Durability and Touch-Up Qualities of Paint for Cabinets

What's the best paint for cabinets that need frequent touch-up because of damage by household pets? November 25, 2008

I have a customer who has 14 dogs! I will be making maple cabinetry for their kitchen painted off white. The decorator has picked a Benjamin Moore product. They want a paint that they can touch up after the dogs scratch it or gnaw on it. I'm thinking BIN as a primer, followed by 1 coat flat and finish with 1 coat satin Benjamin Moore. I will be spraying all coats. I've done painted with flat color, then topcoated with lacquer, but they need to touch up quite frequently, so I think I should stay away from lacquer. I think Benjamin Moore's paint is pretty durable anyway, maybe better than lacquer.

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor S:
Muralo waterbased Universal Primer and Muralo Ultra Satin. Touchup is a breeze.

From Paul Snyder, forum technical advisor:
Benjamin Moore's Waterborne Satin Impervo Enamel (100% acrylic) would be comparable to lacquer in durability and relatively easy for the customer to do touchups. It's also non-yellowing, unlike their oil-base enamel, which would allow future touch-ups to color match more closely. The oil-base enamel would be a lot more durable, though.

If you spray the finish, it will be flat and smooth. That means any touchups the customer does will stand out to some extent, depending on how smooth (or rough) the repairs are. With that in mind, the actual finish you use isn't as critical as it might seem at first. The main consideration seems to be how critical it is that the repairs match color exactly. If some yellowing of the finish isn't too big a deal, then you're free to use whatever you want for the initial finish.

I'm wondering why you are planning to use one coat of flat sheen followed by one coat of satin sheen? Why not just use the same product (satin) for both coats?

From the original questioner:

I like to lightly sand between coats. I was thinking the flat coat would be easier to sand. Years ago I used Muralo paint - my shop floor is painted with that brand. I was always happy with Muralo but nobody carries it around here anymore. I'm planning on buying 3 gallons and giving the homeowner the leftover.

From contributor A:
The BIN is a good start. 2 coats of Satin Muralo Ultra would be their best bet.

From contributor P:
The Impervo and Muralo are pretty similar, although I'd say Muralo sprays a little nicer. It's harder to find, though, and then you have the potential of not matching the BM color exactly. The WB Impervo is only available in one sheen (satin - lucky for you!). Whichever one you use, you'll need to thin it with a little water, and use a fairly big tip on your gun. Neither one lays out as nice as lacquer in my opinion, but you should be able to get decent results. Do some tests. I'd be a little worried about resistance to household chemicals in a kitchen.

From the original questioner:
I have located Muralo dealer, not local, but no biggie. I could use satin where I know dogs abuse cabinets the most, allowing for touchup. Muralo has a finish called Ceramithane. I could topcoat with this on areas where dogs don't seem to bother the cabinets. They say this is kitchen approved and will hold up to household chemicals, and it is a clear finish. Topcoat over satin or topcoat over flat?

From contributor A:
Muralo also has a ceramic fortified Ultra topcoat. It is designed for bathrooms and is scrubbable. It is similar to the ceramic (aluminum oxide) enhanced floor finishes. I believe it might only be available in flat or matte.

The Ceramithane is a good acrylic/poly clear topcoat. I have sprayed one gallon. It is the thinnest waterborne finish I have seen. Takes numerous coats to build a finish. It is KCMA and floor finish approved.

From contributor A:
My Muralo dealer computer matches any BM color. That is not an issue.

The Muralo may spray better than the WB Impervo. But no other waterborne comes close to the brushing of the Muralo Ultra. They have a real winner.

From the original questioner:
I have an Apollo HVLP compressor model spray gun. I have sprayed many jobs with it with very good results, but I would like to do better. More and more I like water base products. Any suggestions for spray gun would be helpful. Also I think two coats of that Ceramithane over Muralo satin might be pretty good.

From contributor P:
I liked the Muralo stuff that I tried, but my local dealer was phasing it out, and few places carry it in my area (which is ironic, since I'm in NJ, where Muralo HQ is located). The Ceramithane sounds interesting. The product description says it's "high build." I didn't see any mention of what the solids content is. The test data looks pretty good. Maybe I'll give it a try. How does it look? Clarity okay?

To the original questioner: you should check with Muralo or your dealer to make sure the Ceramithane is compatible as a topcoat over their paint.

From the original questioner:
I did - they said no problem. I'm also in NJ. I have to go to Hackettstown or Dover to buy Muralo. I also use a water base lacquer, also rather thin, but sprays nice, by the Lenmar company out of Baltimore. In my opinion puts Target to shame - I have never been impressed with their products and they are also in NJ. Ceramithane is made in Illinois from what I read on website.

From contributor A:
The label on the back of Ceramithane does talk about high build. It is actually watery thin. We (the users) think of high build as high solids that substantial film thickness in a couple of coats. I believe they are referring to the ability (of all waterborne topcoats) to quickly build thickness by as many coats as needed. It is a durable crosslinked waterborne acrylic/poly. It's probably the most durable hardware store waterborne available, but no different than the good pro stuff we all use.