Hand painted kitchen Staffordshire
Professional decorating specialist and Traditional Painter, Martin Dunn, explains how he tackled this hand painted kitchen in Great Wyrley, Staffs.
Preparing a wooden kitchen for painting
On my advice, all handles had been replaced (2 hole handles instead of 1), and tiles and work surfaces had also been upgraded prior to me starting.
Specification for hand-painted finish on worn varnished wooden kitchen doors
– Mask up all surfaces and surounding areas with 1200 grade lining paper, doubled up and taped down with blue Scotch tape.
– Remove doors and number them – remove handles.
– Rub down all surfaces dry, using Festool sander and dust extraction unit, plus various grades of abrasive. (The reason for going dry was that the oak doors had been previously varnished and it was well weathered and needed removing.)
– Good wash down with sugar soap and rinse. Leave to dry overnight.
– Use two pack filler to make good the removed handle holes. Rub flat, again with fine sanding pads.
– Prime with oil-based Zinsser Coverstain, a high adhesion stain-blocking primer
– De – nib
– 2nd coat of Coverstain
– De – nib
– 1st coat Little Greene oil eggshell- STOCK MID – with splash of driers and owatrol paint conditioner. (Thoroughly dry overnight)
– De – nib
– 2nd coat of oil eggshell. (Dry overnight)
– Replace doors and handles – remove masking – good clean round.
And to round it off all nicely, the delighted clients have said they were more than happy to give me a reference.
Thanks to Martin for that run down on his basic specification for painting previously varnished or lacquered timber kitchen doors. A couple of interesting points came out of our conversation about the project in general.
Options for refurbishing a kitchen
When refurbishing your kitchen, it is a good opportunity to tweak a few things for a bigger impact upgrade. As Martin explained to the client, as well as changing handles for a neat and effective extra detail, you can change out the worktops, or lay a new floor, or replace tiling. All affordable tweaks, and if done well, represent fantastic value for money. As Martin explains though, there are some right cowboys out there:
The biggest problem I had on the job was by the time I turned up they were scared to death of “tradesmen”.
The tiler’s tiles had the feel of an external angle.
The work top fitter had screwed up the cutting of the work surface, made a hole by mistake and then tried to cover it with the edging strip (and didn’t tell customer.)
And then the bloke who came to fit the ceramic hob chipped all the glass hob by levering it out with a screwdriver, and then denied any knowledge!!!!
So the first couple of days were spent re-assuring them that there were still some decent tradesmen out there!
Unfortunately that is not a one-off story, which is madness at a time of increased competition. Martin got one referral for his good work, the others’ names will get bandied around a lot more by the disappointed clients when they see their friends, family and neighbours, for sure.
Beware cheap imitation kitchen painters
Another common conversation topic between kitchen painters is price – and how some general painters manage to convince homeowners that kitchen painting is no different to painting doors and architraves – how hard can it be? So they talk the talk, massively underquote the specialist’s price, the homeowner thinks they have a bargain and award them the job.
That is fair enough, but all I can say is that we work to a standard, not to a price, and we have worked out a fairly uniform pro rata rate across the board to enable us to meet those high standards.
As an example of how the two worlds collide, we have quoted £2000 for a reasonable sized kitchen, using our standard rates, only to be told by the homeowner that they had gone with a painter charging £1300. As long as the client appreciates that they aren’t getting like for like, that is fine.
However, none of us specialists are slow workers, hand-painting an average size door in 3-4 minutes per side on a bad day. So, really, from our point of view, the only way the other guy can be £700 cheaper overall is by applying less coats. Other ways of reducing a price is doing less rubbing down, or another trick, only painting the fronts of doors or drawers, and not paying as much attention to detail. (Choice of paint is all but irrelevant in terms of noticeable cost savings.)
To be honest it would be easy for the kitchen painting specialists to do the lesser “£1300 job” for £1000, make it look nice for the customer and still be ahead, but we just wouldn’t do that. We work to a standard, and this is the price to achieve that high standard. This approach covers the client’s interests both ways, because whatever happens, you will get a good job. Even if there is a mistake with pricing, and we are out of pocket, professional pride ensures the same quality of finish. It is the sort of thinking that has been engrained in us professionally since we started decorating! Maybe a bit old school, but it works – just not for everyone.
Value for money
In summary, when weighing up a new kitchen v hand-painted, it is quite a simple calculation
£5000 – £30000 – £50000 up to (name your price) for new kitchen
£1000-£3000 for a beautiful hand-painted eggshell finish on small to fairly substantial wooden or laminate kitchens.
When painted by a specialist like Martin Dunn, the hand-painted finish on your kitchen represents outstanding value for money, especially in this day and age. But don’t take my word for it, please read these testimonials
If you have any questions about kitchen paint, preparation, colours or ideas for upgrades, come over to the forum and pick the brains of some of the best most experienced kitchen painters in the business on the hand-painted kitchens forum.
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