Renew or Redo—Part 2

Last blog we discussed how to prep for the finish makeover. Now we need to determine what our appearance of choice is? Let’s start with painted applications.

The Full on Painted Look.

If the coating you are going over is a pre-catalyzed or conversion varnish, then we need to watch our film build. Too much coating weight of these types of coatings can cause our finish to stress and crack when the wood does what it does best…move. Expansion and contraction of wood is always happening, as little as you may think so, it is real. Too much coating build up will cause the coating to crack and chip. It’s best to only use one coat of primer for the hiding and one coat of topcoat paint. Try to keep the layers thin. If you can get the color you need without the use of a primer that is better yet. That means we have less film build. If the cabinets are already painted, and we only need to change the color or freshen up the current color, no primer is necessary because we already have a solid background color. If the background color is too dark for the new color, then a light coat of primer may be needed to achieve the hide in preparation of the new color.

If you choose to paint over a stained finish, then the next two applications will require you also to be thin to win when using lacquer precats or conversion varnish.

Semi-transparent Paint Look.

This is when we want to have a consistent color hue but still see the grain pattern in the background like stained cabinets but a bit more muted and overlaid. Simply thin out your paint so you can apply a shaded coat. I recommend that you practice or test how much reduction you need in your paint to get the look you are after before you start attacking the project. Too much reduction can lead to possible wrinkles, runs, or inconsistent color. Wrinkles in the finish can happen because of excess solvent potentially laying on the surface softening the coating below and viola—wrinkle/lift. Just imagine if you soaked a rag with water and left it on the table, what would happen vs. setting it down and then quickly lifting it back up. This is the same thing that can occur with solvents in the finish.
Painted to show texture of the grain.

This will only really work when you’re applying over open grain woods such as oak, ash, walnut, and mahogany. In this application you will not use a primer because we don’t want to fill the pores but rather have them pop through when we spray our topcoat paint on. Thin the paint in this application as well but not so much as we lose our hide but thin enough that it will fall into the pores and show the texture.

The Stain Look

If a stain look is what you want, after the cleaning and sanding of the finish, we need to alter the color without using stain on top of our finish. Layering a wiping stain on top of a finish new or old is never a good idea. The oils in the wiping stain, no matter how long you let them dry will not allow a proper bond for the next coat and can be a potential peeling, chipping, flaking, hazy or sticky film.
When trying to get a darker color on the current woodwork use a toner. Tinting the finish with the proper colorants/dyes will insure that we get our color change and have proper adhesion. The use of a glaze is another way you can highlight and slightly can the hue of an existing color. You should never use the glaze to do a complete color change; glaze is also a heavy body oil color so adhesion could be jeopardized if glaze is applied heavy.

If you sand the finish completely off to the bare wood than a stain is easy to apply and get a new look and many times the color you want with the least amount of hassle and best results especially if we are going lighter in color.

Glaze Highlights

If all you wish to do to the existing stained finish is add a glaze highlight. Simply apply the glaze in the profiles, allow the proper dry time that the manufacturer states for their glaze and topcoat. So there you go, now your next question is to “Re-new or Re-do.”