Hot Topics: Peeling White Cabinets

white cabinet doors with peeling paint

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Original Post: Peeling White Cabinets?

apsuhead - Thread Starter

Just bought a foreclosure and close in a few weeks. Appliances were gone so I just got those ordered. The white cabinets in the house are peeling in a few spots and I need to figure out a way to fix them. Not sure if I should scrape and repaint, try to peel thermofoil then paint, etc. Any ideas or suggestions based on these pics? Thanks!

peeling paint in cabinets

peeling paint on cabinets

marksr - Forum Topic Moderator

I'd sand them smooth, apply a solvent-based primer and your choice of topcoat. You can smear [and sand] a little spackling along rough edges if needed.

Pick up some spackling on Amazon.

apsuhead - Thread Starter

I went over and got a cabinet door to bring home and test. The thermofoil peeled right off easily by hand without any heat or anything. Hoping they are all this easy. I guess I will sand, prime, and paint?

cabinet with layer of paint removed

marksr - Forum Topic Moderator

Wow, I didn't expect that - hope they all go that easy! Sounds like a plan

It's best to use an oil base primer as it will seal the wood better and has great adhesion properties. Most paints including latex will adhere fine to oil primer. If you intend to paint them white I highly suggest using a waterborne enamel. It dries almost as hard as oil base but won't yellow over time like the oil will. If you use latex enamel, be sure it's one of the better ones as the cheaper latex enamels are prone to chip/peel and the doors/drawers could stick.

apsuhead - Thread Starter

So far, so good ...

I got all the cabinets peeled last night, it wasn't too bad of a job. The cabinets and the back of the cabinet doors cleaned up like new so I am only going to have to paint the front of the cabinet doors. I am going to go with a good oil based primer and then paint with Benjamin Moore ADVANCE® Waterborne Interior Alkyd Satin Paint as the top coat. Everything is looking good so far. I am going to sand and then prime, then apply the paint a few days later. Thanks for your advice.

kitchen with sanded cabinets

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marksr - Forum Topic Moderator

Thanks for the update .. btw - good choice of coatings!

apsuhead - Thread Starter

Ready

Just picked up my primer and paint. After looking at my MDF cabinet doors, he suggested a water-based primer that he thought would stick better. He was worried about the spots that still had glue residue. I will try to wipe down with rubbing alcohol and lightly sand to remove before starting.

marksr - Forum Topic Moderator

Normally solvent-based primers adhere better than their latex counterpart. I wouldn't think there would be an oil primer issue with any adhesive residue but maybe they know something I don't.

I've never used a waterborne primer but have been well satisfied with the waterborne enamels I've used.

apsuhead - Thread Starter

Having a little trouble getting the glue off the doors. Sanding just makes the sandpaper sticky and I tried wiping down with rubbing alcohol but not doing that great either. Might try alcohol with a handheld scrub pad from the bathroom.

marksr - Forum Topic Moderator

I'd try a hotter thinner like lacquer thinner or maybe MEK and see how that does. Rubbing alcohol isn't apt to do much to dissolve the adhesive.

apsuhead - Thread Starter

I finally found a process that is getting the glue off. I take rubbing alcohol on a scrub pad and work the glue off and then wipe off with a damp rag. I must keep both the pad and rag cleaned off after each step, or the glue just gets spread from one surface to another. After scrubbing the glue off, I let each cabinet door dry. Then I gave each one a light sanding with 150 paper, and then wipe down to get rid of the dust. I have the master bath cabinet doors ready for the primer and paint. Hope they turn out as good as I hope ...

apsuhead - Thread Starter

Progress!

Finally got all the glue off the master bath cabinet doors. Then I sanded and primed them. The hardest part is getting the glue off, I might try the lacquer thinner tomorrow because it takes forever the way I am doing it. But I did get down to the MDF pretty clean as evident in the pic. So far so good ...

marksr - Forum Topic Moderator

Glad it's working for you Whenever you are cleaning off adhesive [or whatever] it is imperative to turn or replace the rag frequently to prevent redistributing the adhesive.

The hotter the thinner, the less elbow grease is required

apsuhead - Thread Starter

Just picked up some MEK, my arm is sore from all the scrubbing yesterday. Hopefully it comes off easier ...

apsuhead - Thread Starter

Just put the 1st coat of paint on the master bath cabinet doors, it looks great so far. i only used a brush, for the 2nd coat I think I will use the foam roller on the flat surfaces. Just started on the kitchen cabinet doors, the MEK works like a charm. Can't believe how easy the glue comes off. Thanks for all your advice!

marksr - Forum Topic Moderator

Glad to hear it. Don't forget you shouldn't store the used thinner rags indoors. They need to be either set where there is plenty of ventilation or in a metal can with lid installed. It's possible for thinner rags to spontaneously combust!

Don't forget to lightly sand between coats. That helps both with adhesion and eliminating or reducing brush marks and roller stipple.

Norm201 - Member

WOW! Looks great and you're doing everything right. Getting a kick out of you keeping us posted on your progress.

apsuhead - Thread Starter

Figuring it Out

Finally think I have the process figured out after some trial and error. Just finished up the master bath cabinet doors. My wife wasn't pleased when she saw brush stokes in the doors yesterday. I brushed on the primer and the 1st coat of paint before using the foam roller on the last coat. So I got some 220 sanding paper and sanded them down and added another topcoat with the roller.

They are drying nicely and I think she will be pleased this time, so she won't have to "hire a professional." I will use the foam roller on every coat of the flat surfaces and use the sanding paper between any coats if there are any imperfections. I have 6 drawers and 19 cabinet doors to do in the kitchen. I still have to use the MEK to clear off the 6 draws and 8 cabinet doors, so I will be glad when I am finished if that step ... that is my least favorite. Here is a picture of a finished door.

apsuhead - Thread Starter

Slowly

Finished stripping, sanding and priming 23 cabinet doors and 11 drawers. Just need to finish up the paint coats. It goes slow ... Cant wait to be finished!

marksr - Forum Topic Moderator

Looks like progress.

Isn't it insane how much room a disassembled cabinet takes up.

The best part is when you finish, the satisfaction of having diyed the job along with the $ saved.

Norm201 - Member

Looking good. Looking forward to seeing the finished assembled room.

apsuhead - Thread Starter

Finished Master Bath Cabinets

Here are some after pics ...

drawer with fresh coat of paint

cabinets with fresh paint job

Norm201 - Member

Well done!

apsuhead - Thread Starter

Just finished the last coat of paint on all the cabinets. Just have to take them over tomorrow and install them. Also getting new appliances put in the kitchen tomorrow, so I can't wait to see everything come together.

apsuhead - Thread Starter

Almost there ...

Just need to install the microwave and hook up the dishwasher and my new kitchen will be complete...

Norm201 - Member

Nice!

marksr - Forum Topic Moderator

What happened to those old ratty cabinets :HF2:

apsuhead - Thread Starter

Complete!

Got the microwave and dishwasher installed and connected today to complete the kitchen. It is such a big change from the way it looked before. We close on our foreclosure this Friday. We are getting new carpet installed Thursday and I am currently repainting the entire interior as well as tearing up the old carpet to save a little money. It is amazing how much money you can save if you DIY. We got a super deal on this house, and it only needed some cosmetic work like the cabinets. Thanks for all the good advice, I think the cabinets turned out great!

refinished cabinets in kitchen

marksr - Forum Topic Moderator

"It is amazing how much money you can save if you DIY."

That and the satisfaction of having done it yourself is the main reason many of us diy. With a little direction most motivated folks can do a decent diy job although it might take a little longer.

Basically there are two ways to get ahead; make more money or spend less - we know which one is easier to accomplish.

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