Monday, July 18, 2016

Paint Island Cabinets in Kitchen

I just recently finished up on a kitchen island project.  The job was to change the color of the island and provide a better quality preforming paint job.  This island had been painted twice before and the painting was not done by a professional so it looked like it needed some attention.  Also a clear coat had been applied over the previous paint job but it was a polyacrylic and using a clear polyacrylic for kitchen cabinets is not a great idea.  I use a waterborne urethane for my kitchen cabinet projects and it is a much better choice.

You might wonder what the difference is as they both have water in the name.  My understanding is this, a polyacrylic is just like a can of paint but without any colorant in it at all.  So when it dries it is clear but not any harder or better than regular acrylic paint ( regardless of what the can says ).  A waterborne urethane is achieved by first dissolving the urethane in alcohol then using water to carry the urethane.  Once the water dries you are left with a urethane finish which is way harder and nicer than an acrylic finish.  Oil urethanes will yellow over time but waterborne will not.

The product I use to clear coat my kitchen cabinets jobs is made by Varathane and here is a picture of the can.  It is actually made to use on floors so using it for cabinets makes for really strong protection.

You might be thinking, "Why clear coat the cabinets in the first place.  Just use a good paint or an oil based paint and be done with it."  Well here is the answer.  If you where to paint your kitchen cabinets and give them the best paint job possible when family and friends saw them they would naturally want to touch them.  Then they would say, "Man, you did a great job painting your kitchen cabinets."  But when you use a good clear coat like the one I use when family and friends touch them they say, "Wow, you bought new cabinets."  It's that big of a difference in look and feel and just as big a difference in performance too.

The first three photos show the cabinets before I got there.  The homeowners wanted them a darker warm gray.  Plus the existing paint job because it was sealed with a polyacrylic had gotten dirty and chipped.

Look at the left side of the cabinets and you can see the dirty marks and chipping.

I usually take off the doors to prep them and paint them.  This island had been painted twice before and showed it.  Instead of trying to sand them down I used a stiff scraper and was able to scrape off all the previous paint and get it down to the original white color.  The island was painted with a latex or acrylic paint before but never primed and that is why I could scrape it off.  If it had been primed before painting I do not think I could have scraped off the paint.

It was big mess to get the paint off but worth the effort.  After I scraped the paint off I sanded the cabinets lightly with a 220 grit and they came out smooth as can be.

 For the framework in the kitchen I had to scrape it there.  What a giant mess all the tiny flakes made.

You can see the texture here in this next photo that was on the island cabinets.  This got this way because of the application of the paint and clear sealer.  Once I got all the paint off and sanded they were really smooth.

The next four photos show the completed project.  The new dark color goes really great with the countertops and backsplash.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Painting Stairs To Look Like Wood - part two

The stair project is complete.  I painted the stairs, the landing and the handrails to look like an espresso wood.  Creating this espresso wood tone on the stairs was a challenge but in the end they came out looking great.  One of the biggest challenges with this project was that I had to stand on a lower step and bend over to paint a step two up from the one I was standing on.  Bending over all day was a back breaker for sure.  I tried to sit on a lower step and paint one higher but sitting did not give the angle I needed to create the wood grain look.

This series of photos starts at the top of the stairs and works its way done. If you look at the previous post on this which I posted last week, you can see the huge difference it made creating this wood look on the stairs as opposed to the battleship grey they were when I started.

All in all creating the wood grain on the stairs gives this section of the home a great new look.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Painting Stairs To Look Like Wood - part one

I started on a new project this week.  The job is to paint a set of stairs and the hand railings to look like wood in a new home.  There are 12 stair treads a landing and then 6 more treads, plus the handrails.

When the home was built the home owners had a really beautiful driftwood tile floor installed.  It's amazing how they can make tile look like real wood now. You really can't tell the difference.  Anyway the builder was suppose to make the stairs and railings look like driftwood too.  So the first two pictures are what happened.  The stairs ended up being painted a battleship gray.  Not even close to a driftwood look.

 The home owners where not pleased at all.  I was called in to consult and see if I could create a look that would be more what the homeowner wanted.  I did 4 sample boards, for homeowners, 2 where driftwood and 2 where an espresso wood look.  I made the sample boards the right size so we could lay them on top of the stair treads to get a great idea of what the stairs would like.

Taking into consideration the rest of the decor in the room and existing flooring the espresso look was the obvious choice.  Painting them to look like the existing floor just seemed too much.

So as with all painting projects the first thing I do is clean the stairs really well. After all people are walking up and down them they are dirty. Then I scuff sanded them down and primed with a gray primer.  Taping off each stair tread and the balusters took a long time but it's was the only way to insure I didn't get the paint all over the white trim and the risers.

 I taped plastic bags behind the rails so I wouldn't get paint on the walls.  Once I had it all taped off I applied the base coat of paint, a dark brown.

 After the base coat dried (the next day) I could start to create the espresso wood grain look on the stair treads and railings.  The thing about working on the stairs is you can't walk up the stairs until the paint dries really well.  Even so, once I started I took off  my shoes and I am working in my socks. So you go up 12 steps to the landing and turn go up 6 more to the second floor.  I have the top 6 stair treads done and the railings.  I am going to apply 4 coats of a crystal clear floor finish on them.  The next picture is the top 6 treads with 2 coats of the clear over them. The treads are actually a little darker than the picture indicates.