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Hand-painted kitchen Day one

Listed under Blog, hand-painted kitchen Posted Aug 31 2011

Here is a little insight into how I am tackling a kitchen painting project in the North West.

I had an email enquiry, to paint a 16 year old Neville and Johnson limed oak kitchen. It is very functional, very well made, but aesthetically tired. This is a perfect candidate for my services.

My standard approach is to assess the work and give a budget based on a couple of photos.

You don’t need to be an Andy Marshall to take a decent enough picture for my needs, a phone and an internet connection is all it takes. I received a couple of pictures a few days later.

Ordinarily I can see enough from the photos, to know what to do and how long it will take, but if necessary I ask a couple of questions to clarify what is involved.

I also give pointers for clients to help them get their head around what is involved. Most things are obvious to me, but that’s my job! I would say that new handles is the number one additional item that causes complications, as most people don’t appreciate that if they want to swap a single fixing knob for a 2-screw handle, a joiner would normally be required ahead of my start. (Like most paint specialists, I am geared up for painting, but drills and jigs are, shall I say, beyond my brief on a fitted kitchen.)

But in this case, they have selected a single fixing metal replacement for the wooden knobs, so I can fit the new knobs as part of my normal service.

Prep is the key

I would allow for thorough cleaning and sanding anyway, as it is especially important on a 16 year old kitchen to remove all signs of grease and chemicals before painting. In this case, however, before giving a firm price I called in to clarify the condition of the limed oak finish. It turned out the limed effect had been nicely lacquered, and after double checking with a tape test, I was sure there would be no adhesion or preparation issues tackling this with the specification I had in mind.

Day one

Day one is always a bit of a tense affair for clients, mainly I think because the kitchen is really a big deal, and it has taken hours and hours to empty out, and this strange painter has turned up and will he actually be as proficient as he says he is on his website, and will they like the colour and … loads going on.

For me day one is great, making the biggest impact possible and allaying almost all and every concern the clients probably have.

Laying out lining paper on the floor and on the worktops is the single best “trick” I have ever come up with.

For the customer, it is undoubtedly nothing they have ever seen before from a painter and I think it does demonstrate immediately the extent I will go to to make sure everything is going to be alright.

Masking up makes my life easier too. While I am protecting a precious granite worktop and flooring, I get to see the work up close, and spot issues that I might need to deal with. And it has advantages too as the job develops – taping undersides of worktops properly means I can caulk perfectly when the time comes to finish off. But in general, the big pro is that the kitchen is protected but still usable at a pinch by the client, and during the job, I can work uninhibited and clear up easily and paint in a dust free zone. One step backward, several forward.

With the flooring covered, worktops hidden from view, I make a close check that every door and drawer aligns and closes BEFORE I take them off.

In this case, there were 2 sagging doors, and despite concerted adjustments, the verdict was a couple of worn hinges. The customer easily replaced them from spares in his garage. I tweaked them and satisfied myself and the anxious onlookers that it would all go back together nicely, and look really sharp when painted. Nothing worse than arriving on the last day to hang doors, to find doors are binding and the brand new paint is rubbing. Literally distressing!

So from hereon in, it should all be pretty much plain sailing, having removed the doors and drawers, labeled everything.

A different kind of masking tape

I tape down the inside of frames to ensure a sharp line. I like Kleenedge tape, and 3M 2090 still takes some beating, but on this kitchen I was approached by a supplier to trial a new product to the UK – a Japanese low tack Sensai tape. I was assured by Bruce of Olfa UK that it works!

What I like so far about the Japanese tape is how it handles. Very thin, but it holds a straight line, with the advantage that being so thin, almost like wet paper, it also moulds really well to undulations or curves, almost like cling film.

All well and good, the proof of the pudding is the end of the job, will it leave me a super sharp line, or will I have half a day on my own time to retape and touch in. Let’s see what tomorrow brings.

Painting a kitchen?

If you are in the North West, around Cheshire, and you have a kitchen painting project in mind, why not give me a call or email a couple of photos. The level of service and the standards you see on my site, rest assured is all true and I can deliver. I cannot say I deliver this standard in my sleep, it is hard work, but my approach is tried and tested and in the perfecting stage, not the early development stage!

If you are from elsewhere in the UK, you will find some pretty hot hand-painted kitchen specialists on this list, all with their own particular approach, but all delivering a great service.

Tomorrow is cleaning and sanding day. I do that all in one go, it is easier and better that way.

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