. I'm using SW enamel paint, and am leaving occasional flaws and yes brushstrokes. As Rosylady said, I want it to look like the handyman painted this, not a cabinet shop. If it were perfect it would look out of place in my house, which is an old cape.

Rosylady had great technique advice, if you are going for the look she and I describe, you can do it, but if not, go pro.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 8:42PM
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Have you painted wood before much? It's definitely different than walls.

Maybe you should get a wood door and do a test run and see what you think of the process.

I agree with mtnrdredux, a site applied paint job will not be as bulletproof as one applied in a shop. I prefer site finished floors and cabinetry so I can do touch ups easily and as needed. This is my forever house, so I know I will be here for a long time and have many touch ups, and probably a few full re-paintings in my future.

How many cabinets are they going to paint for $3500? A lot of painters don't want to do a hand brushed finish anymore, so they will bid the job high hoping the customer will give up on the idea.

It's funny, I was just looking at a door I painted yesterday and thinking how much I love the "soul" of that kind of finish.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 8:46PM
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I am by no means and expert, but I sure felt like one after reading and researching here at GW. So I had to try out my "expertise" a few years ago and painted a vanity.

I was giving DH's small BR a facelift - stripped ugly wallpaper, prepped and painted walls, replaced the vanity top etc. Had a nice toilet and shower but the builders oak vanity and dated triple door medicine cabinet looked so drab. I decided to practice, thinking if it looked awful, I would just buy a new vanity.

I lightly sanded the cabinet, removed doors and drawers, hardware, etc. Cleaned well with some TSP just to have a good surface. Primed with Zinzzer 123, lightly sanded and cleaned, and applied first coat of SW water base Pro-Classic. Looked kind of scary, but leveled well and drier much better. Lightly sanded and cleaned again. Applied second coat - looked much better, leveled well, dried beautiful. Was actually prepared to do a third coat, but it didn't need it.

I didn't try to fill the grain, but I love that vanity. The paint is tough as nails, I don't see brush marks. I feel like a pro!

Now the real fun - painting the medicine cabinet that had a built in light strip. I remember thinking,"OK, here is where this is going to look like crap!" I was ready to pull my hair out, but it turned out great!
Gotta love that Pro-Classic; have also heard great things about BM Impervo.

My DD had ugly, cheap, cheap pickled oak cabinets in her kitchen and struggled to find a paint color that looked good with them. Her DR refused to paint them, saying they would always look like mucked up, home-painted cabinets, and would hurt resale. And he is one of the most particular, professional painters that I know. Well, after seeing MY vanity paint job, he went home the next weekend and they started painting on their cabinets.

If you do proper prep, buy good materials, have patience, don't skip any steps in the process, you can save yourself $3500.

I plan on painting my kitchen cabinets in a couple of years - that will be one of my retirement projects. I have a lot of cabinets and don't have the time now. Can't wait!

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 8:51PM
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A word of caution: i had the exact same plan. the cabinetmaker was to prime the cabinet doors and i was to paint the doors as well as the cabinets. the GC and i reviewed and approved a perfectly fine looking primed cabinet door sample but the finished primed cabinet doors did not even remotely resemble the sample provided. the cabinet maker subcontracted the priming and the subcontractor used a RED primer base coat for cabinets intented to be white, sanded in the wrong direction - they were so bad the doors had to be rebuilt from scratch! it was a mess and it resulted in me having to fire the cabinet maker and get all new doors made, causing a good 4-6 week delay to my project and costing me extra money.

SO... my lesson learned - be very cautious on who touches your cabinets. An error can result in the need for a total re-do. $3500 sounds like a lot but using a professional who is reputable may save you money in the long run.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 9:54PM
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