Testing Before Refinishing: Is It Lacquer?

      Wipe a small, inconspicuous spot with lacquer retarder to see if the existing finish is lacquer or not. June 8, 2007

I have a request to re-spray 15 year old doors for a kitchen. They appear to have been sprayed with lacquer. Can I scuff and re-spray CAB lacquer over them and get a good finish? Never tried this!

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor J:
Appear? What if it isn't lacquer?

From contributor K:
Get some lacquer retarder from the paint store. Rub some on with a rag and see if it dissolves the finish. (Do this on the back of a door.) If it does, then it is lacquer. If it is lacquer, you can shoot fresh lacquer over the top and it will melt right in to the old finish. If it's not lacquer, you better find out what it is you are dealing with.

From contributor R:
That'll work unless the doors have silicone furniture polish or grease on them. If the finish is contaminated, it will be a mess.

From the original questioner:
Thanks for the advice. The retarder removed the finish nicely on the back of an island door no longer being used. Good to have four doors to test on without the oops factor.

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