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Painting & Wallpapering/Grain filler re: cabinets


QUESTION: Hi Laura -

Well, I've been all over trying to find a definitive answer to our problem: We have those 1980s style oak Merillat cabinets (kitchen and bathrooms).  We're going to paint the bathroom cabinets white and want to reduce the wood grain from appearing as much as (reasonably) possible.  I've heard many opinions on which products to use, but would prefer to hear from a professional painter (paint store and Home Depot employees weren't much help).

We plan to sand, clean, apply some grain filler, sand (and wipe down)again, then apply primer and paint (2-3 coats).  What is your advice on this project?  Thanks very much in advance, Laura, for your help

ANSWER: 1. Clean/degrease
2. fill holes, Sand & wipe
3. Put first thin coat of primer. buy a qt. container zinnzer is good or Kilz
4. Sand with a smaller grit sand paper each time between coats. Use a tack cloth to wipe down to get the smallest fibers left from sanding.

  I would use a product like Sherwin Williams Duration, PPG Manor Hall or Benjamin Moore Aura
   they are $50 per. gallon, but they are the strongest and will hold up the best to chipping, so it is well worth it. Apply paint, sand again do this step at least one more time.

Again I stress bite the bullet for the more expensive paint. Bher paint is not good at all. It looks good when it goes on, but quickly fails and fade, plus it is not any where as smooth as the products I suggested.
Good luck!

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------


Thanks for the excellent reply, especially the advice re: paint choice and primers.  Have used Behr and you are exactly right: Goes on well, but fades rather quickly.

Last question: What about filling in (or, at least, diminishing) the wood grain on the cabinets?  Is there any product you would suggest?  Or, should I just sand down a little and let it go at that?  I've heard of several ideas incl. Durabond, putty, etc.  

Thanks again!

It is what is. You can only do so much to the cabinets. I think sanding would be good, but dura-bond and all that could make it look lumpy and uneven and put you in a worse situation. I would just take it for what it is, a band-aid to save some money on replacing a dated piece.

I forgot to  mention that I would also replace the hardware. Good luck on what ever you decied to do . . . sometime the simple is better! I would also ask the paint store if flat would be the best since it is high hide. If you go with a Duration the flat is washable so that might be your best bet! Good luck Cheers!  

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Laura Mesich


1. Owner of Affordable Luxury Paintng and Remodeling We do Painting interior and exterior, Decorating, Remodeling Suggestions, how to repair things, how to fix things, Where and how to get discounts on items


I have been in the industry for the last 15 years serving in various positions. Sales, Administrator, painter, faux artist, design department. I have also worked for Altimate Painting as administrator.

Painting and Decorating association Better Business burea Plainfield IL chamber New Lenox IL chamber Former President elect of the Interior Design club Joliet Collage

Former all Expert, expert. blog spot Word Press Burbs on a Budget

I have owned Affordable Luxury Painting and Remodeling for the last 15 years. I write a colum for a local newsletter, I have a degree in Marketing, communication and Interior Design. I am a former Realtor and Loan Officer.

Awards and Honors
Graduated Magna Cum Lade National Honor society

Past/Present Clients
Hawthorn Credit Union Heritage Pizza Baci Italian Resturant Pionner bank

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