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Tips for painting kitchen cabinet doors

Painting Cabinets

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I'd like to help my friends who want to update their kitchen by painting the wooden doors on their cabinets. Can you give me some tips to help make the process go smoothly?–Chris Willoughby, Lakefield, Ont.

First, it’s important to prepare the surface so the paint will adhere to it properly. Begin by washing the surface with trisodium phosphate (TSP) and rinse thoroughly with clean water. Then, scuff-sand the doors with 150-grit sandpaper.

Next, prime the doors, preferably with an alkyd primer. An adherent latex primer will also work, but if you’re applying it to bare wood, it will raise the grain, requiring more sanding. After priming, sand the doors again with 220-grit or finer sandpaper.

After choosing the paint colour, you need to decide whether you want to apply latex or alkyd paint. Both products have their pros and cons. Alkyd paints are harder and more durable, and they also flow better. Latex paints are easier to work with, have less odour, offer easier cleanup and are generally durable enough for the job. Latex products are also the more environmentally friendly choice. When picking the right sheen, consult your local paint store, as many manufacturers offer products designed specifically for cabinetry, and these products may be available in a variety of sheens.

Now, you can apply the paint. Use a brush or small roller, depending on what you’re more comfortable using. Sand between the coats of paint with 220-grit or finer sandpaper in order to achieve a smoother, more professional appearance.

Two coats of paint should do the trick. And you can skip the topcoat–a well-painted surface is more durable than polyurethane.

–Anna Simmons

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Jan. 30, 2012

5:04 pm

We`re currently assessing the best way to refinish our existing cabinets. At this time we`re uncertain if we want a solid color or a darker stain finish as our `new` look. Do you have any insight or recommendations respecting these new `ease of use` products being marketed by ``Rust-oleum Cabinet Transformations`` as 'no scraping, no sanding and no priming' and ``SamaN`` which suggests cleaning only.

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