cabinet painting options

Old 05-26-19, 09:26 AM
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cabinet painting options

I realize this topic has been treated already and I thank your for your forbearance. I want to paint my 1980 era formica-over-mdf kitchen cabinets and I want to paint them white. My plan is to wash with TSP, then sand, then use a white shellac primer, sand and repeat. I need advice about the finish coat.

I like the hardness of oils and alkyds, but of course they will yellow over time. I have applied some of the newest 'cabinet coat' type paints on bookshelves when I needed a short cure time, but I could never get rid of stipple. The stuff doesn't level like oil, and it seems to me that no acrylic paint has the luster of oil.

So what are my options? Could I use a white brushing lacquer and apply many coats? Could I use a clear, water-borne urethane over the shellac primer as a final, sandable luster coat? Who makes the HARDEST semi-gloss acrylic?

I will be painting the dismounted cabinet doors with a mohair roller in the garage. I am a good DIYer who put himself through college years ago by working as a housepainter. I am not a pro but not unskilled.
Old 05-26-19, 10:32 AM
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Paint doesn't always adhere well to TSP residue so you need to make sure you rinse well! IMO it's not a great idea to paint over formica, a pigmented shellac is the only primer that has a chance of adhering. I'm not sure how using a clear over the pigmented shellac will look. I'd use a waterborne enamel ...... but then I wouldn't paint over formica.
Old 06-06-19, 07:59 AM
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As a paint specialist I would advise strongly against painting formica! You are going to have an extremely hard time getting anything to adhere to this material and lasting. If it does happen to dry and adhere properly at the beginning, before you know it you will have scratches, chips, and dings. If you really want a change I would suggest new cabinetry, new countertop, or just new cabinet doors and drawer fronts. Also, if you are taking about the whole cabinets themselves being MDF covered in formica, it's more than likely not formica. It's probably a product called thermofoil, which is for sure not paintable.
Old 06-06-19, 12:52 PM
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Makes sense what people are saying about formica, but if you can get anything to stay I can say that we went with acrylic paint and then some layers of lacquer on top. This was on wood cabinets though so I'm only commenting on the final layers. A few thin layers of clear lacquer over nice white acrylic paint has held up a few years pretty solid durability and washability. But we were looking for a semi-gloss finish and it seems like maybe you want a full gloss?

Last edited by jeffhot; 06-06-19 at 12:53 PM. Reason: additional sentence on gloss

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