Brandon: Hello. I’m Brandon Lewis, publisher of Painter’s Weekly and founder of The Academy for Professional Painting Contractors. I’m here with Mike Balding, a professional at Absolute Painting in the Lenexa, Kansas area. We’re going to talk about refinishing your cabinets. It can really transform the way that any room looks and it’s the very cost effective way to do it. Mike, welcome to the program..
Mike: Yeah. Thanks for having me on today.
Brandon: Well, first off, painting cabinets is very difficult. There’s lots of detail work. To get this transformation people want both aesthetically and to protect and daily use requires a lot. Let’s talk about how you prep the surface of the cabinet and how it’s perhaps different from prepping or preparing the surface on other surfaces that you paint.
Mike: That’s really, really important. At Absolute Painting we do a certain number of steps in a certain order. We sand, we clean, we prime. You start with sanding the remove the gloss from the previous surface. You got to clean everything off of there because people are touching cabinets all the time. Lots of skin oils, food debris end up on the cabinets and all that stuff has to be taken off. Finally, we have to use an adhesive primer that bonds to the surface of the cabinets and gives something for the top coat of paint to bond to. Really super important when you’re considering changing the color or the look of your kitchen cabinets because in the long run this will save you a lot of money. But you want to make sure that the … a lot of money over doing a new set of cabinets, but you want to make absolutely sure that the product you apply sticks.
Brandon: I have watched this happen before, both in personal experience and I’ve heard horror stories of it, you can select very easily the absolute, positively wrong product for cabinets. There’s only a handful of them that any professional painter would put on their own cabinets in their own home, but so often home owners either because of painting contractor trying to take a shortcut or who lacks knowledge or started out with a DIY dream project that turned into a nightmare. Talk about product selection and why that’s so critical for cabinets.
Mike: That is really, really important. I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve gone to a customer’s house and they started painting the cabinets themselves just by going to the local big box store and buying a gallon of latex paint in the color that they like and they just pop a door off and start painting it on. Before long, they realize that they’ve gotten themselves into something that’s actually really challenging. There’s a couple of things that you have to consider. Number one, what coating is on the cabinets right now? Is it paint, is it lacquer, is it a nitrocellulose lacquer? Is it a pre catalyzed lacquer finish? Because the answer to each of those questions is going to determine the appropriate product to place on there to make sure it sticks.
Mike: Number two, you want to have a product that has good flow and leveling because you can buy any latex paint and put it on your cabinets but you’re going to see brush marks, roller marks, and tool marks in it that really decrease the overall appeal of your cabinets.
Mike: And finally, you want to consider what kind of grain does my cabinets have? Do I have oak cabinets that have a deep grain that are going to need to be filled with multiple coats of appropriate priming product? Or, do I have a set of maple cabinets that are very smooth and are going to show any type of tool marks or scuffs or gouges? Those are all important things that the home owner has to consider before they take on a large task like refinishing their kitchen cabinets.
Brandon: Well, we’ve got two ways we can go. We can go painting or you can go with toning. I want you to describe the difference of those two with cabinet refinishing and also want you to talk about, even though this isn’t something that we were going to talk about, talk about the durability because durability in the product is really, really important. Wedding rings, pots, pans, plates, kids are always around and sometimes cabinets get a pretty rough treatment. Talk about whether you go painting, whether you go toning, and also talk about durability.
Mike: Absolutely. I’m going to tackle the durability question first. The thing that you want to do is make sure that the paint that you choose to put on or any product you put on there, cures to a very hard finish. That’s going to require spending a little bit more money than buying your average latex paint or latex enamel. The products nowadays are actually a hybrid product that is an oil and alkyd water based. The chemist that deal with paint have figured out a way to give you the hardness of an oil finish without the brittleness and the yellowing that often happens with oil based products. At Absolute Painting that’s pretty much the only type of paint that we use on the cabinets because it dries very, very hard and lasts for a very long time.
Mike: Let’s talk about the two options. Typically, you’ve got painting or you’ve got toning. Painting consists of completely covering the surface with a solid color. You can choose pretty much any color you want but it’s going to be solid all the way through. The other option you have is toning. You can, actually, if you’ve got lacquered cabinets that have a clear finish on them with stain underneath, you can apply a toned lacquer that will darken the cabinets some while still preserving some of the look of the wood grain. This is something that’s been very popular, especially with those homes in the late ’90s, early 2000s that have the yellowish oak cabinets. We’ve gone over several of those with a walnut toned lacquer and really provided them with a, what’s looks like a brand new set of walnut cabinets.
Mike: The other thing that you can do with these cabinets is you can a myriad of distress finishes, glazing, and specialized things like that that can really customize your cabinets and give them great appeal. That just comes down to meeting with your painting contractor. At Absolute Painting we show the customers samples and offer different options and ideas to help them achieve the desired look that they want.
Brandon: Well, Mike, you have run the gamut, at least gotten people started if they’re considering re-staining or painting their cabinets in Lenexa. Thank you so much of joining us on Paint Talk. It’s been fun.
Mike: Thanks for having me.
Brandon: I’m Brandon Lewis with The Academy for Professional Painting Contractors and publisher of Painter’s Weekly. I hope that you’ve enjoyed the program. Until next time, I’m signing off.