Pigmented Coatings for Cabinets

Thoughts on latex paints and pigmented lacquers for cabinet finishing. March 29, 2006

I need to spray a pigmented cabinet and thought of trying latex and a clear coat. Does it matter what sheen the latex is? Does anyone offer a quality but less viscous latex that doesn't need thinning?

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor H:
Try acrylic latex primer tinted to your color. Then clear coat with precat lacquer. I think you'll be pleased. Do a test because the clear coat changes the color of the primer when applied. Been doing it for several years now and no complaints yet.

From the original questioner:
Thanks, that's a good idea. I'd not considered a primer.

From contributor O:
If you use latex under lacquer, you better use a vinyl sealer before the lacquer. I like Campbell's pigmented Clawlock then Crystal topcoat for cabinets.

From contributor R:
Why not use a waterborne clear? When I need to paint, I shoot a waterborne pigmented sealer and then a waterborne clearcoat. No need to seal in between and no need to switch guns from water to solvent.

From the original questioner:
Contributor R, I like waterborne, and you're going the same direction as contributor H regarding the primer. This is sounding straightforward.

From contributor A:
I've been using Muralo's ultra acrylic waterborne paints on my cabinets for over 5 years. They will provide you with similar durability as any waterborne besides CV. No need to topcoat with a clear. They are thick enough to cover in one coat versus pigmented lacquers. Fuhr also sells an acrylic paint which is a tinted version of their 380.

From contributor S:
With our $100.00 guns, we can't spray latex worth a lick. Takes too many thinned down coats and we still have problems with rough finish. When successful with that approach, we would spray SW latex paint followed with their waterborne as a top coat. Recently, we've been having our ML Campbell guy mix up pigmented Magnamax to match the paint color. This is only as good as the mix guy, but the application is a breeze compared to latex with topcoat of wb poly.

From the original questioner:
Contributor A, that sound approach wouldn't give me the opportunity of screwing up a new schedule. Contributor S, nobody's identified a label with a low viscosity latex paint, and I didn't find one, but I recall mention of one. I was guessing on two coats - how many did you actually need?

From contributor S:
It's been a couple years since we've used the latex option. If I remember correctly, three or four coats, depending on the substrate. Poplar takes more coats than maple. This is using a standard gun with the pressure jacked up a bit, and a little Floetrol added to the paint, as well as a little warm water. As with any water based stuff we put on raw wood, we either seal with a coat of shellac or use shellac based bin primer so the grain doesn't raise. You can have the primer tinted so get you started in the right direction. Don't take any of these as more than food for thought. There's a reason we switched to the pigmented lacquer.