I am refurbishing a HUD home that had kitchen cabinets with very deteriorated finish. Due to a number of factors, I am going to paint the cabinets rather than re-stain them. While I have read that an oil-based stain is preferred for durability on kitchen cabinets, my dilemma is that the local big box stores no longer carry oil-based interior paint! The box store paint department employee assured me the newer water-based latex paints were improved enough to be up to the task and recommended a water-based primer/border/sealer product by Valspar.
I know water-based products will raise the grain, plus I have concerns about its durability in the kitchen. Ninety percent of the cabinet surface area to be painted is sanded to bare, near bare wood or completely new bare wood construction. For the ornate trim around the top of cabinets, I planned to use a de-glossing product before applying the primer.
Using an oil-based product presents some challenges as my house is rather rural and using a dedicated paint store would incur a rather significantly increased drive time and, I assume, a premium cost, plus the more difficult cleanup and means of safe disposal of the byproducts of the cleanup.
What would you use or recommend in my situation? – J. Scott Bell
Tim Inman: On an aged surface like you are describing, as long as your surface is clean and dry, you should have great results with any good paint. The old finish will no longer be attacked by any solvent incompatability issues, since it is well cured and totally hardened. Your biggest enemy is grease and grime. Get the surfaces clean, and you’ll be good to go.
Chris Marshall: I agree with Tim. A quality interior primer and paint should work great for your cabinets. I’ll suggest going with a sheen that will be easy to wipe clean — semi gloss or even gloss. For that ornate trim that you are cleaning up but not stripping to bare wood, trisodium phosphate (TSP) will cut through the old grime, smoke and greasy cooking residue. It also gives some “tooth” to the old paint by etching/de-glossing it, so the new primer will stick well. You can find it among the cleaning products at any hardware store or home center.