Opaque Finish Choices

      Finishers discuss their preferred opaque finish products. February 15, 2015

Question (WOODWEB Member) :
I have had too many paint failures using Mohawk vinyl sealer and white pre-cat lacquer. White kitchens are more popular than ever and conversion varnish paint is hard to come by. Matching the customerís colors is always a problem, pre-cat or CV. It almost seems like Mohawk starts with a clear base and adds titanium oxide plus pigments to match white colors, instead of starting out with a white base.

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor A:
What problems have you had? Iíve been using their white EZ vinyl tinted to the color requested with clear vesa lac post cat product with great results. I would use their CV with white since all the others with turn yellow with time.



From contributor K:
I second CWK. Seek alternate (and more favorable) vendors. Sherwin Williams makes fantastic products at very competitive prices. I only use Mohawk for their Touch Up supplies. Their blendal sticks have proven to be a god send. That said, I would never use their stuff for every day production.


From contributor J:
Pre-cat in a kitchen is asking for a failure. Use CV or 2k poly. The only time I use that is with someone flipping a house.


From the original questioner:
Thanks, I think it's time to change back to CV. I recently did touch up on a job I did back in 1996. Over all it still looked great. It was done with SW catalyzed vinyl sealer and SW conversion varnish (white). By the way, the failures are almost always around the sink area. I have had problems with caulking cracking on the panels of my doors. I have also had problems with seams of the door panels (where they have been glued and clamped showing up).


From the original questioner:
By the way 2k poly is a great product as well. Iíve never done a complete kitchen with it though.


From contributor K:
Try Sherwin Williams Kemvar primer surfacer (E63 W50). Then apply color over that with a color match conversion varnish by Sherwin Williams (Kemvar H66). You will get far superior product over spraying tinted vinyl sealer. Vinyl sealer has its place, but not to deliver color in my opinion. I only use vinyl sealer over stain. Very rarely do I tint it, and when I do itís just to make a slight adjustment to the stain color.


From contributor A:
How much reducer do you use with the Kemvar? I may also give it a try for a set of white cabinets.


From contributor K:
Kemvar pigmented conversion varnish is reduced 50%. It is recommended to use their Kemvar Reducer but I always just use premium lacquer thinner (and we spray a ton of it). I will say, however, that when you do use the Kemvar reducer, the panels are a little nicer to the touch. Thatís the only noticeable difference I could point out. It feels a little better, but looks the same.


From contributor S:
The Kemvar reducer is just a custom blend of solvents, mostly butyl acetate. It would be safer to cut it with the acetate because the lacquer thinner is a blend of hotter solvents and could cause some issues like micro bubbles and solvent pop. The acetate will slow the initial flash off enough to let any entrapped air out of the top before it skins over.


From contributor A:
Ok bear with me. You mix the CV with 50% by volume of the SW reducer than add the 6.2 % of catalyst? Is it a gallon after itís reduced or before? It seems like one would need a bunch of empty pails. Iím used to spraying coatings that are already at viscosity, but am interested in trying this on my next pigmented job.


From contributor K:
You catalyze the portion of paint, not the thinner so you would put half a gallon of paint, a quart of thinner, and 3.9 oz catalyst. I have to agree with the above response. Butyl acetate is a much better solvent. But again, I have no issue with just premium lacquer thinner. Occasionally, on a very hot day, we may get some solvent pop. We remedy this by replacing with butyl acetate, or adding mak to the thinner to slow it down.


From the original questioner:
I spoke to a chemist at Valspar a few years ago about which solvent to reduce with C.V. Valspar says use lacquer thinner, whereas Sherwin Williams says use high flash naphta or zylene. Valspar chemist agreed that high flash naphta was a better solvent to use. I believe high flash naphta is a blend with buytal acetate in it. I love using it however can't get it any more where I live (still a little confused about the difference between an aromatic and an aliphatic solvent. Aromatic is hotter I think, like solvents in lacquer thinner).



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