Solid Color Finishes for Kitchens

Finishers share views on the selection and application of solid-color finishes for kitchen cabinetry (including thoughts on site application and/or touch-up).November 29, 2014

I am producing more paint grade projects then in the past. I have always used tinted or pigmented conversion varnish custom mixed to match paint swatches of the clients choosing. Final results have been satisfactory and I like the durability and smooth finish. Problems are, application is tricky, requires additional coats compared to clear and it is mostly impossible to touch up in the field. Iím looking for alternative options for a spray on solid color, painted look. I was always under the impression that spraying actual paint was not a good option especially in environments such as kitchens. I am looking for a product that can be color matched and sprayed with my an HVLP system.

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor M:
If you are talking about spraying with an HVLP in the house itself, then I personally would never use anything but a waterbased product but I have not done this before. If I do any painting in the field, I use a brush and oil based. Even then, I just paint the cabinets/face frames and I take the doors back to the shop and spray them with post-cat tinted to match the cabinets. Itís the best of both worlds and my clients have always been very happy with it.

You might have luck with a product I've used from Sherwin-williams. It's a water-based product they call "Precat Epoxy" (it is not an actual epoxy so far as I can tell). It stinks, but it is waterbased. It's used around here to paint jailhouse and other institutional bathrooms. I painted our bathroom at work with it, and I can attest that it's pretty tough compared to any other brush-on waterbase I've ever seen. Thinning it with water shouldn't be a problem, you should be able to spray it just fine. I would not spray anything flammable in a house except for an airbrush and minor touch-up.

From Contributor T
The consensus around here is pretty much what you are using (CV). Bottom line is durability, looks, ease of use. I would also add availability. There are lots of things that have varying degrees of those attributes. Pretty much up to you I think, to try them and find out for yourself if they meet your needs. Unfortunately, I think that's how it goes.

That said, you have General Finishes pigmented polys (I haven't tried them - hard to get), Target pigmented lacquer (hard to get - doesn't seem very durable to me, maybe with top coating four or five coats of their WB poly and crosslinker), pre-cats, CAB Acrylics (might as well use CV).

Paint: Ben Moore Advance or Impervo. Advance is a hybrid oil with water cleanup. Impervo comes as oil or acrylic latex. Thereís also SW Pro Classic. I think there are now three variations of this paint which makes it very confusing when looking for solutions (same problem with Impervo). Of course there is Behr. Keep in mind that I'm a finishing hack that doesn't want to deal with solvents. If you don't mind all that goes with solvent finishes, CV is hard to beat.

From the original questioner
One point of clarity, I do all my spray finishing at the shop prior to install. At this point in the discussion it sounds as if the CV I currently use is overall the most durable and eye pleasing choice. I just wish there was a method for the occasional on-site touch up.

From contributor M:
Occasional on-site touchup, just use an airbrush. I have a Binks that can easily atomize most white paints at common viscosities. You can dial them down such that overspray is quite minimal, as is the resultant odor. It works with a very small air compressor.

From Contributor G
I have been using General Finishes for the past four years and I haven't had a single callback regarding paint. I have used their pigmented poly Enduro finish in flat then would top coat a clear poly from them on top. It used to run me about 4/5 med coats to get the color depth and build right with a light 320 sand in-between. It always laid down well and touch-ups on site were so easy it was common for use to do three coats on the crown, install it, fill the nail holes and then put two light coats on onsite.

This year I started shooting their milk paint which is really thick. It goes though the HVLP 5 stage .074 tip perfectly. I have reduced to three coats still with a scuff sand between and finish with a coat of their clear poly and let dry, only one time in the past five month did I have to spray a second clear. The only downside is it is only in flat, so it needed the clear top coat. Onsite spraying is now a two gun process, still it dries very fast and again I have four kitchens installed, all a shade of white and no problems so far. I found out about it four years ago when I re-sprayed a kitchen with 20 year old oak cabinets natural finish. I sanded all I could with the Festool RO 90 sander, and brushed the frames and sprayed the doors, nothing peeled and I have received many referrals from that client. It sticks to dirt and grease as far as I can tell so this year I made the switch after my second oak re-spray. Now Iím using it on all my maple painted work and so far Iím happy.

From Contributor H
I have learned that Proclassic Latex is a very reliable paint because it lays down so smooth if you have to feather in with a brush or brush the casings on the jobsite. I learned this terrible thing though, if you don't use the SW primer-and substituted the Bullseye solvent, you might get some weird red spots popping out on your light colored cabinets. I had to use SealCoat to stop that. I had thought it was a General Finishes problem with ProClassic but no, it was the effective primer 123 Bullseye.