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I have a large new house of cabinets coming up that are all painted. I have only done a few small jobs in the past with painted cabinets. Most have been cherry with a dark stain. Almost to the point I cant wait to do something different.
For finish product I use gemini conversion lacquer. My process was spray inside of boxes with clear, tape off and spray 2 coats of tinted finish on face frames. (stained cabinets always 3 coats but the sales rep said no more than 2 is recommended)
My biggest question is at what price upcharge should painted be at? Comparative to cherry? On a small job I couldn't really get a great time calculation on it. I plan to use soft maple for ff and door styles and rails with mdf center panels. Mdf will be used for all finish ends as well. It seems as I add up my material list of which I generally double (with outsourcing doors and drawers) my total materials are a bunch lower than if it was cherry (obvious) So when I double that figure I am way short of labor. So I added back in about 25% of then double to make up for the extra time involved.
Am I on to the right track? I just want to be competitive on this project as I know they are getting other bids.
Next question would be, what extra time is needed and in what detail/ precaution with painted cabinets. Am I underestimating what it takes compared to a stained cabinet? It seems for the time I save from staining I can tape a lot of cabinets off. But my concern is what steps pry to finishing are more important with painted cabinets than stained? Any insight would be greatly appreciated!
Price wise I have a baseline sq-ft price for a natural finish. I tack on about 25% more for a stain and 50% more for paint.
Process wise, I try to avoid masking and spraying. If I can, I will pre-finish entire sheets for the cases, pre-finish the frames and then assemble frames to cases.
We used to do a lot of cherry jobs, but 90% of the jobs over the last 2 years have been painted. Couple of thoughts
1. Conversion varnish: depending on your mil thickness and how aggressive you sand, 2 coats may not be enough coverage. I prime, flatten with 220 grit and then do 2 coats. You have to make sure your not getting it too heavy on areas that overlap. (CV to thick will be prone to cracking at the joints).
2. Pricing: As you see, material cost is much lower, but your finish time is much higher. I charge the same for "painted" or stained (exceptions for Walnut and high gloss). I also have an up charge for very dark colors and black. Is your total price materials x2? I try and keep my materials at 1/3 or under depending on install factors.
MDF is a poor choice for finished ends especially on lowers. Mars way to easy.
When I say materials times 2....that's figuring the cost of my doors and drawers outsourced into all the other materials. So not far off from materials times 3 I suppoce?
And install is added on top of that.
How much you going to charge for your learning curve? I'd hate to do my first painted job on a big project. You should probably sub that part out. You won't have to learn on this job, the cost would be set, and you won't get any call backs in a couple of years if you make some mistakes with materials. It doesn't bode well that you have ignored manufacturer recommendations in the past.
Justin, Have you considered just ordering in the doors and FF's finished and building the cases out of UV Ply or melamine?
I am always amazed at how reasonable it is to just outsource those components.
I have thought about going that route except it would change how I build cabinets. I do all flush ends and bottoms so I don't exactly know the right way to address that in a way to not totally change the way I build. This job will have lots of finished ends so trying to match up color would be a nightmare I think.
From what I can see, the additional time is spent filling in joints that arnt perfect with bondo besides the extra time to deal with crown ect. It seems as if the time that is saved from staining would cancel a lot of that extra time spend on prep out. Taping off boxes goes pretty quick over all. I'm just trying to see if I'm missing bigger issues that could stand out more on a large job than an occasional island or hood.
We do a lot of painted work, I'll give you my thoughts on it. First thing is start using prefinished ply for the interiors, no way you can put the finish on yourself for the price difference of the ply. I rarely have to mask anything off. We have carts with casters, all my faceframes get primed and painted laying down on the carts. We have a large table with soft carpet for assembly. And I've never built a box and attached a faceframe, we lay the frame face down and build the box to it. As far as painting, we prep as good as possible and then prime. Fill any imperfections, scuff and prime again, scuff again and then paint. Make sure the second coat of primer is perfect, don't leave any imperfections thinking that the paint should cover it. In the end there's almost always a mosquito that will land on the wet paint and start doing push-ups ...