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Painting Kitchen Cabinets-Oak in Dark Walnut-Tips Needed-Please Help

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Forum topic by HandyFrank posted 07-20-2015 03:21 PM 932 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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HandyFrank

35 posts in 2227 days


07-20-2015 03:21 PM

Topic tags/keywords: repainting kitchen cabinets cabinet painting spray gun oak wood walnut

My wife and I want to freshen up our kitchen and I want to consider painting our cabinets. They are a dark walnut stain and I believe the wood is oak. They have deep grain in some areas so I’m aware that they will never be smooth and the grain will always show, but I would like the paint job to be top notch. The construction is top notch, solid wood, and there isn’t one loose hinge. Since their are such good quality I’d like to consider painting vs. replacing them. If I had to estimate based on other updates throughout the house I would guess they are from the 1950’s.

Can some of you with experience and knowledge help steer me in the right direction? I have a bunch of related questions.

Spray vs. Roll
I’ve never sprayed before so I don’t have experience doing it, but I’m willing to try and learn. Should I consider spraying, or just stick to rolling and deal with the minor imperfections rolling/brushing brings? I’ve rolled plenty of doors before and have done a pretty good job, but I’m hoping to get them even more super smooth with as little foam/brush strokes in the mix. I realize the grain will always be visible more or less which I don’t mind as long as the grain is paint covered.

I’ve read HVLP guns are best for cabinet repainting, and searching around Amazon I found 3 that seem popular: -Wagner 0518080 Control Spray Max HVLP Sprayer – $103
-Earlex HV5500 Spray Station – $299
-Fuji 2202 Semi-PRO 2 HVLP Spray System-$399

-Rent one from the local spray house, but I’m planning on doing the job over the course of days/weeks so this probably won’t be feasible.
I’m tempted to buy the Wagner based on so many positive reviews, but I’d spend the extra money if it meant an easier, better finish.

Paint to use?
I have a friend who paints and rolls cabinets regularly. He suggested using Stix primer, and then Benjamin Moore’s cabinet paint(Which I think is an Acrylic) in Satin finish. Anyone have a different recommendation? I’ve heard of people using Lacquer, using top coats, etc. I’m no pro so the easier the better, but I also want the job to last.

Steps to follow?
I’ve read it goes something like this:
-Wipe cabinets with a degreaser of some sort
-Sand with 150 grit and wipe down well
-Prime 2 times (Sand in-between if needed)
-Paint 2 times
-Enjoy

I priced out some low to mid cabinets in decent quality and they were around $10K. The rest of the kitchen is going to cost good money (Counter tops, appliances, updated electrical, etc, etc), so I either do the work and repaint these and save $10K, or add $10K to my existing spend list.

All feedback is welcomed.


10 replies so far

View Earlextech's profile

Earlextech

1159 posts in 2155 days


#1 posted 07-20-2015 03:30 PM

I would use this to fill the grain – http://aquacoat.com/collections/products/products/clear-grain-filler
I would use this to finish the cabinets – http://www.sherwin-williams.com/document/PDS/en/035777102343/
and of course I would go with this sprayer – http://www.woodcraft.com/Product/152797/Earlex-Spray-Station-HV5500-HVLP.aspx You want to make sure you get the 1.5mm needle with the 5500.

-- Sam Hamory - The project is never finished until its "Finished"!

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

3941 posts in 1957 days


#2 posted 07-20-2015 03:56 PM

Some random thoughts: with good quality cabinets, it’s often possible to get them refaced and buy new doors/drawer fronts and still wind up with a very nice job. This will cost more than painting, should cost a lot less than new, and solves some other problems. Still, if you want to paint, some things to consider: spraying cabinets that are installed can be a problem if you haven’t though the whole job through. Best to have a kitchen devoid of everything else and then spray. That might be tough with the weekend schedule you have. Even so, the steps I would suggest go like this: a thorough cleaning (TSP would be good). After a few years, cabinets can get all kinds of surface contamination that will prevent subsequent coats of anything to not adhere…then you will really have a mess. Even after the cleaning, you may have missed some stuff so I would give them a coat of shellac (Zinsser Seal Coat will work, and is easy to spray) to insure there are no adhesion problems. After that you can prime and paint. I would only sand to smooth out dust nibs/whatever, and maybe use a slightly finer grit..possibly 220. The choice of a high quality 100% acrylic paint is good, and most of them can be sprayed easy.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View HandyFrank's profile

HandyFrank

35 posts in 2227 days


#3 posted 07-20-2015 04:31 PM


I would use this to fill the grain – http://aquacoat.com/collections/products/products/clear-grain-filler
I would use this to finish the cabinets – http://www.sherwin-williams.com/document/PDS/en/035777102343/
and of course I would go with this sprayer – http://www.woodcraft.com/Product/152797/Earlex-Spray-Station-HV5500-HVLP.aspx You want to make sure you get the 1.5mm needle with the 5500.

- Earlextech


Thanks for the recommendation. How difficult is grain filler to apply and then sand? I asked a few local people and they said it doesn’t work well and is a lot of work. Do you find the same or find it reasonable to work with?

So the Earlex spray station is a good overall setup with the extra tip?

I can easily go Shermin Williams, and I used their product in my last bathroom remodel and was happy. I just have known Benjamin Moore forever so I’m leaning that way.


Some random thoughts: with good quality cabinets, it s often possible to get them refaced and buy new doors/drawer fronts and still wind up with a very nice job. This will cost more than painting, should cost a lot less than new, and solves some other problems. Still, if you want to paint, some things to consider: spraying cabinets that are installed can be a problem if you haven t though the whole job through. Best to have a kitchen devoid of everything else and then spray. That might be tough with the weekend schedule you have. Even so, the steps I would suggest go like this: a thorough cleaning (TSP would be good). After a few years, cabinets can get all kinds of surface contamination that will prevent subsequent coats of anything to not adhere…then you will really have a mess. Even after the cleaning, you may have missed some stuff so I would give them a coat of shellac (Zinsser Seal Coat will work, and is easy to spray) to insure there are no adhesion problems. After that you can prime and paint. I would only sand to smooth out dust nibs/whatever, and maybe use a slightly finer grit..possibly 220. The choice of a high quality 100% acrylic paint is good, and most of them can be sprayed easy.

- Fred Hargis


Thanks Fred, great feedback. If you don’t mind I’d like to pry a bit. So in terms of timing, my hope is to try to get them painted over the course of a week, working some nights, over weekends. Its summer here now so we can go without the kitchen for a week or so while I paint everything. My plan is to completely empty the kitchen while I do the spray work.

Maybe i’ll have someone come out and quote refacing, but if I can achieve a decent paint job without taking weeks on end, I’d be up for the challenge to save the money, and i’ll be left with a nice spray gun in the end.

Do you recommend using a grain filler like EarlexTech suggested? I’ve heard they can be tons of extra work, and results are sometimes sub-par. Any tips on this appreciated.

Good tips on the double wipe down to get off the grime, that will be my plan.

So with the Zinsser Seal Coat, do you sand them first or spray it right on after you do the thorough wipe down cleaning?

Spray vs. Roll, think I can achieve much better results if I spray and take the time to mask everything off and all? I haven’t done much spraying in my day, but I’m a fast learner overall and I’d do some practicing beforehand on some scrap wood. I’ve done pretty good work rolling with foam rollers and short nap rollers, but with so much grain my thoughts are that spraying would be a better end result. Any tips on spraying or if you think I should stick to the roller being a newbie are appreciated. And if you have any preference on the spray setups. That cheaper Wagner has such good reviews I’m considering it, but I know its the entry level gun and if spending more means better results, I will.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

3941 posts in 1957 days


#4 posted 07-20-2015 04:52 PM

My experience with trying to use grain filler on previously finished wood is as you described, tons of extra work and seldom a satisfactory result (bear in mind I’m strictly a hobbyist, and Earlex is on the pro level). If the cleaning goes well, you can spray the shellac right on them at that time. Nice thing about the shellac, if you have an oops it’s really easily corrected before you proceed with the other stuff. I would prefer spray to rolling, but might consider brushing as an alternative. Just seems like whenever I roll something I get a bad case of orange peel. I have little expereience with various spray units, having only used an HVLP conversion gun with my compressor, then buying a 4 stage Fuji HVLP. Both worked well, and if you have a compressor you can get really nice conversion guns to use with it. I really like my Fuji, but that’s not to say the other units aren’t just as good.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View Earlextech's profile

Earlextech

1159 posts in 2155 days


#5 posted 07-20-2015 05:04 PM

I use that grain filler because it is water based and easy to use. I dislike the look of painted oak and would gladly go through the process of filing the grain with several thin coats to eliminate it. Yes it is a lot of work.
You need the 1.5mm for the proper atomization size for a cabinet finish.
The Kem Aqua (water based) has it’s own sealer, that way you don’t mix company’s products that may not work together. It’s also meant to be sprayed, unlike latex acrylic paints, which is what most “cabinet” paints are.

-- Sam Hamory - The project is never finished until its "Finished"!

View Pezking7p's profile

Pezking7p

3097 posts in 1116 days


#6 posted 07-20-2015 05:13 PM

+1 to Earlex’s suggestions. If you’re going to do the work, take the extra time to fill the grain. Spray it with a good gun with lacquer. You can do it inside and get several coats on in a day.

It’s better to take extra time and love the final product.

-- -Dan

View HandyFrank's profile

HandyFrank

35 posts in 2227 days


#7 posted 07-20-2015 05:15 PM


My experience with trying to use grain filler on previously finished wood is as you described, tons of extra work and seldom a satisfactory result (bear in mind I m strictly a hobbyist, and Earlex is on the pro level). If the cleaning goes well, you can spray the shellac right on them at that time. Nice thing about the shellac, if you have an oops it s really easily corrected before you proceed with the other stuff. I would prefer spray to rolling, but might consider brushing as an alternative. Just seems like whenever I roll something I get a bad case of orange peel. I have little expereience with various spray units, having only used an HVLP conversion gun with my compressor, then buying a 4 stage Fuji HVLP. Both worked well, and if you have a compressor you can get really nice conversion guns to use with it. I really like my Fuji, but that s not to say the other units aren t just as good.

- Fred Hargis


Thanks for the extra feedback. I only have a small compressor so I doubt it would be up to the challenge, so i’ll have to stick to anone of the HVLP setups I listed. I’m with you on the orange peel, I’ve actually achieve decent results with foam rollers and Purdy brushes, but those were totally smooth doors and the Oak grain is where I think the brush and roller will be inferior to the spray. Thanks for your input all around!


+1 to Earlex s suggestions. If you re going to do the work, take the extra time to fill the grain. Spray it with a good gun with lacquer. You can do it inside and get several coats on in a day.

It s better to take extra time and love the final product.

- Pezking7p


Any suggestions on if the Fuji gun is worthy of the extra $100? And for the Lacquer, do you recommend the paint Earlex suggested, or is there a specific brand/type you like and suggest?


I use that grain filler because it is water based and easy to use. I dislike the look of painted oak and would gladly go through the process of filing the grain with several thin coats to eliminate it. Yes it is a lot of work.
You need the 1.5mm for the proper atomization size for a cabinet finish.
The Kem Aqua (water based) has it s own sealer, that way you don t mix company s products that may not work together. It s also meant to be sprayed, unlike latex acrylic paints, which is what most “cabinet” paints are.

- Earlextech


Thanks for the extra insight. Being a novice and a DIY type guy, think its worth the extra steps to fill the grain? I may buy a can and try on 1 door to see how easy/difficult the process truly is.

With the 1.5mm tip, is the spray pattern still very small? I saw a video and a person was spraying only about an inch wide pattern at a time, looks like that would give way to easily overlapping and adding too much, or not enough. Is the Earlex model up for the task of cabinets, or is it better for smaller jobs? Is the Fuji worth the extra $100 for the higher level of power and quality it brings?

I’ve been very happy with Shermin Williams products so I’d be open to try it, I just shy to BM when a job is bigger and I don’t want to take a chance. I googled the paint you suggested and read that it has a steep learning curve since its much thinner than common paints and can lead to lots of runs. Is this true, especially for a newbie who’s never really sprayed anything before?

In the end i’m trying to figure out if I can do a great job being new to this, or if i’m better off just paying to have them refaced, or go new all together. I enjoy a DIY project and if I can achieve awesome results, I would LOVE to put the time in. If i’ll be battling the spray gun and get crappy results, I’d rather not invest.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

3941 posts in 1957 days


#8 posted 07-20-2015 05:18 PM

One other option: pay a refinisher to paint the cabinets.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4454 posts in 3425 days


#9 posted 07-20-2015 05:59 PM

SherWIN Williams is the correct name.
You can use FloTrol in a latex paint to reduce brush and roller marks. Check it out.
Spraying is gonna make a mess inside the home. Make sure you want to go through the masking and clean up effort.
Bill

-- bill@magraphics.us

View HandyFrank's profile

HandyFrank

35 posts in 2227 days


#10 posted 07-21-2015 03:18 PM


SherWIN Williams is the correct name.
You can use FloTrol in a latex paint to reduce brush and roller marks. Check it out.
Spraying is gonna make a mess inside the home. Make sure you want to go through the masking and clean up effort.
Bill

- Bill White


That’s right, thanks for the correction, you can see where my loyalty is in terms of product, Benjamin Moore has been my go to, but I’ve been trying Sherwin Williams more and am considering the paint you suggested. I’m going to head down and talk to the store more.

I’m still thinking I might attempt to spray and take my time to empty and mask everything off. The question now is which HVLP do I want to pull the trigger on. Time to do some more comparison Google searching.

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