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Painted Cabinets

scott brady

Met with customer about painted finish, we typically spray conversion varnish. She did not like the smooth feeling and said it looked to plasticly. Showed me some doors from another cabinet she had that was definitely finished with a brush, very light strokes. I talked to a painter friend that said in the old days they would brush oil, but latex was to much trouble.

Any suggestions to achieve this finish? Thanks

2/7/20       #2: Painted Cabinets ...
Leo G Member

Spray painting won't look like brushed.

Best you might be able to do is to spray your primer with lots of retarder and brush it to get the brush marks.

Then sand it with scotchbrite or other woven abrasive and then spray your finish. It's still going to feel smooth but you might get the brush marks showing through.

2/8/20       #3: Painted Cabinets ...

We offer a finish with brush strokes (haven't done one in awhile), we prime with Clawlock, than spray Satin Impervo following with brush strokes, it takes time to brush and dry but we up charge for such a service.

2/8/20       #4: Painted Cabinets ...

Personally I think brushed painted cabinets looks cheap
But sometimes clients like to do an accent piece of furniture or maybe the island in the kitchen
I did such a job like that back in 2012
The perimeter cabinets were one color and the island another with brush strokes
I didn't finished the cabinets just installed
But I do know they used post cat finishing products to get the look and feel
I can try to touch base with the manufacturer and see if I can get the info on how they did it

2/8/20       #5: Painted Cabinets ...

I like what Leo is saying. General Finish has a WB brushable pigmented finish. You could brush the GF either on raw wood or the 2nd coat then topped with GF's pigmented Enduro line. Or you could possibly use GF's brushable clear line in the same manner to get the right look.
Charge em whatever you do because it won't be fun.


2/8/20       #6: Painted Cabinets ...
dan shaf Member

We do some serious high end houses, the kind that you see in movies. Painted finishes are in, like it or not as finishers. I hate it.

The wood is sanded to 120 grit using a random orbit sander, peel and stick no vacuum holes pad. We feel that hook & loop is more like using a cushioned abrasive instead of like block sanding. MDF is sanded to 320, and I mean sanded, to the point where it's almost burnished. If the mdf soaks up the primer then it hasn't been sanded to our standards. A bad primer coat telegraphs through the topcoat. A poorly prepped substrate also telegraphs through the topcoat.
We do latex. We lay down a coat of oil based primer, thinned 25% with naphtha.

The primed surfaces are sanded with 320 grit, also random orbit sanders, peel & stick discs, usually 3M yellow bond (U-216?).

Then we lay down a latex topcoat, usually Benjamin Moore Satin Impervo, thinned 10% with water. For both oil base and the latex we use CAS (not HVLP, not LVLP, CAS = Conventional Air Supply). guns with 1.4mm fluid tips/needles. We boxcoat when possible, or do wet on almost-wet topcoats.

Then there's a 2nd topcoat. If it's going to be brushed on, that's done on site after installations by regular painting crews. They will scuff our sprayed latex with 320 or 400, either block sanding or ROS or both and brush on their topcoats, the same stuff that we sprayed in the shop.

If the spec is for a delivered latex, we do both topcoats in the shop, everything is sprayed. The first topcoat is scuffed with 3M's 600 grit wet/dry sandpaper by hand. The sandpaper clogs easily, but that's what we use because of the quality of the scratch pattern. The latex looks just like any other satin film-forming finish, minus any decent durability, of course.

We DON'T do latex over Clawlock to my objections. Our other finisher feels that the latex will peel, eventually. True or not, for sure, the best adhesion of the latex is over the oil based primer and because of our unique client base, we err on the4 side of caution as well as finish mythology (my opinion, not the other finisher's opinion).

We have a long and established track record for what we do and for whom we do it. These customers tell us their wants, what they want to pay for. We oblige.

We don't reinvent the wheel, even going back to using regular spray guns.

2/8/20       #7: Painted Cabinets ...
dan shaf Member

Regarding brushing a catalyzed or post catalyzed coating, you can do that, meaning it's possible, but here is a reason that you would not want to do that:

Wet and dry mil thicknesses, especially the dry mil thickness of a brush stroke. That thickness will likely exceed the 4-5 dry mils of thickness that is the tolerance level for many of the solvent based coatings that we use. Never mind durablity - a painted finish has no durability to begin with - but performance is different than durability. Performance of a coating relates to the way that the film survives as an intact film. Will it shatter or fracture? Will it lose adherence? It could. Likely? Probably not. Most likely not. I've done it, brushed on a post-cat, thick like pudding. Ok, not that thick, but you get my point.

My philosophy is that your customer askede for something that's currently popular in high end homes. Sell them what they want, not a facimile of what they want. A redhead dopesn't go to the hairdresser asking for a specific hairdo only to have the hairdresser bullying them to becoming a brunette.

2/9/20       #8: Painted Cabinets ...

Hollandlac from Fine Paints of Europe.
Very spendy but a top quality oil based brushing enamel. I've used it a number of times for exactly the purpose you describe and it worked perfectly. I always charge time and material for this work as it will take days to finish what you could do in hours with a spray gun and a fast dry finish. Your biggest problem might be finding a experienced brush man who knows use oil enamel.

2/9/20       #9: Painted Cabinets ...
Jim Clark  Member

I have brushed on automotive urethane
with great results.
that gives a good 2K durability finish.
You can even use a auto 2K urethane
primer beneath it when needing build.
It sands so nice and fills everything to
give a really flat surface.

2/9/20       #10: Painted Cabinets ...

Dan shaf

Spraying latex with conventional spray gun with a 1.4 tip and only thing with 10% water?

WOW! That's impressive!

2/9/20       #11: Painted Cabinets ...

Dan shaf

Spraying latex with conventional spray gun with a 1.4 tip and only thing with 10% water?
And getting good results?
WOW! That's impressive!

2/9/20       #12: Painted Cabinets ...
dan shaf Member

Water goes a long way to depress a thivk paint. What's my viscosity after adding 10% water? It's still thick. The fan pattern is still small, maybe 4" - 5". If you thin it more than that then you don't get the paint to cover and you risk serious drips, sags, & curtaining of the paint on any surface that's not flat. We spray so that the wet mil thickness is about 3 - 4 wet mils.

Latex wants to set up quickly. Spraying frames (rails & stiles) can sometimes be a challenge.

We aren't adverse to satinizing the finish after, a very light rub with Scotch-Brite. We don't hand rub brushed surfaces. No need. Brush strokes have texture.

Where or how did the brush stroke look enter the market to capture the eye of the designers and the customers? Most likely it's the shows from Public TV and maybe HGTV that influenced and corrupted/changed the culture of how to look at a finished cabinet.

2/9/20       #13: Painted Cabinets ...
Jim Clark  Member

If you're going to spray latex paint you really
need an airless sprayer.
That's what it's made for.

2/10/20       #14: Painted Cabinets ...
John Member

Dan, you might try BM's Extender instead of or as a portion of the water you are adding. 3% water plus 3% extender will cut the viscosity of BM Advance from 500 seconds #4 Ford cup to less than 300, and I can spray thinner coats with a wider fan pattern that flow out better and dry much faster.


2/12/20       #15: Painted Cabinets ...

First. Do not use latex house paint. Most of the usual suspects have Acrylic waterborne topcoats which are decent, but take too long to dry and reach hardness.

If you want to brush a waterborne finish on a pro grade cabinet. Use a pro grade product. MLC has Aqualente. It brushes really well.

We are located in New England. Painted cabinets have been a thing forever. Some people like it and request it.

Iíve seen a couple of kitchens done by other companies that tried to brush pigmented cv. It looked like some body dragged a hay broom across it.

2/13/20       #16: Painted Cabinets ...
dan shaf Member

We have 2 Devilbiss JGA-502 siphon feed guns, both with 1.4mm fluid sets. One is used for Zinsser oil based primer/sealer (thinned 25% with naphtha) and the other Devilbiss is used for latex topcoats (thinned 10% with water). The 1st coat of latex is cut down with 600 grit wet/dry sandpaper (used dry). The 2nd topcoat is laid out, off the gun. The surfaces have the look and feel of melamine after they dry. We have heated air makeup, plus we can also bake the finishes in the booth.

2/14/20       #17: Painted Cabinets ...
DannyB Member

The thing about spray guns, you can get them to do whatever you want if you learn enough about how they work.

You could just use a reduced pressure (but not conventional/HVLP) pressure feed gun and really, they don't have a lot of trouble with interior paints because they have high enough atomizing air pressure.

It's not a super effective way of spraying walls but it's fine for spraying cabinet doors.

But if you don't feel like going all the way to pressure feed or AAA:

I have a gravity feed gun, and I hook up a 3m PPS pressure cup, and spray latex easily if i need to.

The pressure feed takes care of ensuring good fluid flow.
The gun itself is a compliant (but not HVLP) gun so it has no trouble producing enough atomizing air.

As weird as it may sound, there is nothing that stops you from pressure feeding most gravity guns from a pressure cup. On some guns, doing this with too high a fluid pressure will cause leakage , but you don't need a lot of fluid pressure. Just a few PSI will push the latex along fine.

Most guns these days have fine enough tolerances and sealing that it's not an issue.

It's also nice in general if you like cup-on-top style.

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