Understanding Lacquer

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Old 08-09-19, 05:38 AM
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Understanding Lacquer

I'm looking to refinish my kitchen cabinets which have worn down to wood behind some of the door pulls. No idea of what type of finish is on there now but after 6 years obviously not very durable. A lacquer finish has been suggested and two contractors have given me two different suggestions. I have tried to do some research to make an informed decision but have not learned a lot. Both contractors are suggesting Sherwin Williams products; Kem Aqua and CAB Acrylic.

My understanding is that there are 3 different kinds of lacquer. Nitro cellulose appears to be at the bottom of the quality list. next is CAB Acrylic and at the top of the list seems to be catalytic lacquers. What type is Kem Acqua?

What is the difference between waterborne lacquers and solvent lacquer? If waterborne is not mentioned can solvent based be assumed? Is one better than the other? Can lacquers be colour matched the same as regular paint? Do the sheens compare? It is not practical to re-do the frames, interiors and crown moulding so I am concerned about getting a decent match.

Is it necessary to sand the surfaces down to bare wood? Is a compatible primer required?

Your knowledge and suggestions will be appreciated. Thanks
 
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Old 08-09-19, 06:38 AM
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Holy cow that's an overwhelming amount of questions. Feel free to visit any Sherwin Williams store to get educated on finishes. There are also plenty if data sheets available online if you want to get into the chemical composition of how each product varies. Or see if this chart helps a little.

I will give you a 3rd option. I finish tons of windows and window trim, and went through much of the same agony that you are facing years ago. In the end, I decided to stick with SW hi bild precat lacquer. In all the years I have used it I have never had a problem or a call back. And windows are a pretty harsh environment for any finish... what with the sun, winter condensation and people ocasionally leaving it open to get rained on.

When you apply a solvent lacquer, each coat melts into the last, creating a nice thick finish, assuming you apply 3 coats or so. And I have not noticed it is prone to chipping, although I think fingernails are hard on any surface.

I have used the Cab acrylic and it's a little more friendly to use... less odor. But I would hope they would be removing all your doors in order to ​​spray them in their shop regardless.

Never used Kem Aqua.

I don't know why you are asking about color. Are you looking for a clear finish or what? Are your cabinets white or some other color? Or stained?
 
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Old 08-09-19, 07:57 AM
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Thanks for your reply Xsleeper. The intention is to do the job on-site in my shop. I asked about the colour and sheen because as I said, it is not practical to do the frames, boxes and crown molding so I would hope I can get a close match to the existing finish which is an off-white so can I assume that lacquer can be colour matched to any shade and sheen?

I did put in a couple of queries to Sherwin Williams and have not received a reply. Visits to the local stores came up with some well intentioned info but different with each sales rep. Again, Thanks
 
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Old 08-09-19, 08:00 AM
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It is hoped that a lot of questions generates a lot of answers and results in a well informed consumer
 
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Old 08-11-19, 06:04 AM
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I have a further question. The contractor is suggesting that we should re-do the cabinet boxes.frames and crown moulding with lacquer. This would require vacating the house during the painting process. My question is how long do the effects of the lacquer spray linger in the air and presumably attach to upholstery & drapery etc. When is it safe to return to the house without the risk of ill effects?
 
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Old 08-11-19, 06:11 AM
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It depends a lot on the individual, some are bothered more than others. Fresh air ventilation [after the coating has dried] is the best/quickest way to evacuate the fumes/odors.
 
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Old 08-11-19, 06:25 AM
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Thanks for the quick reply Mark. I assume from your reply that as long as the fumes are not detectable it is safe to return to the home. I had it in my mind that it might be something like asbestos and the VOCs hang around for some time and pose a hazard. Again, thanks.
 
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Old 08-11-19, 06:45 AM
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No, it's whether or not the fumes BOTHER you. Its whether or not they bother you enough to not return to the home. The fumes will linger for quite a while. Airing the rooms out will speed the process, but generally a little odor is tolerable. Then there are the people who can't tolerate any odor. Those are the ones you don't even want to work for. Lol

If it's something that worries you, only look into low voc products.
 
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Old 08-11-19, 06:52 AM
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Thanks xSleeper. Actually the think that worries me is doing this project at all. I personally would be happy to just attempt a repair on the couple of drawer fronts that are damaged but my wife has more grandiose ideas.
 
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Old 08-11-19, 11:33 PM
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Personally, while it's a little more work, I think polyurethane provides a little more durable surface than lacquer. That said, as long as you have the ability to spray it, lacquer is a reasonable option since no prep is required between coats like with poly.
 
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