Paint Over Pre-Cat for Kitchen Cabinets

Can you paint over a pre-catalyzed cabinet finish when the customers change their minds? Sure. Should you? Not so sure ... July 3, 2008

I just installed a kitchen (not mine). The owner doesn't like the color and wants oil base paint finish. Can it go over precat and if I do what are the steps?

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor C:
Can you yes, should you no. Though it should be successful if you try it - it will never hold up as well as if it had been done from the start with an oil base system.

From contributor M:
Yes it can be done, and is done all the time now that everyone wants this cloud white color. As Contributor C said it should have been done from the start , but this is what I would do.

Sounds as if it is a new kitchen? Make sure everything is cured. If it is an old finish wash with TSP and rinse well. Scuff sand entire units and prime with alkyd primer and scuff sand again. Top coat it with alkyd paint, and then rub it down with a fine sanding sponge. Then top coat it again. I spray everything. Make sure to use a good paint like Benjamin Moore. You will probably pull the doors off and spray them at the shop and have the customer get a painter to do the cabinets.

From contributor A:
I would use BIN shellac primer instead of an oil primer. The shellac is very thin. Theoretically it should bond better to the precat. Another coat of oil (primer) is just going to delay the final film hardness. The oil primer coat will have to off gas for awhile as well.

BM Impervo is a decent final topcoat but takes 30 days to achieve anything resembling hardness. I've seen numerous white oil based kitchens get all dinged up. I've also seen fingerprints and permanent dirty marks as well.

From contributor A:
I'm sure this will start another discussion. But an acrylic waterborne topcoat is superior to an oil paint based finish in almost every measurable way.
1. final hardness
2. cure time to final hardness

The one thing people don't like about them is they dry so fast and they are more difficult to brush.

From contributor C:
Though I cannot argue the fact that it can be accomplished or that it is frequently at present being accomplished, the long term affects of these methods are at most a stop gap measure. You'll more than likely get away with it in the short run but it may come back to get you later on - usually just when you can least afford it.

From the original questioner:
Thanks for responding. The cabinets are new and the Caesar Stone tops are on hold until this gets figured out. The owner wants the finish to look old with brush marks showing. A painting company wants to scuff sand with a de-glosser and then brush on cover stain (Zinser) and finish with 2 coats of BM Impervo.

The owner has this brushed on finish in their primary residence but it was done on unfinished cabinets. I don't want problems down the road with this. Nobody needs that. The other option is stripping the cabinets and start from scratch. The problem now is waiting for the cabinet manufacture to let me know what they will cover. The stripping route is over $8000.00 Thanks again for your help.

From contributor D:
How big is this kitchen ?

From the original questioner:
There is about 36' of lowers and 25' of uppers with crown and light rail. This includes vanities.