Border County Kitchens

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Painting Your Kitchen

NOTE WELL..... Please please dismantle drawer units ie remove the runners and drawer side before painting the inside of the carcase and the drawer bottom/backs. This takes only a few minutes and the drawers have to be adjusted after fitting anyway. Hinge plates should be removed, or preferably fitted after painting the insides of the units. We have even seen one kitchen that was painted after the shelves were fitted! NO! Also please paint the doors without the hinges fitted, we paint them flat, one side and edges at a time, drying them on battens (battens covered with bubblewrap for the final coats)

Our kitchens cabinets are almost completely made from Moisture resistant MDF, and require painting, inside and out. More often than not a different colour is chosen for the inside of the cabinets. Surfaces that are not seen are not generally painted unless they are likely to get wet (the bottom of plinths, cut edges around pipes etc)

The full system consists of one coat of Crown, Glidden or Dulux Acrylic Primer/undercoat, followed, after careful rubbing down, by two coats of acrylic eggshell paint. We used to use Acrylic Eggshell from the Crown Trade range, but we now recommend Dulux Diamond Waterbased Eggshell, it is expensive but very hardwearing. We also use acrylic eggshell from Fired Earth and from Farrow and Ball when requested. Farrow and Ball do not recommend the use of their water -based eggshell paints for kitchen furniture but we have had no problem with them used on our furniture.

A vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment is really a necessity for internal painting.

We always use acrylic (waterbased) eggshell for the final paint finish. Although this may a bit more expensive than oil based eggshell, the ease of cleaning the equipment, the reduction in odour, the quick drying properties and the reduced damage to the planet bring us down heavily in its favour. They also do not go yellow with age. Dulux Diamond paints are said to be more durable than oil based eggshell paints.

Sand any raw edges fully and carefully round corners (not too much) where this has not been done already.

The primer is normally done by us in the workshop, but some patch priming will still be required on site as well as the priming of some units delivered unassembled. We use a small brush and an ordinary radiator roller for this. We put two coats on the edge grain of MDF, applied within a few minutes of each other, as the first coat soaks in very quickly. Otherwise a single even coat is applied. With doors or shelves we paint one side and exposed edges, allow to dry, then paint other sides and the edges, so that the edges have two coats. We paint shelves and doors flat, without hinges fitted, not fitted to the cabinets, leaving them to dry on bubble wrap.

We don't use a tray for the radiator roller, we just dip it carefully in the paint, avoiding getting paint on the wire handle. Then we roller it out on a clean scrap board to even up the paint on the roller fibres before rollering onto the furniture. Try to avoid, at all costs, extra uneven build up of paint at inside corners and edges, remove with your finger if necessary. Small cracks between components are filled with primer, larger cracks are filled with decorating filler (painters mate) after the primer has dried and sanding has been completed (see below)

Once the priming or patch priming is complete and dry rub down carefully using at least 180 grit paper (or finer), being careful not to rub through the coat on the plane surfaces, and paying particular attention to smoothing down the edges. Vacuum away the dust.

Interior Painting.

Interior painting is done before the doors are fitted. We strongly advise removing the drawers and drawer runners, and dismantling the drawers, before painting. This will only take  few minutes per drawer unit, reassembly and the inevitable adjustment of the drawers (see installation instructions) will take maybe around 45 minutes per drawer unit. This however will make painting much easier, quicker and neater.

Again we use a small brush (we usually use a radiator brush to help reach into the corners) and a radiator roller. Apply one coat, allow to dry, de nib, vacuum, apply another coat, allow to dry. The slightly dimpled finish, from the roller, is fine inside cabinets.

Exterior Painting

Again two coats of acrylic eggshell but this time lay off with a fine brush, finishing in the direction that the grain of the wood would run, if the units were made with solid wood. B&Q, bless them, sell very good own brand brushes for water based paints.

The pink lines show the general direction of final laying off with the brush, narrower parts are laid off along their length.

Please note we paint the outside of the units, without the doors, first. We paint the doors, without hinges etc, flat, one side and edges at a time, drying them on battens (battens covered with bubblewrap for the final coats), and we fit the hinges to the doors and then the doors to the cabinets.


De nib lightly if required before applying a second coat of eggshell.

Oil based paints

If your painter insists that he wants to use oil based paints then maybe allow this, Some people cannot get on with the quick drying properties of Acrylic paints.



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