paint a wooden kitchen in Manchester
Traditional Painter, Scot Hindley, takes us through this project to paint a wooden kitchen in Manchester. Scot is an expert at hand-painted finishes, but one of his specialities is spraying, which is just as well, as the clients specifically requested a sprayed finish.
The clients from Prestwich, Manchester, contacted me via the Traditional Painter website and sent me over a few photographs to estimate the overall cost by email. It was within their budget so from there I arranged a consultation to talk colours, answer questions and set a plan that all parties would be happy with.
This is the before and
this is the after being promised – and delivered.
Before we begin
There are a couple of common themes that run through most of our dealings with customers
a) It is a scary prospect for most customers, handing over your most valuable piece of furniture in the house to a painter. What if all that stuff on the internet is rubbish and there are better options to refurbish a kitchen than to paint a wooden kitchen!
I think we have completed enough projects to put that idea to rest, but we do advise the public to do their research so they are comfortable with the idea of painting to extend the life of their kitchen by many years.
b) Most customers have no idea how much of a transformation lies ahead.
Professionals can “see” how the job will turn out based on our own experience, but whilst there are plenty of before and after pictures on our websites to give readers a good idea of what is possible, most clients have no idea of the difference coming! Every kitchen is different, and if you aren’t living this business, it is very hard to predict the effect of paint on the layout, lighting, original colours, and surrounding tiles and flooring.
What did we talk about at the meeting?
Minimal disruption The clients told me they wanted to lift and brighten the kitchen, but they didn’t want to go through a rip out and refit, which would have meant a lot of unrest for some weeks. Instead, they had opted for the more cost-effective, cleaner and quicker option of having their kitchen cupboards painted. I assured them they were on the right track.
They were adamant about a spray application, as opposed to brush. It was a matter of taste, they prefer the factory finish. I can spray to a very high standard.
Colour picking is usually a stumbling block. Rightly, it’s a big deal for the client who has to live with the choice. This time though, it also went smoothly, and it was soon decided that the colour was to be the equivalent of Slipper Satin. I explained that it would be mixed accurately in my specialist kitchen paint of choice. Nowadays we really can give the client the colour and sheen they want, in the paint we think is the best for each job.
Work schedule The clients were very pleased when I explained that I like to spray as much of the kitchen as possible off site, keeping disruption to a minimum. I don’t encourage anyone to be in the kitchen when I am working, but as I am not there very much over the duration of the project, my clients appreciated the prospect of having a kitchen as close to 100% functioning, whilst “refurbishment” work was in progress.
It is interesting how expectations have changed. In 2011, when we started going into great detail online about our services, and explaining how we paint older wooden kitchens, 95% of our customers really had no idea it was even possible. When they agreed to go ahead, they wanted and needed to see the work being done, every day in their home. It was peace of mind for all concerned, to be honest!
But over the last 2 or 3 years especially, if we say we may well do some of the work away from the house, you can feel the joy at the idea of a kitchen refit with hardly any fitter in sight.
The painting work
Again, this project went like clockwork, following our proven system. I removed the doors and transported them off site to my workshop, where I gave them my undivided attention, cleaning and sanding and filling where needed.
Then it was primer…
Followed by the top coats.
In between coats at the workshop, I would deal with the carcasses in situ. Frames, plinths and end panels were also cleaned, sanded and painted in the same methodical way.
And there it was, job complete.
Some DIY and trade tips from Ron and Scot, spray experts
Scot, and fellow Traditional Painter, Ron Taylor, who himself has written many in-depth articles on acrylic spray painting, are known to spend hours on the phone, picking each other’s brains about the best newest spray guns and which pressure settings and viscosity would suit different paints.
Hand painting specialists who spray, what’s that about? Did you know that almost every high end hand painted kitchen is actually delivered to site pre-primed. That primer is invariably applied by spray in the factory, providing a great base for beautiful hand painted finishes. Smart use of spray technology adds another dimension to refurbishing a kitchen with a hand painted showroom quality finish.
Which spray gun do you recommend?
What paint are you spraying? Waterbased…?
Between Scot and Ron, they have come to know which trade paints spray really well, and which are more trouble than they are worth. When asked what spray unit to buy, invariably they say, buy the best (ie most powerful) you can afford, and if you can master airless, go for it. Airless has enough power and flexibility to enable you to spray water based paints on all surfaces, with relative ease. Most of the problems encountered when spraying water based paint comes from using an HVLP and other less powerful spray units.
First stop, HVLP
HVLP seems like the go-to spray kit for DIY and trade who are considering spraying woodwork. Of course you can produce a very fine finish with HVLP units, and the paint flow is easy to control, but they aren’t really designed for spraying decorator brand water-based paints. Of course that’s the paint that decorators and DIY will use, but unless it is thinned, the paint won’t pass through the tip readily under the relatively low pressure of an HVLP unit.
Thinning paint creates a variable to be overcome.
In order to achieve the level of durability promised by the manufacturer, paint coatings must reach a certain thickness, measured in microns. Thinned paint will tend to run, so it is best not to lather on the paint, it is best to go thin, especially on intricate pieces.
As an example, with Tikkurila Helmi 30 paint, on the data sheet, it is recommended you apply two coats:
Wet-film thickness approximately 100-125 microns per coat, dry-film approximately 40-50 microns per coat.
By brush, that is fine, 2 liberal coats is standard. But if you are HVLP spraying, expecting to spray once, you will need to apply 200-250 microns of Helmi 30 in one pass. The paint has been thinned… It looks like you will need to apply two or more layers. This is all well and good, except if you then weigh up the efficiency of an HVLP spray gun versus an airless unit, which can spray almost neat, you may change your view that HVLP is the obvious spray gun to buy. And at times, maybe Helmi 30 isn’t the obvious paint to spray!
(In some cases, there is even a valid debate to be had about whether spraying is actually faster than brushing, once masking up has been accounted for, but that’s for another day.)
Airless for all sorts
An airless gun will spray practically all known water-based trade and retail paints without diluting. Therefore you can often cover a surface in one pass and achieve the required thicknesses. Airless is a powerful piece of tech, though, even the battery powered airless units could spray many litres per minute, if they had the capacity. So achieving a flat finish on furniture with all that paint potentially passing through an airless tip takes some care and practice.
The slickest spray kit on the block
There will come a point, if you have a few thousand to blow, where you could easily talk yourself into an AAA (Air assisted airless) unit for spraying furniture, woodwork, everything. This is essentially HVLP technology and airless combined. Undiluted paint is forced to the tip at a tremendous rate, but the paint is then atomised as it comes out the tip. That combination enables you to lay down a super fine but thick coat of paint very fast and in a controlled manner on furniture, kitchen doors, skirting boards…
This is a snapshot of Scot’s AAA kit.
My set up is: Graco GXff airless unit; Wagner 4600 aircoat gun; Fluid line and air line; Nuair roll cage oil free portable compressor (underneath)… confidence the customer is getting the very best possible “factory spray finished kitchen re paint.”
Check out Topcoat Finishes in the USA for plenty of AAA insights.
Scot can be contacted via his profile page on the Traditional Painter website, where there are more examples of his work, and business credentials. Scot’s own website has more examples of the extent of his trade knowledge and expertise.
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