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  • jcdremodels

How to Correctly Paint or Lacquer Cabinets

I get a lot of calls about people wanting their "Stain Grade" cabinets painted. There's also people who have already had them painted or lacquered and want a color change or have had product failure. There was a beg revival when everyone was buying up the 90's era McMansions in Atlanta during the early 2000's Prior to the Recession. Everything was Honey Oak Stain With Polyurethane Topcoat or Pre-Catalyzed Lacquers. Of Course we were glad to Convert them over To Paint Or White Lacquer. Then there was the solid tone blues and grey frenzy that everyone soon jumped on! Cabinets were one color, Kitchen Islands were typically an accent color. Then....... Then......There was the distressed phase and Chalk Paints! All scuffed up with Glaze on top. This was a nightmare when it comes to a re-paint scenario. Lots of prep/sanding and high build primers or under-coater to get the boxes, doors and drawers back to a machine grade finish. There's a lot of people doing cabinet painting specifically as a business and then there's the well rounded paint contractor that can basically do quality work on a broad spectrum of task. I would say we fall into that category here at Atlanta PaintWorks. There's so many scenarios in choosing the right coating for your cabinets. Lets start by figuring out what you have on them now. We typically test a door on the bottom edge with Denatured Alcohol (will react if water based) Mineral Spirits (will react if oil based) Lacquer thinner (will make lacquer behave a certain way that I'm familiar with) One system that I am truly fond of is INSL-X Stix Bonding Primer x2 Coats (SAND BETWEEN ALL COATS!!!) Top Coated With Sherwin Williams Pro Industrial Hybrid Water Born Alkyd Urethane x2 Coats or depending on the UV light exposure from windows and availability, Sherwin Williams Pro Classic (Oil Based) Nothing dries harder and tougher. There's also some wate-rborn Pre-catalyzed Epoxy from SW that performs well. Lacquers are Awesome but are Stinky and very Temperamental when it comes to blistering and flushing/hazing. I get a lot of calls to fix improperly coated or prepped Lacquered cabinets. So in summary. No two cabinet painting projects are the same and you shouls always do your due-diligence when it comes to finding the right contractor and coating system. Hopefully this helps someone on their journey. Please feel free to call us at 404-771-6243 or email me at

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