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Painting kitchen cupboards Farrow and Ball

Listed under Blog, hand-painted kitchen, Painting Posted Nov 26 2011

Here are answers to two perennial questions:

1 – Is Farrow and Ball paint suitable for kitchen cupboards?

Basically this is a link to a very interesting thread that has a lot of input from folks who don’t know much about paint but demonstrate a lot about the marketing power of paint companies. ie home decorators make a lot of assumptions that don’t stand up to scrutiny.

Bottom line, eggshell / satin finishes are the best in terms of durability, look and adherence to a traditional kitchen. Oil paint achieves a better finish quicker than acrylic paint. The process should be no more complicated than prepare and prime. Then apply 3 coats of something, sanding between coats.

I think water-based paints seem to be easier and faster to apply, but you have to bear in mind that most kitchens take a lot of time to paint. ie most of a day, if not longer for one coat. So even if acrylic paints dry fast, it is unlikely you can hand-brush 1 coat and sand down and re-coat in a day working on your own in most kitchens.

So even with oil paint, I would never expect any issues with a schedule based on applying first coat today, sand down tomorrow, and recoat asap. Rinse and repeat. ie even with oil paint, there should be no issues waiting for paint to dry.

The same thread touched on another question that comes up regularly

2 – Is spraying better than hand-brushing?

It is the same question as “Is rolling better than brushing? ie a question of speed of application versus finish.

In terms of finish, spraying should be perfect, and hand-painted should be beautiful too, but with evidence that it was done by a human specialist per the good old days of traditional painters. So that aspect is a matter of taste.

In terms of speed of application, of course spraying is faster than brushing, 30 seconds a door versus 2 or 3 minutes a door, but when you dig deeper, the advantages become a little blurry.

ie whether you brush or spray, the basic process is the same – apply, sand, clean, apply, sand…You may save time actually applying the paint with a spray unit, but you still have to rub down between coats, and you win and lose in other areas (masking up, cleaning out kit etc).

Some firms take doors away for spraying. This is fine, but there are downsides – transport, and packing to get doors to site undamaged – both add time and you need the paint to be cured before stacking, which takes time. Also to have a completely re-painted kitchen, you still have to paint the frames and end panels etc in situ. So if you spray these you have to allow for the masking up time. Or if you brush them (easiest) then you will have a different finish to the doors!

I use both methods- for fiddly cornices or to deal with in situ racking, a small HVLP spay gun is invaluable. In fact, I don’t think I could brush it all. But I will still be using brushes for the rest of the kitchen, where the brief is to achieve a traditional paint finish.

Spraying for DIY
I was very impressed by one guy who decided to spray his own kitchen. He did the research, bought the paint and the spray unit and went for it. He says he achieved a much better finish than if he had done it by brush (it takes relatively little time to get the hang of a decent spray coat versus developing a brush technique) but as I say, when you look at the overall job, the speed of spraying was almost a moot point.

Hope that helps.

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