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.
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 SOLID oak is outdated, but MDF is not? Translucent or stained oak is outdated, but painted wood or MDF is not?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 As with all trends and fads, the stuff we are covering up oak with will eventually become outdated too.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.
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
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. 🙂
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.
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.
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.
The only thing worse than honey oak is tacky “pickled” oak. Whoever came up with that should be forced to quit the design business and sell timeshares forever. To my deep shame, three of the last four houses I’ve bought came with pickled oak which had to be eradicated. Each time I swore Never Again!, but it repeats on me like a cheap burrito. ????
Oak pores are large enough to be easily discernible, and the grain of oak is distinguished by wavy bands of dark and lighter wood tones. One way to create a smoother surface for painting is to coat wood with a paste-type wood pore filler. Use a putty knife or other flat blade to apply filler in two very thin coats, one following the grain of the wood and the other crossing the grain. Let the first coat dry thoroughly, for at least several hours, then sand it with fine-grit paper. Repeat with the second coat. You will achieve a smooth surface with no discernible bumps, ridges or pitting caused by the composition of the wood.
Sealing Wood Pores Oak pores are large enough to be easily discernible, and the grain of oak is distinguished by wavy bands of dark and lighter wood tones. One way to create a smoother surface for painting is to coat wood with a paste-type wood pore filler. Use a putty knife or other flat blade to apply filler in two very thin coats, one following the grain of the wood and the other crossing the grain. Let the first coat dry thoroughly, for at least several hours, then sand it with fine-grit paper. Repeat with the second coat. You will achieve a smooth surface with no discernible bumps, ridges or pitting caused by the composition of the wood.
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.
Oak cabinets can bring a warmth and charm to a kitchen, den or other room, but this midtoned, heavy-grained wood is not the right material for every decor. Wood-toned cabinets that contrast with wall treatments can make a room feel crowded, closed in or depressingly dark. Painting cabinets can create a room that feels more spacious or light-filled. With sanding, sealing and painting, you can keep your well-built cabinets while changing their look.
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!