Painting Oak Kitchen Cabinets

Painting Oak Kitchen Cabinets

I am a bit confused. SOLID oak is outdated, but MDF is not? Translucent or stained oak is outdated, but painted wood or MDF is not? I guess Formica and vinyl veneered counters are preferred over granite too. I may be just another guy who prefers natural wood to chip board or MDF, but considering real wood costs a fortune today, I would think ANY real wood is a preference over composites, and to paint over it seems destructive. I drove by an MDF processing factory a couple of years ago and was appauled to see whole truck loads of trees being driven into the factory just to be put in a chipper and made into MDF. I thought MDF was originally supposed to be the “green” way to recycle sawdust and wood byproducts. It was supposed to be a cheaper alternative to the cost of real, solid wood. Now they are using whole trees to make MDF and chip board. As with all trends and fads, the stuff we are covering up oak with will eventually become outdated too. I read some info on websites promoting cabinet resurfacing, and they actually said they would apply a veneer of either MDF or PLASTIC film to the honey oak to update it. To imagine that some people would rather see a plastic veneer over oak appears ridiculous and petty to me, but what do I know. To me, cabinet refinishing is along the same lines as the people who insisted on ripping out solid oak flooring a few years ago, and replacing it with fake woodgrained vinyl Pergo. People run away from that junk now. In the end you have to use common sense and take a look at the big picture. Is refinishing “your” idea, or are you just getting sucked in by the fad and jumping on the refinishing bandwagon? So many refinishing projects ruin your cabinets, because they rarely turn out exactly like the picture on the paint can (that was done professionally), and the time and money you spend correcting your mistakes aren’t worth the project in the first place. If it were up to me, I would rather see real wood, over painted MDF, granite counters over Formica, and I wouldn’t concern myself over what some fad or product pushing company has to say about my personal preference for kitchen cabinets. Just my two cents worth.
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Painting Oak Kitchen Cabinets

Here’s my $0.02. Oak is the official wood of the middle class. I may be middle class, but that doesn’t mean I need to shout it from the mountain tops by living with an oak kitchen or driving a Taurus. Not that there’s anything wrong with Tauruses or Oak; both are rock solid. I just prefer something fresh and upscale looking. You won’t find oak in a multi-million dollar mansion. You may not find MDF either, but you will find white woods that look like MDF. Oak is unmistakably oak, and inhabits many a trailer park kitchen.
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Painting Oak Kitchen Cabinets

Okay, before I get into all the how-to stuff, let me take a moment to talk about oak cabinets and the wood grain debate.  Oak cabinets have the special distinction of having a very prominent wood grain.  Most pine, maple, cherry etc. wood cabinets don’t have this extra issue.  I am not just talking about the fact the cabinets look like wood, this grain is etched into the face of the cabinets.  When you paint oak cabinets white, the grain texture remains very apparent.
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Painting Oak Kitchen Cabinets

Step Twelve // Pro Secrets for Painting Kitchen Cabinets Hang Cabinets to Dry Between Coats Photo by Brian Wilder Painting cabinet doors is a trade-off between perfection and speed. John Dee, a perfectionist, prefers to do one side at a time, keeping the faces flat so they don’t get runs. But that’s 48 hours of drying time per door—one day per side. Here’s his method for painting both sides in a day. Twist two screw hooks into holes drilled in an inconspicuous door edge (the lower edge for bottom cabinets, the upper edge for top cabinets). Paint the door’s outside face as above. Let it dry for an hour while resting flat, then tilt the door up onto its hooks and put a drywall screw into an existing hardware hole. Hold the tilted door up by the screw and paint the door’s back side. When you’re done painting, pick up the door by the screw and one hook and hang both hooks on a sturdy wire clothes hanger. Suspend from a shower curtain rod or clothes rod until the door is dry.
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Painting Oak Kitchen Cabinets

My most popular post, by far, has been “How to Paint Your Cabinets Like a Professional.” As a result, I have gotten a lot of questions, specifically, about how to paint oak cabinets. I have tackled a great deal of oak cabinet client projects, so I thought I would share some tips and tricks for painting oak cabinets that I have learned along the way, if you’re looking to give yours a refresh.
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Painting Oak Kitchen Cabinets

Painting oak cabinets …….been there done that like 50 times . ……sure you can use oil base to help Level it out and try to make it disappear, if you are painting white or off white I don’t care what kind of oil you use or hybrid like Ben moores advance it will yellow. . Most home owners will not pay the labor cost to make it disappear . At some point you have to think , is it worth paying 150 dollars of labor to get the grain out or go buy a new paint grade maple door for 50 dollars . I always clean sand and prime the oak doors , I spray everything , but when it comes to oak I roll on the primer and paint ( sand able waterborne ) and push into grain ( multiple costs and sand between )The trick is a end , I always use a dull precat varnish to hide the grain , the last thing you want to do is shine them up ….. The grain will show like crazy ! . When it comes to clear coats there is no durability difference in w high gloss or a dull flat finish …… Ok that was my 2 cents
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Painting Oak Kitchen Cabinets

Hey Melle! Good question that I forgot to mention in my post. I just personally don’t like the look of painted oak cabinets, that LOOK like painted oak. That first sample that I had made where the grain showed a lot, I did not like it at all. When Adel made his sample it was NOTHING like my first sample. And if I’m being honest, I’d rather have the look of high end MDF (even though it doesn’t look like that) than painted oak that’s noticeable. I just don’t have a special bond with oak or anything like some do. 🙂
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Painting Oak Kitchen Cabinets

Step One // Pro Secrets for Painting Kitchen Cabinets Prep the Room Photo by Brian Wilder (inset) Before starting a kitchen paint job, empty the cabinets, clear off the counters, and remove freestanding appliances. Relocate tables and other furniture to another room. Tape rosin paper over the countertops and flooring, and tape plastic sheeting over the backsplash, windows, fixed appliances, and interior doorways (to protect the rest of the house from dust and fumes). Mask off the wall around the cabinets. Finally, set up a worktable for painting doors, drawers, and shelves. Pro Tip: In kitchens the key to a good paint job is surface prep. “Old cabinets are covered with everything from hand oils to greasy smoke residue to petrified gravy,” says Dee. “You’ve got to get all that off or the paint won’t stick.”
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The biggest issue with painting oak cabinets is how to minimize the grain that comes with that type of wood. If you have maple or cherry cabinets, they paint up beautifully. Oak can have a similar result, it just takes a little more effort to get there. The wood grain can manifest itself in two ways: through the texture of the wood and also the grain bleeding through the paint.
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It is absolutely unbelievable what a difference painting our kitchen cabinets white made.  Even if we didn’t change anything else – not the gold speckled laminate countertops, not the appliances from the 80s, nothing – painting the cabinets alone makes it feel like an entirely new kitchen.  I know that sounds crazy, but I am completely for real.  Yes, it is time consuming.  Yes, it is a pain to have your kitchen in chaos.  But it is so very, very worth it in the end.
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Hello! I’m mid-process painting my oak cabinets, after doing an extensive (obsessive) amount of research, and reading all of your posts on painting cabinets. I took the long route, where I began by cleaning with Krud Kutter, sanded, applyed 2 coats of Behlen wood grain filler, sanded some more, primed with 3 (yes, 3) coats of PPG SealGrip acrylic water-base primer (tannins, ah!), completed a lot more sanding, and am now spraying 2 coats of BM Advance satin paint in white–Chantilly Lace to be specific. Now, I LOVE the finish. It’s amazing and smooth. But back to those tannins. I am apparently a heavy handed sander, and have sanded through all three of my primer coats in places. I tried to go back through and spot prime the places I sanded through before applying the first spray coat of paint, but I either should have applied a second touch up coat, or should have used an oil-based or shellac based primer, because now the tannins are bleeding through my first coat of paint in a few places. Noooooo! They’re tiny spots, say smaller than my pinky nail, but none-the-less, very stressful. I’m now wondering what the best remedy is for them. I fear if I don’t try to alleviate the issue now before the last coat of paint, they’ll just continue to darken and get larger as the final coat dries. Any experience with this? Advice? HELP PLEASE!