This is a common question. I am also often asked what the best time of the year is to paint outside. The best time in my opinion is late summer or early fall. The weather is more predictable and there are fewer temperature swings then in the spring.
The biggest problem with painting outside in the middle of summer is flash drying. If you paint in direct sun on a hot day this will occur. The surface of the home (siding) gets hot in direct sunlight. If paint is applied in this condition it will flash dry. I have actually seen steam raise from the surface when the paint is applied.
When paint dries too quickly it will create problems. The paint needs to be allowed to cure and have the solvent (water) evaporate over time. This allows the molecules of the paint to align and form a strong coating with good adhesion.
If painting is done on a hot day in the middle of summer then the paint should never be applied in direct sunlight. The painting should always be done on a side of the home opposite the sun.
How do you paint cabinets perfectly? Well it starts with what we call Best Practices. Best practices is a commitment to using acquired skill and the best products available. I believe we use the best products but that doesn’t mean we are not open to new technology, primers and paints as they become available. Constantly striving for improvement.
A fine attention to detail and being prepared to do what is necessary for a successful outcome is key.
If you want a perfect cabinet project hire a seasoned pro. If you would like to save money and are willing to put in the time then effort we have many tips in our blogs for what you should do and not do.
Basically you need to set aside the time to do the job. Mask, sand, caulk, putty as needed and choose the best primers and paints available. Stick to paint stores not big box stores. There are many tips in this blog that will help you to do a great job.
Where most people fall short is not realizing the time commitment involved on a cabinet project. Most of our standard kitchen projects run about 150 man hours plus. We put multiple painters on a project so we can do most projects in a week or so.
Fixing painting problems is something we are called in to do for customers all the time. These are things we are asked to take care of after a DIY (do it yourselfer) or amateur has done some painting. We just finished a post on this and were asked for more.
This is when paint does not want to adhere to the surface. This can be because of something being on the surface like grease, oil or something else. Sometimes this is because someone is trying to paint with a latex paint over an oil base product. This is common in older homes that have been painted with an oil base product. To fix this you want to make sure the surface is clean. Depending on what is on the surface you may need to clean it with a solution of TSP and water (trisodium phosphate) or denatured. Sand the surface down and make sure to wipe it free of any sanding dust. A quality bonding primer is a good idea before you paint.
This is the paint not sticking to those areas where the paint bubbles. More often then not this is because of moisture. With latex paint on the exterior of a house you can sometimes see where the surface looks fine but then after the sun hits the area paint bubbles appear and then disappear after the sun is no longer on that area. There are many possible causes for this from the paint being applied below the dew point, moisture issues in the siding, contaminates on the siding, the previous coating no longer adhering, etc. It is important to determine the cause so it doesn’t reoccur.
When this happens you want to cut the bubbles out, sand the area, prime it and then skim the area over with drywall mud on the interior or exterior grade patching compound on the outside to fix the scar. Sand it, prime it and paint.
New tape that is stuck because of the paint is easily removed if you use a razor knife and lightly cut the line between the paint and the tape. Old tape that has been forgotten can be removed with a hair dryer. it will soften the brittle tape glue and it can be rubbed off the surface.
Bad Cut Lines
If you have the original paint the fix is simple. If your not accustomed to cutting paint lines then take the time to tape off the areas you need to redo. Press the tape down well. Repaint the areas and pull the tape before it is completely dry.
Paint on Carpet
This one happens more often then you might think. All professional painters use a drop cloth for a reason. If the spot or spots are not too large the following will work. There are two different approaches to take. If the carpet is light colored then your best bet is to use a razor blade to shave or cut it out of the top layer of the carpet. If you wet the area to soften the paint you risk having the tint in the paint separate from the paint and stain the carpet. On medium to darker carpet try putting a wet rag on the spot to soften the paint. Leave it there for awhile. Let time do the work. Then pick at it and try to run it out of the carpet. You may need to use a razor blade again when done.
Brush marks are the sign of a low quality brush, poor brush technique or brushing back into paint as it dries. The simpleist fix is to sand the areas with the brush marks and brush the areas out with smooth even strokes of the brush. Do not go back into the paint as it dries.
Fixing painting problems is usually not difficult if you know how to do it. Hope this information is helpful.
One of the nice things about most paint jobs is if something goes wrong fixing mistakes is easy with a little know how. The following is some of the more common mistakes people make and how to fix them.
Paint can splatter just about anywhere. That is why you will see a professional painter spend time to mask areas off and work on a drop cloth. Sometimes that isn’t enough. If you have paint splattered on to glass (window) the easiest way to fix this is to use the edge of a razor blade to shave the paint off and then glean the glass with a window cleaner.
Drips and runs
Drips and runs usually occur from an overloaded brush or roller frame. It’s an easy fix. Let the paint completely dry and then shave as much of the paint as you can with a razor blade. Sand the area smooth. Sometimes the area may need a little spackle or drywall mud. Let dry. Sand and prime/paint.
Paint on the ceiling
If this occurs while painting your walls then wipe as much as you can with a rag while the paint is wet. If this happens on an unpainted drywall ceiling then wipe the spot then let it dry, you can scrape a bit of the drywall compound away with any of the remaining paint spot. If the ceiling is unpainted it may blend in.
If this happens on a smooth painted ceiling, wipe the spot with a damp rag before it dries.
If what you are dealing with is a bad cut line between the wall and ceiling (the wall paint has creeped up onto the ceiling) then depending on how much you are dealing with you may be able to scrape it clean on an unpainted ceiling and have it blend in. If it is a painted ceiling and you are lucky enough to have the ceiling paint or know what it is you can do a reverse cut around the ceiling to clean up the lines.
Uneven roll on the walls
If the wall finish seems uneven or there are lap marks, pole sand the wall down. Pay special attention to any lap marks or “fatties”, tape off the trim, cut and re-roll. Keep a wet edge and roll out a nice even finish.
Hopefully the next time you tackle painting a room these tips will help with fixing mistakes you may have.
The Kitchen is the Heart of your Home so you want your cabinets looking great.
Knowing the paint that works best on cabinets is perhaps the most important thing for a successful job. There are many choices out there for cabinets but in reality there are really only a handful of quality coatings that perform over the long haul.
There are paints designed specifically for the abuse cabinets get. I have seen both homeowners and “painters” alike pick paints that are very bad choices.
Benjamin Moore, Pittsburg Paint are two companies that have trusted products for high performance. There are others as well. Painters get attached to their brand and paint. If you ask several trusted paint pro’s they will each have their favorite.
We have evolved over many years to what we use today. We look for adhesion, durability and recoat windows. There are a small handful coatings that fit this criteria. There are many coatings that exceed in one regard but fall far short in another. For example a paint may have high adhesion but comes with a 24 hour recoat window. That is tough to deal with as a professional painter. That is several days for multiple coats of paint.
Many of the professional grade coatings can only be sprayed. That is the only way to do a set of cabinets and a factor to consider for the DIY homeowner.
There are three types of paint for cabinets.
Oil base paint. Old School. It is tough, durable and wears well. It smells, is tougher to work with and tends to chip and yellow over time.
Latex (water base) paint. User friendly. Low odor. Limited durability.
Hybrid Coatings. A combination of the best of oil base and latex paint. Urethane modified alkyd polymers suspended in latex paint. Smells more then traditional latex.
We use a waterborne acrylic urethane (Hybrid Coating) on our cabinet work.
Whether you plan on painting your cabinets yourself of hire a professional, there are definite do’s and don’ts if you want the smoothest finish when painting cabinets.
It is common knowledge that any professional paint job is 70% or more prep work. Painting kitchen cabinets is no different. The typical set of kitchen cabinets will take about a week start to finish. About three days or so of that week will be prep work.
We won’t go into great detail on the prep work here but focus mainly on what will give you the best finish.
We will assume all the necessary masking has been done.
You want all the doors and drawers removed. All hardware removed as well. Door and drawer silencers should be removed. The felt or rubber pieces that keep the door from banging into the cabinet.
Solvent clean everything. Denatured alcohol works great. Everything should be sanded down well. Remove all the dust by vacuum and hand wiping.
Now the most important factor. How the paint and primer are applied. The smoothest finish when painting cabinets can only be achieved by SPRAYING. You cannot brush and roll the finish on the cabinets and have it look like a professional did the job and you can’t brush or roll the primer and spray the finish and have it look right either. Everything must be sprayed. Spraying eliminates brush strokes and roller marks. The best painter in the world cannot brush a cabinet and have it look like it was sprayed. Unless they have a magic brush!
That may seem like common knowledge but there are painters out there that do exactly that. Brush and roll cabinets. There is one company in Omaha that takes the doors to their shop to be sprayed but brushes everything else in the customers kitchen.
The Big downside to spraying is the extensive prep work involved. Everything has to be protected. The walls, countertop, backsplash, appliances, floor, ceiling, sink.
I can only assume this extensive prep work is why this critical step and spraying is skipped but it is necessary for a professional job/finish.
The paint being sprayed is very important as well. There are fantastic and durable coatings for cabinets and paints that have no business in your kitchen. A high-end coating will be very durable to daily wear and tear and lay down nice when sprayed to give a beautiful finish.
The Graco handheld sprayer has been out for sometime. In comparison to other airless units it has had the most rapid design improvements. When they first came out in 2010 they were called ProShots. The most unappealing thing to me was that they were disposable. I could never wrap my head around a disposable sprayer regardless of their performance.
We recently had a project at the Omaha Hilton that was perfect for a couple of these units so we decided to give them a run for the money. They are in the $500 range.
We went with the cordless Ultra unit. There are three units available. A corded unit, a cordless unit and a cordless unit designed for “hot” solvent work. This unit is referred to as the Ultra Max.
We purchased two so we could avoid switching between primer and finish. If you are accustomed to a traditional airless gun then you will think these are rather heavy as I did. I thought they were heavy before adding paint. With the addition of paint they are cumbersome and take getting used to.
There are many improvements to the design of these since they first came out. The biggest improvement is the Battery. Previously the battery was heavy and didn’t hold a charge for long. Now they use a 20Volt Dewalt battery that is lighter and lasts much longer. We found a charge lasted about 30 doors before there was a noticeable drop in power.
Charging is fast and the spray pattern is good thanks to the new spray tips. Previously you had to use special tips specific to these units. Now standard RACX tips and housings work on theses units. The best combination is using the new FFLP tips. Fine Finish Low Pressure. These tips allow a softer lighter fan pattern at a lower pressure. Perfect for these units. Once you get use to the weight these handhelds spray similar to traditional airless pumps.
The Cup liner is new and a nice improvement. They are disposable but we usually rinse them out and reuse them. One thing that is critical is cleaning these out after use. A lot of guys may leave a pump in paint to spray the next day. That will no work with these. If you don’t clean them out after use you will have a problem with stuck pump parts, clogging.
We had a problem with one of the units. It just stopped spraying or cycling anything through it. Hot water, paint etc… It was replaced without issue and the person at Graco I spoke with said that that happens sometimes. I’m not sure what went wrong. It was not abused and it was cleaned out daily.
If you have items you want a sprayed finish on but don’t want to use an airless pump every time then the Graco handheld may be a good addition to your inventory.
We first used them on doors. Since then we have used them to spray handrail spindles and it worked well. The handhelds are perfect for anything that wouldn’t take more then a gallon of paint.
There are many cabinet painting options to consider as part of your cabinet painting or refinishing project.
This is the perfect time to decide if you would like to change your cabinet hardware. New pulls or knobs are a nice finishing touch to the cabinet painting project. The easiest thing is to pick pulls/knobs that match the holes you already have in your cabinet doors/drawers. If you do find new hardware that does not line up it is not a problem however. We can fill in existing holes with a special epoxy filler and drill new ones if need be.
There are many places to choose hardware from. I normally suggest someone go to a big box store and get one pull (on two hole doors/drawers) and make sure the size actually will work. You can then shop with confidence knowing the hardware you buy will fit. Many stores have displays of what they have available and the selection is endless on Amazon.
If you want to change out your hinges, now is the tie to do it. Simply take a hinge to match it and shop knowing it will work.
Soft-close hinges are an option. A little pricey but a nice touch. It makes sense to repaint your walls/ceilings as part of the project. Often customers want a complementary color on their walls and a fresh coat of paint on the ceiling always looks good.
After pulling out and sorting your cabinet contents it is nice to re-stock with cabinet organizers in place. Spice organizers, shelving, cooking utensil organizers… There are to many options to list here but the logical time to consider these is after your cabinets have been painted or refinished. Among cabinet painting options to consider is a new backsplash.
Ceramic tile and many other options are available as a peel and stick option. They look good and are not difficult to install.
I wish I had $5.00 for every time someone asked me what the best paint is.
Everyone wants the best used on their project and sometimes they are willing to pay the higher price for it too. Ha ha.
Millions of dollars are spent on advertising by companies to convince you they have the “best”.
The truth is most paint manufactures have good and not so good. Paint companies try to market to all demographics. People with money to spend and those on a budget.
One simple way to determine the quality of paint is to determine the percent of solids by volume. This information is available on a material data sheet. Not a material “safety” data sheet. If you go to a box store like Home Depot, etc. they aren’t going to know what you are asking for and you may get a strange look at even a paint store but this is valuable information to have.
The simplest way to understand this is to think of a gallon of paint. If the percent of solids is 50% then the other 50% is the solvent or water in latex products. The solvent evaporates off as the paint dries so 50% remains behind or on the surface of what you are painting. In general a product with 50% solids is going to be better then one with 40% solids. Do you want to buy a can 50% full or 40% full? The other 40 or 50% serve a purpose but go away as the paint dries/cures.
There are other considerations to consider like what the solids are, what the binder is, etc. but this is a simple way to know what you are buying.
If you buy a product from a reputable and well known brand and pick a product with high solids by volume you are likely getting a good product.
Shopping at a paint store is preferred for quality. Paint stores carry a better grade of products and the employees usually know the products they are selling.
It can be difficult picking a color for your project. “White” is no different. There are so many variations of white. Whether you are painting your house, walls, or cabinets, picking the right shade of white can be a challenge.
The most popular white colors we use when painting cabinets are
We have used other whites as well but these four are the most popular. We have done cabinets in many other colors too; black, blue, green, etc.
Occasionally we are asked to glaze a set of cabinets or do a special finish on them but “white” is still the popular choice in Omaha.
One of the most important considerations when picking a cabinet color is lighting. Natural light is important but so is the amount of light you have from light fixtures in your kitchen.
White on cabinets almost always works. It is an important consideration if your kitchen doesn’t have enough light. Dark colors work best in kitchens with lots of light. Can lights and other light fixtures that can have the light direction adjusted work well with dark colors. Adjusting the lighting to accent the cabinets is a nice look.
Four other things to keep in mind are:
Counter top colors
One other consideration often overlooked is the color of you appliances. Stainless steel works with everything. Black does not. White appliances with white cabinets may be too much.
White cabinets will make a kitchen look bigger. Darker colors will make the kitchen look and feel smaller.
One more thing to keep in mind is resale value. Refinishing cabinets is an expensive process and while you may like the color a prospective buy may not.
If you stick to the popular white colors or any other white color you will improve the appearance of your home, make the kitchen seem bigger and you will retain good resale value.