Finishing new/re-finishing existing kitchen cabinets

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Old 02-02-16, 12:08 PM
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Finishing new/re-finishing existing kitchen cabinets

We're in the process of remodeling our kitchen on a budget. We're re-using as many of the existing cabinets as we can, with the intention of replacing the doors and repainting the cases. Tentative plan for repainting the cases is to use chalk paint, but we're not dead set on that at this point.

I'm in the middle of building new cabinets for the ones that we need to fill in the gaps. I'm using 3/4" birch plywood for the boxes, 1/4" for the backs of the upper, upper cabinets (the 12" high ones above the standard 30" wall cabinets), and 1/2" for the backs of the standard wall and base cabinets. (FWIW, had intended on using 3/8" for the backs of the standard wall and base cabinets, but the store I went to didn't carry 3/8". ) and poplar for the face frames. I only have two done so far, but I'm wondering now what the best plan is for finishing them.

What is the recommended process for painting new cabinets? We want a white semi-gloss or glossy finish. Should I be painting each piece before putting the cabinets together? Or build them all first and then paint at the end?
 
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Old 02-02-16, 12:12 PM
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Ok, I see some related answers to my materials questions in this recent thread, but I didn't see any advice regarding painting before or after assembling the cabinets.
 
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Old 02-02-16, 12:19 PM
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if you intend for the interior of the cabinet to be painted, I'd say paint that before assembling, or at least before you put the face frames on. Priming the face frames would be good but I would imagine painting the ALL face frames after they are installed. Anything you plan on gluing with wood glue should be bare wood.

Could have used white melamine for your carcasses... real wood for the face frames... less painting that way.
 
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Old 02-02-16, 01:50 PM
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Is there any reason to paint the outside panels that won't be visible once installed?
 
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Old 02-02-16, 01:57 PM
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Nope. Not unless you just like to paint. LOL
 
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Old 02-02-16, 02:05 PM
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Ok, great. No, I'm not overly fond of painting. What I should have asked though is whether the hidden bare wood needs to be finished/sealed with anything at all? I'm not very experienced with wood working so I'm not knowledgeable about wood life and humidity levels and all that jazz. I don't even know if painting wood makes it impervious (or at least less affected by) the surrounding humidity level. Or even whether humidity level can affect the life of the wood.
 
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Old 02-02-16, 02:10 PM
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Painting all sides/edges of the wood does make it less likely that the wood would absorb moisture, (that's sometimes a technique used for exterior painting that is exposed to the elements) but that is rarely a problem inside unless you expect your house to be flooded soon. ;-) For example, it's safe to bet that all the trim in millions of houses is only painted on the side that shows. Pretty normal to only paint what's seen.
 
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Old 02-02-16, 02:32 PM
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IMO it's best to use poly on the interior of the cabinets. It won't show wear as easily as paint does. While latex primer is ok for your new [unpainted] cabinets the odds are you'll need a solvent based primer for the cabinets you are re using.
 
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Old 02-03-16, 09:27 AM
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Are you saying put poly over the paint on the insides? Or is there a type of poly that can be colored to get the white finish that we want?
 
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Old 02-03-16, 11:05 AM
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No, I'd leave the insides natural with just a couple coats of poly. If you've already primed or painted the insides then you'll have to stick with paint. Poly on the insides will go decades and still look ok but it usually doesn't take long for paint to need to be redone.
 
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Old 02-04-16, 09:29 AM
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I broached the idea of leaving the cabinet insides natural to my wife last night and she promptly vetoed the idea in no uncertain terms. So, what's the next best option for longevity? Water-borne enamel?
 

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Old 02-04-16, 09:40 AM
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Yes, waterborne enamel is your best paint choice.
 
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