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Painting Kitchen Cabinets: Oil Based Primer or Latex Primer?

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Paul in Michigan needs some help with a cabinet-refinishing project. What’s going on?

    PAUL: Well, I have some cabinets I’m refinishing and I have polyurethane over a stain on these cabinets.


    PAUL: And I’m wondering whether I should put an oil-based primer on there or a latex primer. I’ve had several different opinions.

    LESLIE: Are you painting them?

    PAUL: Yes. Painting.

    LESLIE: OK. Have you done anything to sort of scuff up the surface to make it a little bit more susceptible to that primer?

    PAUL: I’ve got some sandpaper – 180 sandpaper – and I’m going to start scuffing them.

    LESLIE: Yeah. Because that’s really the first step. You want to rough up that surface a little bit to make it more ready to have that primer adhere, as best as it’s going to, to the surface. You can use regular sandpaper. You can use a little orbital sander. You can actually even use something called the Liquid Sander, which is a liquid material that you brush on and that sort of roughs up the surface, as well. Basically, you just want to clean it and scuff up that surface and mar into that polyurethane a bit so that primer will stick.

    Now, between the oil and the latex – you know, you’re in a situation where you’ve got a lot of moisture, a lot of dirt and grime. And oil-based primer, I think, is going to adhere best to a cabinet situation and then allow your paint to adhere well as a result.

    PAUL: OK. And then should I use an oil-based paint, as well?

    LESLIE: Now, I would use a latex top coat. Something with a gloss or a urethane over a matte finish, just so that you get a good sheen that’s easily cleanable. If you’re going with a urethane or some sort of top coat, you want to make sure that it’s non-yellowing. Because in kitchens, for some reason, all of that humidity and that grime tends to yellow those surfaces.

    PAUL: Well, thank you very much. That’s very helpful.

    TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

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